With many small businesses struggling to achieve pre-Covid sales levels and now facing a testing year ahead, having a customer retention plan has never been more important.
The most inexpensive way to grow a business is to maximise customer retention. Statistically, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 - 70% and drops to just 5-20% for a new prospect. Existing customers are also 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more when compared to new customers.
We've got 10 retention strategies to help you boost sales with existing customers.
Listen to bad reviews and complaints.
These are a blessing in disguise so encourage all feedback, including complaints. Consider running the Net Promotor Score customer survey* or asking your customers the all-important question ‘What’s the one thing we should do to improve our service to you?’ Then, act on that.
* The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer satisfaction metric measuring the loyalty that exists between an organisation providing services (or goods) and a consumer or user.
Go old-school. Call your customers.
Calling your key customers every few months shows you care and gives them individual attention. In an age where many of us think it is quicker and easier to email or text, a phone call will be perceived as more personal and immediate.
Simply ask how your customer how they are, how business is doing and talk about any new products or special offers. It's important to let them know that you care. Your call process and frequency will depend on your industry.
Go the extra mile. It’s never crowded.
If you’re a service business, schedule an after-service phone call in your diary to obtain feedback. Ask your customer if the service they received met their expectations. This is easy to do, but few businesses do it, so add it to your sales process checklist. Quality trumps speed!
Create a VIP programme.
Reward your most loyal customers, knowing that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than keep an existing one. Consider members-only events, discounts and VIP cards. This applies to almost any industry.
Get creative on your social channels. Follow key customers and be part of their online community. It may be worth setting up a closed Facebook community group to foster community spirit and leverage your customers to help build your brand. For example, we have a private Rowdens Community page on Facebook which enables our followers to talk with each other and us in an informal, yet private capacity.
Have a referral system.
There are three simple steps to a successful referral system. Firstly, ask for referrals (make this clear on your website and in all other communications). Secondly, when you get a referral, thank the referrer. Lastly, reward them, either by giving them ‘soft dollars’ (a voucher to spend in your business) or an appropriate gift.
Consider hosting invitational instore events or organising a group to attend a sports game or movie premiere; just some ways to thank customers and reward their loyalty. Take the communication offline to encourage social interaction between close customers and your team.
Send a thank you card.
When you get a new customer, send them a handwritten card. It's not often people receive post these days (which isn't a bill of course!) so set a high standard of customer care by making that first impression.
Use the FGG principle.
Find out what they want, Go and get it, then Give it to them! Every chance you get, ask customers what they need, what you could be doing better to serve them, and then act on that. Help them to help you grow your business.
Create lifetime customers.
This strategy should be your number one priority. Start with your purpose (why you exist for your customers). Summarise it in one sharp sentence. Make sure your team understands your purpose and how behaving true to that purpose will help create customers for life.
Creating your Customer Retention Plan
You’ve probably got lots of ideas for improving customer retention. You won’t be able to implement them all, so choose some strategies that will be easy and inexpensive to implement but will have a big impact. You’ll need to record your chosen strategies and actions in a Customer Retention Plan and train your team on how they all play their part.
“Satisfaction is a rating. Loyalty is a brand.” - Shep Hyken
If you need a helping hand getting a plan in place, come and talk to us. Get in touch and we will work on some strategies with you.