Customers are the most important asset for every business. Without them every store, office or warehouse would be abandoned, dusty and forgotten by the world. And most customers nowadays know that their value goes way beyond their wallets. In this digital age people know what they want, know how to get it, and they know that one bad online review can cost business owners a lot. This is why making sure all your clients are happy is pivotal to your success. Statistics show that it costs at least five times less to keep a regular client than to find new ones. While that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on getting more clients there is a clear benefit for looking after the ones you already have. So, here are a few useful tips to help you retain your customers and build a bright and successful brand image.
Add value to your products/services. Even though the whole buying process is complex and depends on thousands of factors from your point of view, there are three main questions which are important to your clients – “What is it?”, “What is the price?” and “Why should I buy this from you?”. The last question is particularly important to business owners. What makes you different from the other companies? What do you offer that nobody else can? Which are your greatest benefits – low prices, great customer support or maybe some kind of unique approach? Find your strengths and put them out there. Discover what makes your company great and make sure people know about it.
Listen to your customers. Feedback is essential, even if it’s negative. Actually, most business analysts will tell you that negative feedback is even better than the positive one. Positive reviews are just flattery, while the negative ones tell you what your problems are, which will allow you to look for solutions and grow. Therefore, you need to create a system to collect all online and offline reviews, analyze them and respond to every single one. The good response is important; it shows your clients that you pay attention and care.
Admit your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, no matter how well prepared they are. Denying your mistakes, or even worse, making bad excuses, is one of the worse things you can do to your business. When you alert a client of a mistake before they realize it and you apologize accordingly, you can often gain a loyal customer for life. Admitting mistakes and working toward solutions and improvements is very important when building business relationships too. If your mistakes are more than a simple mishap, then you should always provide proper compensation in the form of returning partial fees or providing additional complimentary services.
Make your customers feel important. People like to know that they are being noticed and remembered. There are plenty of things you can try to make them feel this way, and promote your business at the same time. You can send them personalized greeting cards for their birthdays; you can send them discounts for your products or services on occasion or you can organize different games with prizes online. You can also take a different approach by analyzing the preferences of your customers and find ways to personalize their experience with you. There are plenty of approaches you can explore.
Provide rewards for returning clients. Creating a reward system for your regular clients is a must these days. People love receiving bonuses, coupons, points and gifts in any form. It makes them feel important, and the fact that you’re giving them a goal to follow really helps your business. Some big stores provide their clients with cards, which they use to collect points, that can be used for purchases later. Another option is to give your regular customers discount cards they can use on each visit. You can also work in collaboration with other businesses, this tactic is gaining lots of popularity lately. You will provide discount coupons for a partner business in your store, and the other business will do the same for you. This type of indirect marketing can really widen your business niche and you will get noticed by many new potential clients, which is practically the goal of every business – growth and improvement.
Say thank you. This one is obvious, but it still needs to be mentioned, because many businesses fail to train their employees correctly. Politeness is the key to a customer’s heart, and the dividends you can draw from it are far bigger than the ones from any marketing campaign. When a customer makes a purchase in your store, they should be thanked and invited to visit again. When someone makes a conversion on your website, they should receive a thank mail with a coupon for their next purchase/service. There are countless ways to say that you appreciate your customers, you should try as many of them as you can. After all, without them nothing would be possible.
Author: Jane Wilson
Jane Wilson is a business owner, a blogger and a mum. She manages the Melbourne branch of Fantastic Cleaners, a company she’s been developing for the last 5 years. They provide cleaning services and promote a nature friendly way of life. Her interests are mainly in the field of home improvement and interior design, as well as business development.