Ever wondered what’s better than acquiring new customers? If you’re thinking customer retention, you got it spot on.
Nurturing relationship with current clients and getting business from them will be among the top agendas when creating sales strategies in 2017.
Retaining existing clients is 7 times cheaper than getting new ones. So while giving it everything, looking for sales leads and expanding your client base, make sure to remember the value behind customer retention and brand loyalty.
Internal studies from analytics platform SumAll revealed 25% to 40% of the total revenues of the most stable businesses in the SumAll network come from returning customers.
Current loyal customers also form the rock during economic downtime. The study also showed “businesses with 40% repeat customers generated nearly 50% more revenue than similar businesses with only a 10% repeat customers”.
To increase customer retention as a vital part of your sales strategies in 2017, see what the big fishes like Amazon, Starbucks and Tesco are doing so well.
At the end of this, you’ll learn what sales strategies will work best in 2017 and make your customers coming back for more.
Deliver Proactive Customer Service
Proactive service is about anticipating customer complaints and taking adequate measurement before the bag hits the fan.
This kind of customer service is often very well displayed by the major airlines. There’s nothing worse than a delayed flight and having to wait for hours.
The best airlines get proactive and contact their customers about the delay. This prepares the passengers (current customers) and also shows respect for their time. A simple text message like “Flight AA 123 has been delayed by 45 minutes due to air traffic” goes a very long way to customer retention.
Foresee your customers’ needs.
A couple of months ago, I arrived exhausted at the hotel late in the evening after a delayed flight. The manager greeted me and said, “I thought you might be tired and took the opportunity to reserve a table for you at our Thai restaurant, just in case”.
I was delighted. He noticed that I was coming late, that my favorite one of their two restaurants is the Thai one, and booked me a table on a busy night.
I was delighted. I simply couldn’t say no, even though it meant spending more money in the restaurant. This is a perfect example of how to get repeat customers to spend more and come back again.
Anticipate your customers’ needs based on research, knowledge of customers and a bit of gut feeling.
Track and Analyze Customer Satisfaction
Unless you know what you are doing right and where you have faltered, there’s no way you can keep customer loyalty.
Tracking your customer satisfaction will give you more insight into how happy your customers are. A recent study showed 96% of unhappy customers won’t say a thing directly but will not repurchase.
There are many customer survey tools you can choose from to do this. I use SurveyMonkey because their Net Promoter Score lets me easily find out if my current customers are happy and if I can get their recommendation.
Image source: SurveyMonkey
Tracking changes in customer satisfaction is important so you can see whether the initiatives you have implemented are having a positive or negative impact.
You can also do this face-to-face with your customers, over the phone or some other means.
To track customer satisfaction, we schedule weekly chats with our customers here. And they are encouraged to talk freely and openly about the quality of our service.
The only way to go in today’s market is to make your customers happy. In turn, you’ll get their loyalty and more business.
This has to be an indispensable part of your sales strategies for the year 2017. Your customer retention will largely depend on this.
See what are going to be your biggest obstacles this year and how you can overcome them
Get Personal and Delight Your Customers
Your social media channels or blogs might not be your primary tool for customer service but they sure are the touch points.
If your customers leave a post on your social media, make sure to reply to them, even if that is just to say “Thank you Sam, your input was most valuable. How’s business on your end?”.
Sometimes it’s good to leave a reply with a question. This shows you care, and you get more engagement in your social media.
Amazon offers a live web-based cam-support on their Fire tablet called May-day to provide that rich personal shopping experience that’ll delight the customers.
Image Source: The Financial Brand
Your customers don’t like talking to a brand, company or an auto-responder.
Make sure the people manning your social media channels are capable of helping your customers solve common problems and not just by sending a link to ‘Help’ page, but by walking them through to the solution. Or personally directing them to the person that can help, and then following up later.
This is why hiring the right talents is crucial to your company’s success and you need to learn how to identify them. I’ll be telling you more on that later.
Talk to your customers
A phone call is another great way to get personal with your customers. Customers naturally prefer verbal interaction and prefer talking directly to someone within the company.
It’s always best if someone from high up in the hierarchy makes the call.
Great account managers stand out in any environment, no matter the industry. They are able to build relationships with clients quickly, establishing trust.
It’s important that they speak to the customers in a manner that evokes confidence in them, plus throws a personal touch.
A simple phone call from a manager can even turn an unhappy customer into a returning one.
Be a Trusted Adviser
Today’s customers want to be educated and not sold to. Be the rock of trust so they can fall on you for all things inside your area of expertise.
For example, if you are in IT company, make sure they can depend on you on anything related to IT, to get helpful ideas.
This takes extra commitment but at the end of the day will have a significant positive impact as a part of your business strategies in 2017. By being their expert, you build a relationship that leads to a dependency.
As a trusted advisor, you can become an integral part of their business success.
Don’t shy away from giving your customers a quick courtesy call to give them heads up about upcoming changes and provide some insightful recommendations.
The marketplace is noisy and it’s saturated. So make sure you stand out and get your customers vote of confidence by going the extra mile for them.
Make Full Use Of Automation
This is key for standardizing repeatable processes. Leveraging automation will allow you to minimize downtime and keep clients’ networks performing at their best.
Automation will also help you meet your current customers’ commitments on time.
By standardizing processes and setting high benchmarks, you can increase customer loyalty, which will lead to improved customer retention rates.
So to sum up
If you want to retain your loyal customers and brand evangelists, you have to go beyond the call of duty and exceed mass consumer expectations.
Customer loyalty in an all-important business asset. And like other assets, it doesn’t come free. You need to invest time and effort but its worth every nickel.
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