How to Keep Customers Coming Back
Building value in a business has a direct correlation with the value you generate through your most important asset–your customers. These are the customers you have now and the ones you will have in the future.
What can you do to keep these client relationships intact, and how can you turn them into active referral sources?
Leading businesses have figured out how to use client retention marketing techniques to keep their customers longer, while growing them into bigger customers, generating more word-of-mouth referrals and providing a highly-efficient service. By making these techniques part of your long-term business strategy, you are taking the first step towards keeping your clients for life.
When talking about growth and building long-term business models, so many businesses forget to focus on their current audience before moving on to acquire new customers. Just think about your own experiences after buying a new product or trying a new service and the support that follows. Today’s bottom line culture has definitely lost sight of client retention and appreciation. After a bad experience, what are the chances that you refer that company? Will you leave at the first opportunity? These are the things to consider and avoid. With a little effort, there are many ways to guarantee a positive customer experience.
Don’t Drop the Ball After the Sale!
How many of you say “thank you” after a sale? Do you have a systematic program that includes regular follow-up contacts to make sure everything is going smoothly? Or are the customers just passed off to a call center to fend for themselves? The period after the sale of a new product or service will reinforce the buyer’s beliefs about your company and service. This is the beginning of whether they become your greatest ambassadors or detractors. Exceeding their expectations post-sale gives people a positive reason to talk about your products and services. An example would be to develop a three-contact, follow-up program over a six-week period. The first communication should be more of a “thank you” and “we are here if you need us” contact. The second and third follow-up could be more educational, like case studies.
Communicate to Your Current Buyers on a Regular Basis
It is by educating and maintaining contact with your audience that your business will reach its greatest heights. It is recommended that you communicate with your core audience at least six times a year. Depending on your market, monthly contact is generally preferred. But make it something valuable. Either with special offers or educational material that could be used to improve the way they use your product or service. The best results usually come from educational materials that are not directly selling our product or service. Examples of ongoing client retention marketing include client newsletters, direct mail coupon offers, white papers, webinars, membership clubs and customer service follow-up calls.
Why Talking Points Are So Important in Client Retention
Why is it that some politicians are so accomplished at breaking down complex issues into simple words or sentences? Why are these politicians usually elected? By developing your own set of talking points about your product or service and repeatedly using them in your client retention programs, you enforce your brand message. It is more likely that your customer base will repeat this message to their peers. What do you think of when Apple® Computers is mentioned? Since the word “computer” was removed from their company name, they have effectively repositioned themselves as a lifestyle provider of electronics. They have taken products that are sold as commodities by their competitors and effectively created the leading brand in their space. More importantly, their products sell at a premium. Think of using some of that magic on your own products or services. Develop talking points and use them repeatedly. When you are tired of using them, your message is just starting to make its impact.
Make it Personal and Market by Name
A lot has been written about personalizing your marketing communications. Without listing the results of different studies, let’s just use some common sense. You are much more driven to respond to being called out by name in marketing communications. Better yet, by targeting the message and the sales pitch to the historical purchases of a buyer, you will yield much higher response rates than a “one message fits all” approach. Variable printing and e-mail technology make it easier than you think to personalize.
By focusing first on your customer and client retention, you are on your way to implementing marketing programs that empower your customers to share their positive experiences. It is by addressing your current customers first that will create a positive voice and word-of-mouth testimonials. Businesses can work hard to deliver customer experiences that are beyond their expectations, but it is by listening to your customers and the fostering of influential ambassadors that your business will generate positive buzz about the good qualities of your product or service.