Customer retention is at least as important as customer acquisition, especially in the customer-centric age. This blog teaches five tips to make loyal fans out of your customers.
Keeping an existing customer is much cheaper than gaining a new one. That’s mostly old news, yet in a business world dominated by sales charts and numbers it tends to be forgotten sometimes. “YES! Another sale!” obviously sounds better than “YES! Another customer we didn’t lose!”
However, customer retention is every bit as important as customer acquisition. This blog features five smart tips to earn your customers’ loyalty.
1. Set the right expectations from the start (and then surpass them)
Right off the bat, honest communication with your customer is essential. Sweet-talking a lead just to reel in that contract, or making muddled agreements about the scope of a project are little more than recipes for disappointment. Which is the last thing you want, seeing as that customers remember negative experiences much longer than positive ones.
What does that mean in practice? Don’t make promises you can’t fulfill. Better still: make “under-promise and over-deliver” your motto. Set the bar slightly lower for yourself than what you can actually deliver, then pleasantly surprise your customers afterwards.
How? Like such:
- Write on your website that your standard response time to emails is within two days, even though you know a same-day response is much more likely
- Did you promise your lead a quotation by Wednesday? Then make sure it reaches them by Monday
Simple, yet effective.
"Don’t make promises you can’t fulfill, and make “under-promise and over-deliver” your motto."
2. Build long-lasting relationships of trust
A customer that sincerely trusts you, tends to get on board for longer periods of time. So make it a top priority to build relationships with your customers that stretch farther than the minimum requirements of their contract.
Obviously, you should start by thoroughly understanding your customer’s needs. That should be a no-brainer. But don’t stop there. Get to a solid level of expertise about their vertical, including the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Your customer wants to get ahead, so you should too. Prove that: look for ways in which your customer can gain ground on the competition, and show them the role your company can play in the process.
That doesn’t necessarily entail a long personal chat with every customer every week. Play around with more scalable ideas, for example:
- A blog with sector-based news and tips
- Targeted email campaigns
3. Be proactive with your customer service
Proactively dealing with customers means: solving problems before they arise. That may sound vague to you, but remember that salespeople do this every day: they anticipate any objections a lead might make and try to refute each and every one of them.
A similar approach is very important for customer service as well. Customer experience specialists Aspect even go so far as to say that proactive customer care equals customer loyalty. After all, you tend to get back what you give.
Proactive customer service can manifest itself in a variety of ways:
- A text message from your telecom supplier warning you about network maintenance
- An email from your energy supplier when your next payment is almost due
- A follow-up call from your web builder to hear if your new website is doing what it should
- A check-up by your consultant to hear about your new business processes
Never mind what kind of service you deliver, the most important message is: don’t wait. By foreseeing possible issues and communicating about them beforehand with your customer - preferably through their medium of choice - you create a bond and once again win their trust.
"Proactively dealing with customers means: solving problems before they arise."
4. Automate and streamline where you can
No computer can capably perform every single task a human can. But what it can do, it does at lightning speeds and flawlessly to boot. Coincidentally, all customers appreciate quick and correct help.
On the other hand, few customers are happy when:
- Their support questions aren’t answered
- They have no idea at all if someone is handling their question
- They have to explain the same issue to three different people
- Their invoices are riddled with mistakes
These are all scenarios that can be avoided by streamlining and automating your business processes. Which, by the way, is not at all limited to customer service: the whole lead-to-customer journey can be streamlined to perfection. Which comes with a lot of saved time, that can then of course be reinvested in the customer.
5. Listen closely to customer feedback
Finally, listening closely and attentively might be the best thing a customer-centric business can do. It’s the only way to sound if your service is on par with what the customer expects - and take timely action if it’s not.
There are multiple ways to measure customer satisfaction. These are three of the best-known methods:
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): how would you rate your experience with our company?
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): how likely would it be for you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?
- Customer Effort Score (CES): the organisation made it easy for me to handle my issue, true or false?
Each has its pros and cons. You choose what fits your business best. Ideally, you want to measure in three ways: per individual user, per larger user group and over a period of time. This way you can help you individual customers, discover weak points and measure improvements all at once.
"Listening closely and attentively might be the best thing any customer-centric business can do."
Customer retention with Teamleader
There most certainly are more useful tips to make raving fans of your customers. One of the very best ones? Using Teamleader for your business.
Teamleader combines CRM, sales, project management and invoicing in one easy-to-use online tool. It allows you to:
- Manage your contacts and companies in one place, including all communication
- Easily follow-up on leads throughout the sales process
- Segment your contact database and send targeted email campaigns
- Build long-lasting customer relationships
- Share quotations, invoices and projects online with your customers
- Offer the very best support time and time again
And that’s not all. Eager to know more?