In other words: how can you keep your customer coming back and buying your services?
Often, winning the client or customer for the first time is the easiest bit. Delivering what they want, expect and are paying for can be tough according to the personality traits involved. But further to that, how can you get them to buy your other services or keep them interested in what you have to say?
Retaining clients is the holy grail for all companies because a happy client will pay on time, recommend you to others and be the best potential purchaser of your new products and services. Financially-speaking it is also cheaper to maintain a long-standing, happy client than it is to chase new customer wins. This may be true but beware falling into a comfortable, cosy, incumbent client situation. Over-reliance on one or two customers and a lack of new business wins could easily turn a seemingly good business situation into a non-existent one if those clients left for whatever reason.
A few strategic points to keep an eye on regularly:
- Make sure your existing clients are happy, but don’t pander to them too much
- Maintain a pipeline of new business leads and meetings
- Happy clients = happy balance sheet + happy workplace
- Reward client loyalty with special offers and unexpected actions
- Keep relationships fresh and interesting
I’m hesitant to use another Virgin example and especially one for Virgin Media when there may be some disgruntled customers out there, but this advert is a great example of customer retention marketing. It is also using an object, in this case a ‘NICE’ biscuit, which has a positive imprint with most people. Almost everyone likes biscuits, even if they’re not a fan of ‘NICE’ ones.
- In one simple effective image and tagline, they have communicated:
- Ongoing service is free to you as an existing customer
- They are nice people
- You would enjoy spending time with them
- They go the extra mile
It is really is a very simple premise, but keeping everyone happy will ensure a smoother ride all round. In a small business it is easy to over analyse every client interaction and try to second-guess what they might want or how they will react. As with the other key relationships in your life, it becomes a question of common sense and intuition as to how you deal with your customers. It’s all too easy to bend over backwards and give them everything they ask for but in the long run, you are doing yourself and them a disservice. Their expectation will always be thus and you will go to increasingly extreme (and costly) lengths to ensure delivery. Relationships are a two-way street and a solid, long relationship is one where both parties are happy.