What is the key to customer retention?
A business’s longevity and the quality of its customer relationships are often inextricably associated, so it’s no revelation that corporations are always re-evaluating how best they can hold onto their clients.
And although there are always conditions of scale, there are some fundamental values of keeping your customers that can be applied to any business.
Most of it boils down to communication – how often you do it, the channels you’re communicating through and how you conduct that communication. It’s an old adage that customer service is at the heart of most successful businesses, and it’s truer than ever now when an age of convenience dictates instant gratification as a priority.
Making it as easy as possible for customers to reach you is the first step. While in the past customers would tolerate being kept on hold, long waiting periods between correspondence and even coming into stores or offices to resolve issues, that form of dialogue is quickly becoming outdated and unrealistic.
Go where your customers already are – integrate your presence into their natural landscape. We’re talking about social media. Veeqo have conducted some easy to digest and interesting research that shows the benefits of good social media practice on perceived customer service and even detail how best to go about it.
Offering a great product or service is definitely important but if the customer experience you’re providing isn’t up to standard, you’re running the risk of alienating your consumers, who will go elsewhere – 86% have following negative encounters.
Getting to know your customers is important. If your relationship is solely based around the transaction – they pay the money, you provide the goods – it doesn’t give much incentive for them to stick around if you’re suddenly faced with a competitor who’ll significantly undercut. You need to be interested in them and you need to make them interested in sticking with you.
The most fruitful and long-lasting client relationships are ones that have been nurtured over time by companies who’ve invested in understanding their customers. If you make your client’s goals the same as yours – whether it’s helping them save money or enabling them to carry out their own business functions more effectively, you’ll become a trusted, reliable service they won’t want to part ways with.
Businesses whose clients number in the thousands can still provide a prescriptive level of personal service just by making sure they’re ready to deal with that level of demand. Some tools will help you to record and keep track of your customers so that communication is never interrupted. Investing in this sort of infrastructure sets a precedent of basic customer care that can be institutionalised into a growing business.
A combination of all these techniques can bolster the trust your customers have with you. So long as you’re operating with honourable intentions to become lasting partners with your clients and you’re promoting positive communications with every interaction, the only challenge you’ll face is consistency.