As any small business knows, it’s a heck of a lot easier to get business from existing customers than it is from new ones. So it would make sense that companies focus their efforts on making customers come back around like boomerangs. But do they?
Retaining customers is a tricky business. That’s why we’re going to look at some of the advice from people who have built companies based on keeping their best customers. Here’s what they suggest.
Make Keeping Customers as Important As Getting Them
Noah Fleming is a marketing expert and author of books on keeping customer loyalty. Over the years, he’s built up an expertise in what counts for keeping customers, and what just doesn’t work. Over time he’s come to a rather counterintuitive notion. He says that companies shouldn’t bother focusing on trying to “close” the deal.
Instead, he says, they should concentrate on doing all the little things that turn client acquaintances into relationships. He worries that the word “close” is unwittingly an attempt to bring the relationship to an end. Rather he says, companies should focus on keeping their relationships open-ended. Then customers will feel as if they can come back whenever they need to.
Research Abandoned Shopping Carts
All businesses know that it needs to be easy for customers to make payments. But, as businesswoman Meagan Rhodes points, firms don’t always make it easy. Many businesses spam their customers with landing pages, hyperlinks, and annoying captcha boxes.
But Rhodes suggests that companies avoid all of this and take advantage of clients who want to make impulse purchases. It’s important that businesses install some kind of total merchant services to make payments seamless. If they do, Rhodes says that their customers will keep coming back.
Focus On How You Make Customers Feel
With the rise of the internet as a global online market, businesses can’t rely on location anymore. Instead, they must use their brands to differentiate themselves from their competitors. A person who understands this more than anybody is Daryl Travis. Travis runs his own digital marketing research firm.
He’s seen hundreds of brands come and go. But he’s noticed that the most successful are all about the way that people feel when they come into contact with them.
One of the things he recommends is that the senior management team thinks carefully about what working with them is like for their customers. What are they looking for? And what emotional reality do they want satisfied?
He says that you have to internalize your customer’s feelings to understand where your brand sits. That means experiencing empathy and going through what customers experience when they interact with your business. It might sound new-age, but this exercise deepens your whole team’s understanding of the client experience.
Relate To Them
Keith Lee is a customer service manager at a technology company near Nashville. His advice is to cultivate relationships that feel meaningful and genuine to both you and your customers. His advice? Repeat their name when you meet them in person and over the phone. Mold yourself around their personality type and adapt if they are forthcoming or shy.
Reflect as much of themselves back at them as possible as a form of subtle flattery. And then try to find out some detail about where they live or what sports they like. These little snippets can then be used to build rapport and work out if you have any mutual connections.
Don’t Just Offer The Product
According to Calvin Brown, too many companies just offer one thing: their product. But if companies want to retain customers over the long term, they need to do more than this. Brown is the CEO of a property investment firm. His primary product is his portfolio of potential property investments. But this isn’t the only value he offers his customers.
He also offers them a range of free resources on property investments and educational materials. Thus, Brown’s business is actively helping customers make more money on the investments they make through him. This, in turn, helps to generate repeat business, since customers are both better off and feel better about his service.
Like many up-and-coming companies, Brown doesn’t focus on high-pressure sales. Instead, he focuses on customer experience and offering value at every step of the transaction. For instance, customers get a discount whenever they exit any of their investment properties.
The bottom line is that being a resource for your customers is important. Firms need to provide a pleasant buying experience, and if they do, their customers will keep on coming back.