I talk a lot about lead generation and thinking about new ways to go out find and acquire new customers but it’s not just about generating leads and adding a new customer to the client list. It’s about developing marketing tactics to keep them as well.
Truth is, it’s not always as easy as it looks to keep your word and continue to deliver value long after the sale. In fact, it’s pretty hard especially if your sales force is responsible for selling to new customers and keeping in close contact with the existing ones. Truth be told, if you ask a sales person if they would rather call upon a new lead that could potentially land them some commission in their pocket or spend their time checking in on customers they have already successfully converted, which do you think they would choose?
It’s ultimately up to you and the organization as a whole to ensure a successful customer retention plan is in place and is properly being executed upon. Here are 6 things to consider when you start thinking about building yours:
- Fulfill your promises. Your customer was sold something and as a result they have expectations around what they are getting and what they should be getting. There is nothing worse than being sold something that we don’t really need or wasn’t a good fit simply because there was an excellent sales person involved. If you promised something that your product did, if you promised something you were going to deliver upon, if you promised something would result for them as a result of becoming a customer make sure it happens.
- Ask them to come back. How many times have you assumed your service was working and as a result the person would obviously renew? I am currently investigated some product tools for a company and it looks as though we will be switching products and not renewing in our current solution. The salesperson with the company that we are currently working with has not even asked if we would not be considering renewing and has done nothing other than simply assume we would continue with their products.
- Provide great support. Now you don’t have to be selling a technology in order to offer support to customers. This could be simply offering additional advice or being completely up-front and honest about what they should do – should they ask. Ensure your contact us page isn’t a mysterious wasteland with no phone number, address or email. Make it easy for your customers to ask for and find help.
- Offer incentives for repeat visits or purchases. Can you imagine my surprise when I was told that in order for me to renew a subscription that the price would go up? Yes, go up. Don’t do this to your customers. If your prices go up, then grandfather them in if you can and let them know you can only do this one time (if that is really all you can do). If customers keep coming back to buy more, think about how you can recognize them for being loyal and incentivize them.
- Keep your employees happy. Ever go into a store and bump into a disgruntled employee? Yikes! Not fun! Happy employees tend to make – and retain – happy customers. If your employees are excited about the company and the products and services you sell, this will be visible to your customer base.
- Build a product that your customers want. If you have a product (or even a service), you need to be able to adapt to climates meaning your customers are most likely going to adapt and need something new and improved year over year. You never want them to say ‘we outgrew what you offer’. Ensure your product roadmap and the evolution of the services you offer is in line with not only what your competitors are doing but what the market wants and needs.
Customer newsletters, events, nurturing communications are all great but it’s just one slice of the pie. While you may say this is a sales function, it’s really your responsibility as a marketer or business owner as well. We all know that it’s cheaper to keep a customer than to get a new one.
How are you supporting customer retention? Any great tips I missed? Love to hear your thoughts!