The keys to customer retention

happy shoppersThere are two main reasons an organization is likely to lose customers; the competition has a better offer or the customer is unhappy. Even the smallest interruption on a day a customer is stressed, in a bad mood, or just in a hurry could mean the difference whether he returns as a client at a later time. Today’s economy and sharp competition therefore demands excellence and consistency. Even though a company might offer the best price around town, if  service is shoddy the customer is likely to leave. A business can not compensate in one area for another area of weakness, or rather who wants to buy a product even if it’s a great deal  if there is no one at the company to help if something goes wrong?

Customer retention relies on two distinct platforms. First there is the relationship with the client. We need to understand and know our clients, which includes their expectations, what satisfies them, their geographic locations, and their likes and dislikes. The easiest way to figure this out is through surveys which analyzes a customer; builds a profile, builds models of their preferences, and often can predict problems before they even happen.

Customers of service industries will buy more from year to year, thus reducing costs because the repeat business of the client continues to help a business grow. Loyal, happy clients often will pay more; overnight stays at the Ritz Carlton. In addition, there is the benefit of good publicity, social media, and word of mouth. Here are some suggestions to improve client relationships:

  • Always keep your promises. Deliver on time, call back, email back, and solve problems.
  • Make sure all levels of management have the same customer-centric attitudes.
  • Acknowledge a customer’s intelligence, and respect them. Customers don’t want to be embarrassed, lectured, corrected, or have an agent express a “know it all” attitude.
  • Be educated about your products and services through lectures and training sessions so you can be a competent source of information.
  • Perform better than your competition.
  • Don’t let any customer just walk away, and look for the warning signs. Track customer purchases and note when the customer has reduced their business. Find out why, and fix it.
  • Reward sales people for client retention.
  • Value client opinion.

The second platform is the expectation of the product or the service itself. Even the best customer service isn’t going to build client retention without outstanding goods. Here are some of the expectations:

  • The quality of the products or services must live up to the expectations promised by the organization.
  • Every department has to be involved in the presentation, delivery,and function of the product. From explaining everything starting with turning the product on to trouble shooting,each department and customer service has to be made available.
  • Every department has to be available for follow-up. Most things go wrong at the very beginning, and rapid assistance can make all the difference in the world to customer retention. Generous warranties, easy return policies, and money-back guarantees build customer confidence.
  • Correct design mistakes or service interruptions.

It’s much more expensive to find new clients rather than maintain the valued customers already happy and satisfied. There’s no shortage of competition, so striving for the best can make a profound positive effect in customer bonding.

photo credit: zoetnet

No Responses to “The keys to customer retention”

  1. Julia said:

    Nov 08, 10 at 12:21 pm

    Acquiring a new customer is much more expensive than retaining an existing one – your post is right on the money!

    Think you’ll find our blog has some good tips too, take a look:

    http://customerservicethoughts.blogspot.com/

    Keep up the good work!