Like a sheepherder that feeds, tends, and guards his flock, businesses must take care of their customers in order to avoid predator threat and destruction. Only then can the herd expand and grow.
It’s just as important to retain customers as it is to attain new ones. As Shiv Sing, Senior Vice President of Global Brand and Marketing Transformation at Visa put it, “The purpose of a business is to create customers who create customers.” We at ROI sat down and asked ourselves the simple question: Why do we remain loyal to our favorite brands? Together we identified common trends and patterns amongst our own answers and formed six customer retention tips for creating lifelong customers.
1.) Provide friendly and efficient customer service. Everyone has a customer service horror story; the time someone was blatantly rude to you or didn’t give you the time or answers you needed. Who can forget the Comcast customer who’s service rep aggressively refused to let him cancel his service? It’s important to remember that news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.
2.) Specialize in one thing, rather than trying to master everything. As a business, it’s important to find your niche. Narrowing it down and targeting a specific group of people doesn’t mean you will make less money; in fact it’s just the opposite. With a niche it will be easier to “create customers who create customers” because they will know what you specialize in and will view you as an expert in your field. In return, they will be more likely to recommend you to their friends.
3.) Sell a product with clear function, high quality, and fair prices. Don’t make promises you can’t keep or ask for more than your product is really worth. The power of the internet gives people the power to voice their opinions. Customer reviews allow your clients to highlight your strengths and weaknesses. Their happiness can affect your business as 90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. It’s plain and simple; customers trust customers.
4.) Create a distinct and innovative personality that shines through your product or service. Maybe your competition offers a product or service that is the same or similar to yours. Adding something extra can make you stand out from the crowd and can strengthen your customer relationships. For instance, Apple has a swarm of loyal customers. Although some would claim their operating system has fallen behind, they are known for their innovative and minimalist product design and user friendly products.
5.) Reward customers with points, perks, incentives or unexpected delights. It’s the little things that go a long way. A few months ago I made a trip to Panera for breakfast because I knew I would get something for free since it was my birthday. Last week, my dad got a TV for 50% off at Best Buy because of all the loyalty points he had racked up on his card. Take care of your customers and your customers will take care of you.
6.) Focus your attention around the specific needs of the customer, while providing recommendations appropriate to the individual. Considering that 61% of consumers feel better about a company that delivers custom content – and are more likely to buy – personalization can go a long way with customers. Recently, I bought something off Amazon that I didn’t even know I wanted. Amazon recommended it because it complemented another product I had purchased recently. Customers don’t care about what doesn’t pertain to them. It’s all about relevancy.
Although lead generation is an important part of growing a business, creating customers for life is a vital aspect as well. A steady customer base means a steady source of income; so don’t leave your herd unattended or you’ll find your sheep in your competitors’ backyard.