It’s typical to concentrate on getting new customers, but an extremely important part of success and growth is maintaining the customer base you already have. In fact, it’s ten times more expensive to establish new customer relations than to keep your current ones. So how do you nurture those relationships and keep those customers coming back? There are several strategies to achieve a stable customer foundation and they all circle around these three pillars:
- Building and maintaining the right relationships. Clarify your target market.
- Your service or product has to have value and be accessible to your customers.
- It goes both ways.
Another important part of retention is to track the number and source of your leads and the conversion rate. This goes back to clarifying your market and finding and keeping customers that make sense for your business. Who do you like to work with and why? Keep those questions at the forefront of your mind and you work at and maintain your base. Also remember to set a measurable goal for retention, and work at it. The following strategies will ensure results:
Strategy: Help your customers identify the problem they sought you out for and be open to expanding your scope to identify additional target areas – even if those areas are outside your service realm. If you can assist them through services you offer, then you have increased your value to them. If you are able to identify additional problems and connect them with people in your network who can help them, then you have built more trust into the core of your relationship.
Strategy: Be thoughtful. Keep in contact with your customers between sessions. Give them a call to let them know you have been thinking about them and working on their problem, This is a form a positive reinforcement that customers appreciate.
Strategy: Help your clients mitigate employee relationship woes. Sometimes the most valuable service you can offer begins with creating employee alignment to help achieve a cohesive environment.
Strategy: Broker relationships for your customers. Help them network, Go to events with them. You are essentially a salesperson for them. Be excited about their business and learn more about them and learn in the process.
Strategy: Get them married. Connect your clients to one another.
Strategy: Always be in hiring mode. Always be growing. Be on the lookout for your customers. Keep a file with whom you have been growing relationships so that you have a go-to person for every need at your fingertips.
Strategy: Party with your customers. Reward them with an awards ceremony just for them. Get them all together to thank them. This creates community and is vital for retention,
Strategy: Offering free training sessions periodically. Bring clients together for classes that benefit them. This adds value and is a form of super-servicing that customers truly appreciate.
Strategy: Connect with them on social media for a great return on investment and to help promote bonding while building rapport. This can take a lot of your time away from other important tasks, so hiring this out is a good idea.
Strategy: Exercise with your clients. Really. Meet up with them for a run or go to the gym with them. Socialize with them over drinks and at events as well.
Strategy: Learn faster than them so you are a step ahead. This allows you to always have a valuable service to provide to them. Your goal is to always have something to give them – a nugget of advice here and a pearl of wisdom there.
Strategy: Position the relationship as a lifetime partnership rather than a one-time service. Always focus on them and how you can help them grow and improve.
Strategy: Show them the ROI. When the services you have provided save them money or time, show them. Communicate this continuously so they are aware of the value.
Strategy: Be flexible with your customers. Adjust your program to their needs and provide the service they need right then.
Strategy: Meet with their other advisors so you can better understand their needs. This also promotes a team environment and creates a trust so that customers retain their relationship with you.
Strategy: See each other as people and not just as roles by setting personal goals together. This can be fun and rewarding.
Building customer relationships and maintaining them is crucial to success. By implementing just a few of these strategies, you will be well on your way to long-term success!