The success of a business has never been a function of how beautiful its products look or how unique it appears. To remain in business profitably and do so for long, customers’ patronage must be gained and sustained. This is important for all businesses but even more important for startups that are still very new in the market place and most strongly depend on early sales to sustain and survive.
According to market wisdom.com, an average business loses about 20% or more of its customers to relationship mismanagement. This obviously would impact negatively on bottom-line as cost of doing business rises. Here are some customer retention insights that can help along the way:
GOOD MARKETING STRATEGY: Every business must have a strategic marketing system that will help it reach out to customers more effectively. A company can now leverage on the far reaching power of internet marketing to promote its business at a very little cost.
Marketing is like “shouting from the Bush”. You must also have a well thought out ways to follow up leads and bring them to buy. Marketing alone is not enough; selling is what finally determines if your product has been properly marketed.
CREATE A ‘WOW’ EXPERIENCE: Out-performing customers’ expectations is no longer an option but a sure and profitable way for startups. Customize and cluster customer needs and deliver on those needs ‘all the time and not sometimes’. The WOW experience is that magic factor which keeps a market loyal to your brand from one generation to another.
HELP THEM COMPLAIN: Most times, dissatisfied customers can just walk away and never come back. A business must develop a customer experience assessment box and the likes to help customers anonymously complain and express their dissatisfaction.
Also, this system must encourage them to say what the business is doing well. When these insights are gained, management should stop at nothing to reverse the bad experiences and maintain the good ones.
INTEGRITY: Never compromise on the quality of your product. Be the “go to place’ for quality solutions in your market space.
Go out of your way to access quality goods and make such available to your clients at a reasonable price. If for any reason a customer complains on quality, do all that is possible to get him a replacement. Though you suffer temporary cost, it will hugely pay off in the future.
SIMPLE THINGS ARE NOT SIMPLE: Show your customers that you care. Simple things such as remembering anniversaries, sending thank you cards, VIP experience for older customers, premium buying and the likes are some of the interesting ways that customers’ hearts can be won for life.
People are looking for care in one way or another and will always remain loyal to that person or business who gives it often.
DIFFERENTIATE: Proper branding and differentiation is one sure way to stay relevant in today’s market place. You must separate yourself from the crowd and make it easy for your customers to recognize you each time. All great businesses have mastered this and have used it consistent to stay obvious in the market place.
CREATE A PARTNERSHIP: Today’s business is about partnership. For Every business, customer relationship must be an intentional way of partnering for excellence. You must find ways to make your customers have a stake in your business success. For example, each customer can get a discount for referrals on his account, customers who visits with their friends or families can get some sort of recognition while the his company is properly marketed for possible future return.
Strong business- customer partnership goes a long way to promote repeat patronage. And this must be the everlasting target of every start up.
RESPECT: Respecting your customers doesn’t end in simple courtesies anymore. You must respect their time.
Time is the 21st century currency and any customer whose time is wasted for trying to spend his money quickly finds the exit door.
Create a speedy system that serves customers in the least time possible. Make this part of your selling point by assuring them that their time is your priority.