In order to grow as a business you should have a strategy for business growth. As businesses, we often look to new clients as a source for more revenue instead of looking to our current customers. It costs a lot less to keep a client than it does to get a new one. And when many companies experience the “80/20” rule (80 percent of revenue comes from just 20 percent of the clients) it is important to keep your top clients happy. By implementing the following methods it will ensure that your loyal customers stay with you into the future.
1) Listen to Them
This seems so simple, yet it can be very difficult to do for busy professionals who barely have enough time to get all their work done and maintain some semblance of a personal life. You can show your customers that you are listening in a number of different ways. Some successful methods that we have helped our clients implement include Customer Surveys, Feedback Contact Forms, Automatic Email Responders, Manual Phone Followups and Mailers. Customer surveys allow clients to communicate what they did or didn’t like about your products & services while remaining anonymous. Including a section in the survey that allows for the customer to suggest how you could do it better the next time will help you understand what your clients need. Feedback forms and other followup methods allow for you to touch base with your customer and make them feel appreciated. Listening to your customers and communicating with them can go a long way.
2) Create a Loyalty Program
Rewarding your loyal customers for continued business with a structured loyalty program is a great way to ensure future business. Whether they are renewing a contract, purchasing new products or referring new customers, a loyalty program allows them to feel appreciated and become better customers for you. Establish a program that provides free products/services as a reward for repeat business or referrals. Coupons, point systems and discounts are all very much appreciated by loyal customers.
3) Offer Sneak Peeks
Invite your loyal customers to try developing products and services for free or demo them before being released to the public. After the client has had a chance to review the product or service, ask them for feedback. This process builds your relationship and it will give you valuable feedback for your future release. It will also help foster the trust between you and your clients who will gain a sense of ownership over the product which is likely to result in sales later on and good word-of-mouth recommendations. In addition, the feedback they give you will allow you to develop a more polished product to release.
4) Reward Referrals
Although we mentioned rewards programs earlier, it’s important to emphasize the benefit of a good quality referral. Many businesses operate on close to 100% word of mouth marketing. While this may seem hard to believe in 2013, it is still true for a lot of companies and entrepreneurs. Reward your loyal customers who recommend your business to others with discounts and other special rewards. A referral is almost always better than a lead or a cold call, so make sure you know your customer’s referrals are appreciated. Even a good shout out on Facebook could be considered for rewards if it helps turn into business.
5) Offer Premium Services
For your top clients who often make up a large portion of your business’s revenue, provide them with premium-level customer service. Customer satisfaction should always be important, but for these clients it is vital for continuing business with them. This could be anything from waiving fees and shipping costs, to offering technical support outside normal business hours. Many companies have account executives who work on dozens of accounts. With your top dollar clients it is sometimes advantageous to assign an account executive whose sole responsibility is making sure that client is happy.
Thanks for reading, we hope it was informative and helpful. By using some of the customer retention tactics outlined above you will hopefully nurture better relationships with your most valued loyal customers. Why do we write about this kind of topic? As a Portland marketing company it is very important for us to inform our own clients and grow within the community. An enlightened client is a valuable client. Our client’s success is our success.