Why is it that businesses spend so much time and money to acquire new customers but, once they have them, do nothing to keep them?
If it costs so much more money to acquire a customer than to keep one, it only makes sense that we should strive to hold onto them. Once customers come, they will stay…until they don’t. And when they leave, will you know why?
Here are 7 Cardinal Rules for Keeping Customers:
1. Make promises and keep them. Whether that’s a promise of delivery time, returning a phone call, responding to an enquiry or after-sales service, whatever you promise…deliver on that promise.
2. Know thy customer. Especially if you’re a locally-based business, serving a community in person, there’s no reason not to get to “know” your customer. Know their name, their preferences. Offer up suggestions that are in keeping with their tastes and likes.
3. Ask. Ask for opinions, feedback, preferences, things that could be done better. A simple question: “What else could I do for you to make your shopping experience better?”
4. Listen. No “yes-but” excuses. When someone is providing feedback, they’re giving you gold. Don’t excuse, justify, rationalize or explain. Just listen. Then act. Act to make those changes that are reasonable and feasible to meet customer expectation.
5. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Why is this so difficult for businesses to do? After all, we are all customers. Why is it that indifference, over-attentiveness, push-selling and SCREAM selling are so prevalent in business, when we, as customers, abhor that behaviour.
6. Smile. In your voice, on your face, in your written communication and in your demeanor. Smiling is contagious. Just observe the difference when someone smiles at you, and your reaction. Smiling relieves stress, boosts endorphins, enhances immunity and lowers blood pressure. Do yourself and your customers a favour and share smiles.
7. Keep in touch. Why is it that we get bombarded with messaging during the “courting” phase as customer, but are virtually ignored once we’ve bought? I regularly hear of people who’ve switched their barber, massage therapist, “favourite” restaurant or other service provider or shop, lament the fact that they never hear from those businesses. Their cry of “I guess my business didn’t mean much to them” is well founded. Not every business can measure the comings-and-goings of each and every customer, but when NO attempt is even made, especially with “regulars”, what message does that send?
Do you know when a customer leaves? Do you know why? If not, why not?
What are your Cardinal Rules for Keeping Customers?
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