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10 Effective Ways to Retain Your Customers

10 Effective Ways to Retain Your Customers

If you work in a job where you are responsible for sales, or if you own your own business, retaining your customers is one of the most important things. With all the technology we have, it is more important nowadays than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Why?

Because in today’s “Internet world,” your best customer is just one click away from your competition.

Building a good relationship with your existing customers can make a great difference in the growth of any business. The well-known fact is that it is 10 times cheaper to retain your customers than to find new ones. So it is well worth doing something about it.

To start with, forget about all those complicated techniques and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) techniques.

By far the best way to retain your customers is to think of them like of your spouse or your friends. Do you remember what have you done to your spouse in order to win her or his heart? If you do, then you are your way to retaining your customers for life.

1. Give your customers extra value

When dating, remember how willing you are to do just anything imaginable on this planet to improve your partner’s life? You take extra care, just to make sure your partner was happy.

Think of improving your customer’s life by adding some extra value.

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One of the great ways to add extra value to your customers and which won’t cost you a fortune is to give them useful, free information which can drastically improve their lives. This could be done in the form of a free e-book or a free video bootcamp. For example, if you sell heating devices, write a free e-book on how to save money on central heating, or if you are an internet marketer create a free video bootcamp on how to improve a list building strategy.

2. Remember anniversaries

Your spouse remembers your anniversary, so you better remember it too (if you don’t want to risk some serious talks).

Your customers also have their anniversaries or special days.

The best surprise you can make is sending a message or a postcard to your customer for his or her birthday. If you don’t have this data, then you can send a nice message thanking them for their purchase or business on the anniversary of the first time they did business with you.

3. Surprise your customer

Life can be dull if there are no surprises, when everything is predictable.

Remember how happy your spouse was when you brought a bouquet of flowers home on a regular working day, with no particular reason? Or, what a surprise you made when you prepared an exceptionally nice dinner with all these candles on the table for your friends?

To retain your customers don’t think of them just when you are preparing your new offer. Call them sometimes just to say hello and ask them how life is going. And don’t talk about your product or service. They will definitely remember your call and they will buy from you again because they will feel somebody is taking care of them.

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If you have a large database of customers, send them a personal message just to remind them you are thinking of them. Some life quotes work nicely, especially if you add a personal comment.

4. Try to be less formal, more personable

Of course, some businesses have to be formal to be credible. But even behind a very formal business, there are still people. So why not finish your next letter with “Have a sunny day” instead of a well worn-out “Best regards”?

5. Find out something you have in common

Find out at least one thing you have in common with your customer on a personal level. It could be that you both have a dog. Dog owners always make a strong connection with each other. There is always so much to say about dogs. It could be a hobby, a preferred dish, whatever as long as you both enjoy doing or having it.

Finding something personal you have in common with your customer could be a big winner and also a very enjoyable way to retain your customers.

6. Speak on a personal level

People are striving for a personal touch. They are tired of the corporate, lifeless attitude.

Telling your customers about some of your personal experiences can make a big difference. It could be just telling them how you spend your weekend with your family on a trip to the mountains or how your kids were competing in a dance tournament.

Things are changing even in big corporations. A few months ago Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, openly confessed he is a gay. What happened after that?

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Financial Times selected him for Person of the Year–not just because of his great work at Apple but also because of his open-minded speaking of his personal life and not fearing rejection.

7. Be straightforward

To be straightforward is a  delicate thing but it could win your customer’s heart.

Just remember times when you have told your spouse exactly what you thought and it happened to be just the opposite of her opinion. Okay, it didn’t always work very well but then again she might appreciate you more for your honesty.

Sometimes taking this kind of risk pays off when you want to retain your customers.

Let’s say you have a fashion boutique and a customer wants a skirt you, as a professional, think doesn’t fit her. Tell your customer what you think in a polite way and your customer will probably appreciate your honest opinion. You could follow up with a suggestion for a different skirt that you think would look great on her.

Forget the old saying, “Customer is king”. Nowadays you will do better if you think, “Customer is friend”. And if you are a real friend, when necessary, you say things as they are.

8. Ask your customers what they think of your service or product

To successfully retain your customers, you must constantly improve your service or product. Ask your customers how they would rate your service or product from 1 to 10. They will appreciate it because they will feel you take seriously their opinion.

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You can even send out comment cards or email your customers for anonymous feedback. There are great online services that will help you track your customer’s responses and get the feedback you need to improve. Don’t stop improving.

9. Give your customers bonuses

Bonuses always work and they are a great way to retain your customers. They work much better than discounts.

When you put a discount on your product, you are telling your customer that your product is not as good as you thought it to be. But when you give your customers a bonus, something extra, they see it as getting something special and so they feel special, too.

10. Be an interesting person

Think again of your efforts to win the heart of your spouse: Your spouse liked you (and hopefully still does) because of your character, because she or he likes the way you talk and the way you think.

You need to understand that your customers buy you first and only then your service or your product. When trying to retain your customers bring out your personality.

So, the next time you write an email or pick up the phone to contact your customer, think about what works great in your relationship with your spouse, or your friends, and you will not just successfully retain your customers but you will also enjoy the process.

Featured photo credit: Adult Bag Bags Buy Buyer Consumer Customer Cute/PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

But do you know what motivates your people?

It’s simple:

  • Is their work stimulating?
  • Does it challenge them?
  • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
  • Do you encourage creativity?
  • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
  • Do you praise them?
  • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
  • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
  • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

  • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
  • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
  • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
  • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

6. Monitor Their Workload

Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

  • Red means they’re fully loaded.
  • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
  • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

The Bottom Line

A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

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Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

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