Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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?

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

Bo Nardin

Bo Nardin is an online entrepreneur taking the idea 'Turn your passion into a profession' online.

8 Empowering Mindset Books That Will Lead You To Success 10 Simple Productivity Tips To Get Your Work Life More Organized 10 Simple Productivity Tips To Organize Your Work Life 7 life lessons I have learnt from Jim Rohn which greatly improved my life 7 life lessons I have learnt from Jim Rohn which greatly improved my life 7 Useful Marketing Tips For Consultants An Infographic Of Useful Marketing Tips For Consultants Writing Down little Ideas For Success 10 Small Things People Always Overlook Which Actually Matter To Success

Trending in Work

1 How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs 2 How to Become an Entrepreneur (Advice from a Serial Entrepreneur) 3 13 Critical Things to Consider Before Switching Careers 4 How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter (With Examples) 5 30 Best Business Books for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Make an Impact

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 28, 2020

How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

Learning how to succeed in business used to be a case of being really good at one skill or area and milking it for all its value. Today, we are fast becoming a “skills economy”[1], driving trends in employment and even the way we approach entrepreneurship.

To succeed in today’s business landscape, business owners and executives need to possess a mix of skills that enable them to stay ahead and adapt to change.

1. Digital Savviness

As the adage goes: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Today’s entrepreneurs need to take to the internet to increase their presence and to remain relevant in an evolving business landscape.

Companies like Amazon, Netflix, Airbnb and more are a testament to the disruptive impact of technology and the new image of what it means to be a skilled, successful professional. Think about today’s Mark Zuckerberg versus a banker from the 90s.

Being able to quickly adapt to new technology, like cloud applications and collaborating remotely across the internet, is fast becoming the expected norm for executives.

For businesses, discoverability on the web is becoming a quick litmus test for credibility. Potential customers and investors bank on the first page of Google to make up half their minds about making further transactions with a business. GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying[2].

How to Develop This Skill

For a start, begin by hosting your website and reserving all of your brand’s handles across social media platforms. While hiring a web developer might sound like the next step, consider first hosting your company’s site on more user and budget-friendly options like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.

From here, you can start on some simple search engine optimization techniques that will increase your discoverability over time. Through keyword research, organic content creation, and external back-links, your site will, eventually, slowly but surely garner more traffic.

Note, however, that an increase in search traffic does not immediately imply an increase in revenue. But it’s a start for delving into customer conversion rates in the future.

2. Financial Forecasting

Let’s face it, many business owners feel that time could be better spent on developing and running the business instead of planning for it financially. However, a financial forecast serves as a roadmap for shaping any kind of business and is not just reserved for the likes of listed companies providing financial guidance to shareholders.

Largely, forecasting and planning your financial goals will give you a clearer idea of resources required and ways to measure success. It can also provide assurance to investors as a testament to the thorough research and planning you have done when included in business plans.

Advertising

However, inaccurate forecasts can lead to livid investors and mismanagement of expenses, which could potentially result in financial teething problems. When creating a detailed financial forecast, a rule of thumb is to always start with your expenses.

How to Develop This Skill

Generally, it is easier to calculate and predict your expenses compared to your revenue, so noting down your expenses is a starting point to benchmark how much you might need to generate in sales to turn a profit. It is a good habit to regularly update and evaluate how adjacent your operations are to what you have forecasted.

Building a precise set of growth forecasting will take time, but, remember, you are an investor in your own business. You must have confidence in the validity of your business concept.

3. Video Production Skills

The rise of visual mediums and the dopamine boosts it gives to users has long been researched and proven as providing an unfair advantage to businesses that leverage it[3].

If you’re a heavy user of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to stop once you get started on a binge-watching session.

In fact, video marketing is seeing a non-stop rise in popularity and effectiveness when used in conjunction with social media to drive traffic and boost conversions[4]. According to research, by 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content[5]. With video marketing becoming more ubiquitous, businesses that fail to leverage the power of video are almost certain to lose out.

How to Develop This Skill

Some ways to get started with using videos for your business would be:

  • Creating a series of educational videos that cover useful information for your audiences
  • Live videos interacting with your community at large (these can be shot on your smart phone)
  • Using videos on landing pages to boost your customer conversions

4. Benchmarking Personal Goals to Business Performance

As far as you get into achieving endeavours on your business bucket list, it’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur is just one facet of your identity. Don’t forget why you started in the first place.

Ambition usually stems from some lifestyle goals you’ve always wanted for yourself and the people you might be providing for today or in the future. Working 24/7 is a surefire route to burnout and may manifest in an unhealthy interaction between partners and employees as well.

How to Develop This Skill

Money can’t be your only motivation, but look into the positives of how having more financial freedom and time can impact your life. In the short term, involving your interests in your businesses can make everyday tasks feel less like mundane errands. In the long run, your business may also bring you fruitful rewards, including personal fulfilment.

Set realistic income goals to manage expectations for your performance and your company’s revenue, especially during its earlier stages. See how projected growth can align with your personal goals and make adjustments accordingly to maintain a balance between growth and your personal values.

Advertising

5. Leveraging Healthy Competition

Some of the best athletes who have spent their careers neck-and-neck with each other have changed the standards in their respective sports. The notion of healthy competition applies to the business world more than it may seem on the surface.

Innovation has always been a key driver in free markets, which were intended to boost economies and provide customers with more choices. Just like the biggest sporting rivals that build on each others’ game, you can use your biggest competitors to hone your strategies.

How to Develop This Skill

Turn a competitive market landscape into an advantageous one by leveraging on long-established systems your business proposes an alternative to. Learn from the mistakes of predecessors once you discover their product or service loopholes.

For example, the Dollar Shave Club’s viral video[6] became a big hit because it hit the right buttons of consumers being tired of purchasing expensive but low quality shavers from incumbent retail giants. Going in second meant they could fill a gap competitors might not even have been aware of.

Apart from lifting off from what could have been your second-mover advantage, solidify your place with your business’ own first-mover advantage — whether you’re tapping into a new geographical region, unexplored market sector, or introducing a business model that proves more viable than others. There’s always room for improvement in business from mature markets to newly emerging ones.

6. Honing Pitches to Investors

Stand out in a broad mix of budding entrepreneurs by mastering the art and science behind a solid investor pitch that can determine the acceleration of growth for your business. Get comfortable talking about your ideas and receiving feedback or questions from peers, partners, and advisors before setting out to make a good impression on potential customers and eventually investors.

The phrase “If you can’t convince them, confuse them,” will certainly never get your business funded, especially in front of seasoned venture capitalists who have seen thousands of startup pitches. You should be able to deliver a quick elevator pitch that summarizes your unique proposition and its market viability for casual meet-ups[7] because you sometimes only have a few minutes to make a good impression and move on to another meeting.

How to Develop This Skill

Develop your investor pitch deck by highlighting your business’ strongest points, which will vary for every funding round. Create your deck with the investors’ interests in mind, balancing technical jargon and buzzwords.

You can also introduce your diverse team of experts, some proven traction, or the current state of the market to demonstrate profitability and the attractiveness of the opportunity to investors.

Ensure each slide flows into the other to develop a persuasive narrative, utilizing consistent and intelligent design principles to support your content.

7. Developing a Strong Brand Identity

In a world of saturated content and numerous emerging businesses that offer similar service lines, developing a unique brand identity will help you cut through the noise and stand out from your competition. From aesthetics to the body of clients you’re associated with, these contribute to how you’re perceived by prospects looking to buy.

Advertising

Evaluating your brand identity is linked to identifying your target customers, your business goals, a proposed promised land your solution achieves, and identifying values that are aligned to these components. Brand identity serves as a guide to maintaining consistency and creating an image you want your business to be associated with.

How to Develop This Skill

Efforts to strengthen your brand identity are closely tied to giving marketing strategies a direction. By knowing what makes your target customers tick, their values, ideals, and behavior, you will be able to elevate your business from simply being a service or product to be utilized into a projected brand customers and partners would be happy to identify with.

8. Automating to Your Advantage

The need for efficiency is often the general problem new businesses aim to resolve across all markets and industries. Assure that your proposed solution is more efficient than what’s readily available in the market to instill the need for it.

Efficiency is often achieved nowadays through digitalization and new technologies. While your product or service may not necessarily be the most innovative out there, you can apply the same automation concept across your business’ daily operations.

How to Develop This Skill

Shorten turnaround times and conversion rates by investing in small tools for automation where you deem fit. While it may come out of your pocket in the early stages, evaluate the holistic advantages and benefits of automating certain processes. At our office, we’ve tried using collaborative apps like Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Asana and a few other popular apps to reduce human error and friction.

9. Managing Millennials

Your team plays an integral part in whether your business will accelerate at breakneck speeds or be dragged down by dead weight. Hence, it is imperative to be selective and strategic when choosing your team.

In leaner small business teams, the addition of every new teammate can impact how your organization culture evolves.

Today, learning to manage millennials has become an increasingly sought after skill as well due to the increasing proportion of them in the workforce[8]. Some brand them as strawberries that are easily bruised and others loath their need for “meaning” and wearing t-shirts to work.

How to Develop This Skill

Naturally, there are many misconceptions surrounding millennials, and various businesses would do well to leverage their unique skills.

A couple of ways to manage a millennial team include:

Encourage a Flat Team Structure With Open Communication

Maintain clear professional lines between supervisors and subordinates but keep communication channels open to ensure no negativity festers.

Advertising

Offer Constructive Feedback

Baby boomers are well known for their straightforward approach to delivering feedback. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t always take feedback in a form that could be construed as deep criticism.

Being constructive with feedback ensures that we don’t coddle millennial workers but also tell them the things they need to hear.

10. Maintaining a Network of Connectivity

Instead of proposing a business that’s ambitiously and entirely disruptive to the supply or process chain in a respective industry, foster connections with other companies that cater to the same target customers as long as they provide a different service.

By creating partnerships, both you and other businesses thrive simultaneously through creative avenues for customers to utilize your products and services for a holistically improved user experience.

Sole market disruption isn’t always the best strategy to take. Not everybody has the opportunity, bandwidth, or financial capacity to dominate and monopolize a marketplace. See your potential for integration into other businesses and services as a good opportunity for co-collaborative marketing efforts with shared campaigns, split costs, and a strengthened customer database for everyone to tap into.

How to Develop This Skill

Regardless of the stage your business is in, never stop looking for ways to expand your network. Keep in contact with mentors you can look to for valuable industry advice that can help you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes. Strengthen brand awareness by attending cross-industry events and casual meet-ups to open your business to reinvention and innovation.

As the African proverb goes:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Collaborating will get you where you want to go quicker and gear you up for further growth.

More Tips on How to Succeed in Business

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next