October 21, 2015

Customer Retention – 5 Tips on How to Keep Your Customers

by Erin Johnson

There is an old saying, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.” Although these are lyrics to an old campfire song, it actually has a lot of merit, especially when it comes to your business.

Gaining a new customer is always exciting, but oftentimes it’s what happens after the initial sale that will define your business in the future. Think of all the effort that goes into converting a prospect into a customer. Are you putting that same amount of energy into making sure they remain a customer? It’s no secret that it takes a lot more time and resources to get a new customer than keep an old one, so here are my five tips on how to improve customer retention.

  1. Walk in your customers’ shoes.
Don’t just make a sales call to pitch your latest product or offering. Ask to tag along for consultations and installations to better understand the challenges and opportunities faced on the front line each day. The better you understand your customer and their pain points, the better you can help meet their needs.
 
  1. Make your customers’ jobs easier or better in some way.
Let’s face it, everyone is busy. It’s the way of the business world. If your products or services can save your customers time, make or save them money or reduce headaches, you are building the foundation to nurture a lifelong customer. Don’t ever underestimate the power of simply making someone’s life easier.
 
  1. Don’t meet expectations. Exceed them.
If you aren’t doing everything you can to provide the best possible service to customers, someone else will. That isn’t meant to scare you; it really just is a matter of fact. There will always be someone waiting in the wings to steal your market share. Your job is to stay ahead of them and to build long-lasting relationships.
 
  1. Take advantage of value-adds.
Every company or business has something that no one else is offering. Whether it is marketing support, a customer loyalty program or something as simple as a discount, don’t be afraid to play these things up in the field. Your goal is to differentiate yourself from the competition and value-adds are a great way of doing so.
 
  1. Be a partner, not a vendor.
Sometimes I see these terms used interchangeably, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A vendor provides an output; a partner provides insights and solutions that help meet business objectives. There are multiple vendors out there that can more than likely provide the same output as you, but when you offer a true partnership to a customer and insert yourself into their business, you develop a long-lasting relationship.

Increasing repeat business and improving profitability should be high on everyone’s priority list. When you incorporate the tips I outlined above, you anticipate not only your direct customers’ needs, but also understand what their customers want as well. The best part about customer retention is these are all things we already know. Nothing I mentioned is revolutionary, but they are the best practices that can be the difference between keeping and losing a customer.

Questions or comments? Email me directly at erin.johnson@quanex.com.

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: October 21, 2015 by Erin Johnson Filed under: