Customer Retention: Top tips on keeping hold of clients
You might be in the fortunate position where you are successful in getting new clients, but what about keeping hold of them? In a competitive market, there are plenty of opportunities for other businesses to poach your clients so how can you successfully drive customer retention?
Here are some top tips of things to do as well as things to avoid when you are looking to keep hold of your clients.
A customer-centric philosophy
Your customers are at the heart of your business, after all, where would you be without them? It is important to keep in touch with your customers and be proactive in asking for feedback.
You might want to send out a questionnaire asking for thoughts and ideas, making customers feel that their view matters. It is important to then listen to what your customers have to say and what they want. You may not be able to meet all their demands but giving the customers a service or product that best meets their needs is an easy way of keeping hold of their business.
Customer service is key
Providing great customer service is one of the biggest drivers of customer retention. Make your customers feel that they are important and that you will do your best to help them. If you receive complaints, make sure that you handle them sensitively and with a satisfactory outcome for your customer, going that little step further if you can!
Disappointing customer service could drive your clients to switch to a competitor. 68% of customers leave because they are not satisfied with the service that they receive. So, ensure that providing outstanding customer service remains high up on your list of priorities, helping to make your clients valued and respected.
Set realistic expectations
Be sure to manage the expectations of your client, so be clear about what is included so they know what to expect from the product or service that you provide. Left to their own devices, customers can set their own expectations.
Avoid over-promising as there is then a risk that you won’t be able to deliver. Keep expectations realistic and then you can aim to exceed them which can only be positive in the eyes of your client!
Loyalty schemes have been around for many years now, with simple schemes eg. Your 8th cup of coffee for free, to more complicated schemes such as Tesco Clubcard. Loyalty schemes not only help your customers to feel that they are getting a little bit of added value (and who doesn’t love something for nothing?), but can also allow you to collect a little more information about your customers and their behaviours which you can use to drive improvements in your business.
So, for example if you are a dog walker then you could offer a half price walk after 10 walks. A personal trainer could offer a free water bottle when booking a block of 10 sessions. In return, you can identify what products or services they are buying, what motivates them and look to use this information to make developments in your business.
Customers will be impressed if you can spot a problem or a need before they do and provide a solution to it. So, for example if you are a therapist treating a client for a recurring problem with their knee which means that they are struggling to get about, you might suggest relocating them to a more accessible treatment room for the rest of their treatment programme.
The same applies to improvements made for all clients within your business. If you are a personal trainer, don’t wait for your clients to tell you that they would like a nutrition programme to further drive their fitness and weight loss. Develop personalised plans to complement your clients training programmes before they ask you for one.
So, if you are looking to improve your customer retention, keep customers at the heart of your business. For every £1 you spend keeping a customer you have to spend £5 to £7 replacing them with a new customer. So, value the customers you already have!