Customers are the backbone of your business. If you don’t have them, you don’t have a business. They generate revenue, they promote your business for you, and they keep you busy – when they’re happy.

A happy customer tells one person, and an unhappy customer tells ten.

You don’t want the latter. Unhappy customers are easy to avoid if you think big but act small, and it’s easy to forget sometimes, but customers are just real people.

Think about what makes you happy and how you like to be treated as a customer and apply the same rules in reverse. It’s a simple equation: put people first focus on them and only them and your success is a by-product because you’ve in directly built a customer retention strategy.

How? Start with the basics…

What is customer retention?

Customer retention refers to the ability of a company to retain its customers over a specified period.

High customer retention means customers of the product or business tend to return to, continue to buy from, or in some other way not defect to another product or business. Basically, it’s the ability to keep your buying customers and clients coming back to you – and not someone else.

Why is customer retention important?

Customers and clients are your blood line, your oxygen, your income, and without them, you don’t have a business.

Happy customers talk about your business to other potential customers, and happy customers are more inclined to increase their spend with you, again and again. Unhappy people shop elsewhere, unhappy clients take their business elsewhere, and you don’t want that either.

Customer retention is arguably the essential ingredient in business success, so make people – your priority.

How do I keep my customers happy?

Customers, clients, members, whatever you call them, they are the backbone of your business, and you need to keep them happy.

You might have the world’s shiniest, biggest, coolest, fanciest product or service, but if your clients and customers have to complain about it, ask you to fix problems, or come to you with issues – your shiniest, biggest, coolest, fanciest product or service isn’t worth the money you’re charging. Keep your customers happy by:

  • Authentically valuing them. Remember their birthdays, ask about their family, give them time when they ask for it and build a personal rapport with them.
  • Treating them like VIPs. Your customers are your business, so look after them. Send them shopping discounts if they shop through your online store, give them an annual reward or benefit, the occasional bonus service free of charge, and thank them for their business.
  • Personalise the relationship. Don’t contact your clients about something important with a group email, and don’t treat your weekly generic newsletters as ‘contact hours’. People need contact and they need personalisation, so give it to them.Address them over email with their name (and yours) and make your work number available if they prefer to call you instead of email. Every client is different; make the experience of working with you – personal for them.
  • Make time for them. It sounds super simple, but set aside time for your clients and customers. A quarterly catch up at a coffee shop, an invite into the office, a bi-monthly phone call ‘just to check in’, an annual complimentary strategy session… Give them the gift of your time.Not a lot of people have ‘time’ these days, but giving it to your clients is a sure-fire way to improve customer retention and build a reputable business.

Author Tobi Skovron

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