“Retaining customers is the ultimate goal for any business,” says Yotpo. “Whether online or offline, ensuring that customers are satisfied is critical for long-term success.”
But while it’s true that managing your customer retention rate plays a vital role in growing a sustainable business, it’s also true that there are hundreds of thousands of other companies out there that are targeting the same customers that you are.
According to Help Scout, “To stay relevant and keep your faithful customers happy, you have to know how to optimize your customer retention strategies.” Here are 3 powerful no-cost hacks that will take your consumer relationships to a whole new level:
1. Start Thinking of Your Customers as “Clients” – Wait. What? Aren’t customers and clients the same thing?
Not according to Chron, who clarifies that customers can either be one-time or repeat patrons, but they typically lack loyalty to the company providing the products or services. Establishments such as retail stores, restaurants, service stations, supermarkets, and amusement parks generally refer to their patrons as customers, whose needs are met by fixed-form goods and services priced to sell.
Unlike customers, though, closer relationships are built with clients over time. Organizations such as law firms, graphic design companies, accounting firms, and health care providers offer ongoing advice and specialized solutions to clients.
We like the way Josh Linkner puts it:
“Customer’ relationship implies a short-term, non-professional, transactional relationship. Buy gas or a burger on an out of town road trip, and you’ll probably never do business with those establishments again. Here, it is only about maximizing near-term gain for the merchant, often at the expense of the customer. In contrast, think about a financial advisor who has served a client family for generations. Here, the advisor cares about the long-term and serves as the client’s advocate. It is more about trust, service and care than making a quick buck.”
When a retailer start’s to view itself as a product “agent” for each customer, suggests Chron, long-term relationships will flourish. “Even if you’re traditionally a transactional business such as a dry cleaner or auto repair shop,” says Josh Linkner, “shifting your mindset from customer to client will yield a positive result. Change the language, and the results will follow.”
2. Don’t Make Excuses, Deliver Results – Running a business can get complicated. Economic turmoil can make your industry more competitive, increasing the pressure to up your game, innovate, and find ways to cut costs all at the same time. You also have to rely on suppliers and other people or services in order to deliver for your clients.
With so many outside forces impacting your work, it’s easy enough to toss your hands in the air when something goes wrong and explain to your clients that it’s not your fault that a shipment didn’t arrive on time or a service wasn’t completed by the promised date.
Making excuses puts you in a weak position, suggesting that you don’t that the capability or the means to deliver on your promises. Besides, your clients have their own problems to deal with without absorbing yours, too. “Don’t make your issues your client’s issues,” says Josh Linkner. “Instead, take personal responsibility for delivering excellence even if things get messy behind the scenes.”
“The true mark of a professional is delivering no matter what. They build in contingency into their model, and do whatever it takes to keep commitments.”
Source: Josh Linkner
3. Put In 5% More Effort If You Want 95% More Results – According to Inc, “…satisfaction is the bare minimum of what a customer should get in their experience.” Unfortunately, “the bare minimum” is exactly what many companies are offering these days.
Needless to say, that kind of service won’t win your company long-term customers. And those are the ones you want. In fact, According to Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by a mere 5% can increase profits by as much as 95%.
That 5% can be something as simple as a personal handwritten note (okay, so this might cost you a few cents…but it will more than pay for itself several times over in the long run) or an exclusive coupon.
When you commit to providing just 5% more effort with every customer touch point, you’ll transform clients into raving fans. Not only will they do more business with you (long-term) but they’ll reciprocate your thoughtfulness by telling all their friends and family about your brand.
In today’s competitive retail landscape, there’s no room for businesses that are just out to make a quick buck or provide bare-minimum-service. In fact, by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
This means that to stand out from the competition and experience long-term growth and profitability, your business needs to start transforming customers into clients today using the powerful, no-cost hacks above!