[This article was written by Dawn Castell.]
Any business is only as strong as its customer base. You may spend all the money and time you have finding new ways to attract customers, but it’s being able to keep them that solidifies a business. After you’ve done all the hard work building up a company, providing the best product available, and attracting hordes of new customers, you have to shift your attention to keeping those customers. To excel at customer retention, only three things really matter: Making the customer happy, keeping the customer happy, and promising them more happiness in the future.
Make the Customer Happy
Studies show that up to 60% of customers who download a new app or try out a new service will never come back. That’s how important a first impression is. Your customer’s first encounter with your business needs to be an overwhelmingly positive one or you have no hope of keeping them. The most important way of doing this is by reevaluating your onboarding process. How many times have you purchased or downloaded a new product and been left to figure it out on your own? Clear and helpful instructions to walk customers through every aspect of your service is the single most important thing you can do to help your customer feel like they are in control. You don’t necessarily have to “wow” them from the get-go, but making your product feel natural and comfortable for them will absolutely convince them not to stray.
Keep the Customer Happy
Once your customer is fully integrated and already a pro, you have to keep them engaged and interested. And there’s nothing more frustrating than a product that isn’t working. This is where customer service comes in. More than almost any other aspect of a business, customers make their decisions to stay or leave based on their experiences with customer service. Making yourself almost ridiculously easy to get ahold of will put you ahead of the pack. Many successful companies, like Nu Skin, have a widget on every page of their website where a customer can easily access FAQ’S, contact numbers, or even live chats. Nothing turns a person off like wasting their time, and if customer service isn’t easy to access and, of course, wonderfully helpful, then they are likely to throw in the towel.
Promise the Customer More Happiness
If you’ve impressed your customer with a great product that’s easy to use and even easier to get help using, it’s time to up your game. People, in general, don’t like to get complacent. There’s always something bigger and better around the corner. Your loyal customers who don’t need a lot of attention are exactly the ones you want to keep. Reward your most profitable customers with deals or gifts. Always improve your product and take input from that loyal base. But never feel comfortable shifting attention from established customers. Run promotions, reward loyalty, and make sure that those customers have absolutely no reason to start looking elsewhere.
Your product or service should exist to make a customer’s life easier. Make sure that they love the product from the beginning, that you constantly help them to master the skills the need, and to reward their patronage. A customer who feels cared about and cared for is a customer for life.
Dawn is a budding entrepreneur. After graduating with her MBA, she spent a few years working in the CPG industry and a few more working in the business tech industry before she set off to start her own business. She has been consulting with businesses, large and small, on the side ever since.