Too often I see commercials for my local telephone provider offering discounts if I sign up to use them over their competitor. What’s frustrating is when I sign up for that great deal, eventually it expires, and my rates start going up. Why do we not offer promos to existing clients, not because we are afraid of losing them, but to show them that we value their business? 

Great customer service has always been important. There is no doubt that you are more likely to visit a store with warm and friendly staff, and sometimes you may even be willing to pay a little bit more for that experience. 

But what happens when your business becomes a given? You are a regular, and you start to feel that the staff is not as outgoing as they once were because they know you’re coming back. 

How does a company ensure that every interaction, whether with a prospect or a long term client, remains as fresh as the first time? What can you do to make a difference? 

Take care of the regular customers you have, offer them promos for staying on-board, perhaps an anniversary discount, or even just to say thank you for their continued patronage. 

Never forget that your clients have options, and although it may be easier to stay with you, they may be willing to deal with the inconvenience of transition to feel appreciated.

I recently visited a highway-side diner with my family. It’s as close to our home as the local chain hamburger restaurant. I always pay more at the diner for my burger and fries, but why do I choose greater cost over a more economic option that comes with toys for the kids.

 

Besides a really great burger, what I’ve come to expect from this diner is customer service that is not only consistent, but consistently excellent. Whenever I go in there I feel welcomed, that they value my business and I’m willing to pay more for it. What surprises me is that besides the welcoming environment and the pleasant manner of the staff is that they always try to down-sell me. Suggesting alternatives to what I order to save me money, and leave us with less left-over food at the end of the meal.

 

The experience I have with this diner can easily be translated into any business model. Fantastic customer service turns into:

 

  • Repeat visits – We all know that new clients are great, but it’s much easier to keep the clients you have, versus going out there and getting new clients.
  • Word of Mouth Advertising – The value speaks for itself. Really, what better form of advertising is there?  When they down-sell me, I am quick to pass that information along to my friends, so at that moment, it may have cost them one order of fries, but they gained an order from a family of four.

 

Remember your client, try to go the extra length to save them money, go above their expectations, and leave them with the feeling that their business is valued.

 

When I think about customer service, I am reminded of this quote by Maya Angelou:

 

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,

but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

While doing research for a client in order to boost their client retention, I have really learned a few things. I thought it would make for a great blog post to help others as well as remind myself.

So we have all used customer relationship management software, whether in the sales process or in the win-back of lapsed clients, it is a fantastic tool to keep all pertinent data in one location. At the click of a mouse, you have the clients information in front of you which gives the customer that personal touch that we all love.

We have also seen customer loyalty programs in business. This may be a retail store offering a free item with the purchase of 3 other items. Or every 4th visit you get a free cup of coffee. While that is nice, it is not the real reason we are patronizing the store. If we didn’t like the product, giving it for free would not really be beneficial to us, would it?

Customer loyalty cannot be bought, it must be earned!

I have loyalty cards from the 8 major grocery chains in my area hanging from my keychain. Does it pay? To build loyalty, you must earn it. But how?

  • Customer communication – be sure to keep in communication with your client base. Send them small thank you’s, birthday cards and company newsletters.
  • Make sure you focus on the customer over your company, keep the focus on the customer’s needs and not your needs (customer centric)
  • Establish good ethics – be a company that the customer can really trust

Customer loyalty and retention is about relationships. If you build a solid foundation, your customer will not only remain but they may just refer new business to you.MA cropped2

Thanks to a wonderful live session with Michael Price at www.mlbroadcast.com, I am making my way slowly into the world of blogging. I am very excited to set up this space and share some of the valuable tips, tricks and business resources that I come across on a regular basis.