Bad economies make companies truly focus on good customer service and the importance of customer retention. And when businesses try to retain more customers, they often fall prey to the desire to create a new benefit, institute a new loyalty program, or launch a new customer retention effort which is – in reality – just marketing gone bad.
So instead of suggesting you create some costly initiative, let’s start with creating a common understanding of the knowledge you need to have to best keep your customers:
- Know why they would leave, and address it. This means, what do they expect from the experience? From the quality of the product or service? From your level of customer service?
- Know who you want to keep most – and why (typically because of profitability or longer-term impact) – and target more of your efforts on these customers. No company has infinite resources with which to use the most personalized and labor/cost-intensive methods of keeping customers. So you have to know with whom you make the personal visit (high cost touch), and with whom you send the personalized e-mail (low cost touch).
- Know who’s most at-risk of leaving, and create strategies to keep them. Target, target, target. Don’t spend the same time and energy and money keeping everyone, if you know a certain percentage of customers are almost certainly going to stay with you. And how will you know? Simply ask them, and also look at historical data to identify common characteristics of former customers.
- Know how to become vital to their day-to-day lives or success. If they can’t efficiently get their job done without your software or research, if they can’t get their need met well without your product, if you are the supplier of something that’s imperative to their daily personal or professional lives, you have significant leverage in retention.
- Know how to make it easy to become your customer…and more difficult to leave. Is the customer’s signup with your organization a piece of cake? Can a first time customer navigate your organization and your processes/policies as easy as a long-term customer? If so, you’re golden. On the back end of the relationship, you don’t want to make it impossible to leave (then you’re dealing with ethical concerns), but if the customer needs to replace what you provide, and that effort or time (in addition to the effort and time and cost of going to your competitor) are high, they may not make the move.
Know what you need to know to keep your customers.
Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/
Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/
Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/