In the last installment of our ongoing discussion of The Seven Principles of Modern Marketing, we discussed the importance of retaining existing customers both for development of a strong reputation and for a healthy bottom line. When it is seven times more expensive to obtain a new customer than it is to retain an existing one, it’s clear that high customer retention makes for a healthy balance sheet.
One of the best ways to retain customers is by doing what we call “going old school.” Simply put, caring is more important than ever. Customers today have an abundance of choices, and when all other factors are equal, they’ll go where they receive truly outstanding service. But what makes customer service really memorable? How do you build long-term relationships that foster customer loyalty? It starts with your staff.
First and foremost, train your team to put the customer first. Create a customer-centric culture by consistently empowering your staff to go the extra mile for customers, and develop policies and procedures to back that up. Get employees in the habit of sending thank-you notes, emailing customers on their birthdays, and verbally thanking each and every customer to remind your patrons that they are valued parts of your business’ family.
Consider developing “win-back” strategies. For example, Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV retains 40% of his unsubscribers by having his staff reach out with a personal phone call to each of them. Not only is this an effective method of customer retention, it also enables you to find out why people are discontinuing their use of your product or service, which is useful information for any business.
We can’t go back to the days of having five attendants servicing every car that rolls through the gas station, but we can still offer that 1950s-era, smile-and-handshake, first-name-basis customer service that lets people know they’re more than a number. They’re valued individuals. They’re your customers. And treating them as such is exactly how you keep them.
What type of “win-back” strategies do you use? Share your ideas here! We always want to hear from you.