Customer retention is defined as the percentage of customer relationships that, once established, a business is able to maintain on a long-term basis.
Your database is your most precious asset in this current sales economy, so managing it appropriately can exponentially increase sales and profits. We all must remember that your current clients are only as valuable as the quality of the relationship you have with them — quality judged by that client’s opinion of your relationship.
The old saying that your customers are always right (even if they’re wrong) still rings true.
Thank your customers for both positive and negative comments. Do all in your power to make them satisfied and happy, as your profits also improve considerably when customers stay on board for longer periods. The longer you keep customers, the more years over which these one-time costs can be spread.
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Beyond the basic strategy of retaining customers by providing superior product and service quality are eight strategies for retaining clients:
- Always follow-up on your commitments. Be consistent in your approach and communications. Treat your clients with respect, honesty, and humor. They will see you reliable, credible, and trustworthy.
- Connect with your customers. Ask questions and find out what you share in common with your clients. They will remember you and this encourages a deeper sense of mutual understanding.
- Solicit feedback, input and references. Figure out when to ask how they feel about working with you, if they have suggestions for improving the working relationship, or outcomes. Don’t wait too long to gather this data.
- Information and resource sharing. Do you know of a good book that your clients might benefit from reading? Tell them about it. This is an easy way to build satisfaction and loyalty.
- Express your enjoyment. It’s easy to get caught up in the deliverables. This is obviously important, however, clients also want to work with people who enjoy what they do. The more fun you can have while providing strong outcomes, the longer your clients will work with you.
- Commit to becoming a resource forever. You are building relationships and let your customers know you will be around after the project ends. There is comfort in letting them know they can come back whenever they need.
- Ask your clients to partner with you in a marketing effort – create a seminar or industry presentation. These provide more opportunities to spend time with your clients and connect on a personal basis.
- Invite your clients to a special seminar or industry conference as your guest.
We also forget that is also important to spend time with your competition. Educate yourself on what they are doing in this competitive market, as it is very difficult to stay ahead. Stay focused and challenge yourself by coming up with new ideas to develop strategies in these areas.