A customer should not only be be treated as a valuable asset, but one with significant growth opportunity.
I’m not saying a customer isn’t a human, that it should be treated like an object, but the analogy is to underscore the importance of your customers.
A smart business knows to do their darndest to retain their current customers. Research shows that the costs are considerably more to convert prospects into new customers than it does to cater to established clientele. It just makes sense; they’ve already chosen to do business with your company, so there’s no selling them on making a purchase.
Bringing in customers, however, requires a hefty percentage of the marketing budget to target, attract, nurture and court new prospects. Conversely, it costs just a fraction of that amount to maintain and resell to your the current client base.
Established customers play a significant role in company success for various reasons. One is the fact that the longer they patronize a specific business, the more involved they tend to get. When they know that a certain company is trustworthy and reliable to stand by its ads and prices, customers will keep coming back, often bringing other potential clients (in the form of friends, relatives, and associates) along with them.
Furthermore, steady customers often spread the word about a favorite company even to people they don't know that well. Cashiers, checkout clerks, medical office staff, and others may get to hear what enthusiastic customers have to say about a company.
In contrast, the percentage of sales leads that convert to paying customers typically fluctuates. It is difficult to know in advance how many new customers will do business with the company, and if so, whether or when they will return.
Companies who want to attract and keep major clients need to commit to developing and demonstrating expertise within their industry. Publishing articles in trade journals, winning awards at trade shows, and getting noticed in the community are surefire ways to build customer interest and support.
As this evolves, it is also important to keep the customer in the loop. This can be done by publishing an electronic or print newsletter, keeping websites updated, or mailing fliers periodically. Customers are often thrilled when the company they patronize is lauded in the news or within its industry. Promoting special characteristics of this type can be done when handing out swag gifts at business meetings or community events like the county fair.
Customers need to know what to expect, especially if they have been doing business with your company for some time. It's important not to make dramatic changes or move to a new location without informing customers. Many feel like part of a company's professional family. They expect to be informed of major changes or events, which builds trust over time. The goal should be to always deliver more than your promise.
Today there are some wonderful applications that can monitor customer relations and flag problems or post reminders about upcoming events. Installing a simple program can simplify how a company keeps track of customers and provides helpful information. Technology is available to facilitate customer service training, monitoring, and follow-up.
A web application or software program is often significantly cheaper than hiring a department of customer service experts. The app can interact with customers to help answer their questions and solve problems. Available around the clock, twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, a customer service app can reduce office costs while better addressing customer needs. Many consumers appreciate the time-saving benefit of working with technology online.
Companies that care about their customers and want to be successful should implement a training program that equips employees to use application that facilitates customer relations. The trainings should also consider several aspects of the total customer experience, beginning with the company greeting and ending with a problem's resolution.
Customer service staff should ask for and listen to feedback from established customers. Why do they stay? What might cause them to leave? How can the company do an even better job of meeting customer needs?
To obtain this information, a survey can be distributed to a mailing list or offered through a receipt code to access a website. Usually an incentive is offered, such as a discount on a future transaction. Customer comments are sometimes posted on the company website or published in its newsletter or discussion forum. Some companies may organize focus groups to meet with groups of customers to discuss their likes and dislikes about the business. Telephone interviews and questionnaires or surveys are sometimes handed out to customers from the company location. When feasible, let customers know how their information will be used to improve customer service.
A prompt response to customer feedback, whether solicited or offered spontaneously, is a smart way to take advantage of helpful information that may impact company operations. Immediate changes to office protocols, product features, or sales techniques might ensure that regular customers continue to patronize a business, and also tell others about their positive experience. They might even feel more invested in the company by having their feedback taken seriously and acted on.
Customer retention strategies don't have to be expensive or time-consuming. They just need to focus on customer concerns that empower customers to have a say in how they are treated or the products and services that they buy. When consumers feel that their opinion matters and that the company they do business with cares about them, they are far more likely to remain committed to the company, and to encourage others to do the same.
More businesses are taking an active interest in training employees to show more attention to repeat customers. In addition to offering pleasant greetings, employees are urged to initiate casual conversation and subtly upsell certain products. Customers are smart enough to realize what is happening, but most don't mind. In fact, they like being courted by their favorite companies and enjoy the friendly interactions. When a problem occurs, they want to be able to trust the business for a quick and fair resolution.
It doesn't take a convoluted strategy to keep customers coming back for more; it just takes empathy, insight, and care to encourage customers to say what they think to get what they want.
A minimal investment of time, money, and training will go a long way to prepare employees to work effectively with the public. As employees begin to take customer service seriously, your company will benefit from the added effort.
The best way to see how Salesforce is revolutionizing customer service is with a guided tour of Service Cloud. With the guided tour, we can show you how Service Cloud shines in several common use cases and scenarios.
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