Customer service is the provision of professional and quality service to customers before, during and after a purchase. An excellent customer service experience creates customer happiness which translates to customer retention. While customer acquisition is important to a business, research has shown that customer retention is even more important and cheaper because it costs companies seven times less to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. Customer retention may be challenging in the face of tough competition but is essential because repeat business guarantees higher sales volumes and corresponding profits. The fundamental rule is ensuring the customer is happy because a happy customer is more likely to initiate a repeat business and could even refer other customers. Highlighted below are 4 main principles for retaining customers;
1. Maintain customer service delivery standards
Maintaining customer service standards helps customers know what to expect from the business as well as ensures the company abides by its service promise. Experts suggest keeping a customer service creed, this could be a list of key points, guidelines or expectations on how service should be rendered to customers. These guidelines which are expected to resonate with the organization’s vision and mission should be frequently communicated and monitored. It could be framed and put up on the wall in your office or website so that all can see and can be constantly reminded of its importance.
2. Aim to satisfy your customers always
If your customer is not satisfied then there is no guarantee that he would come back. Customer satisfaction is ultimate, after all, he is the reason you’re in business. So, do all you can to ensure that your customers’ needs are met. You might wonder how to tell if a customer is satisfied with a particular service, well, simply ask your customers. Conduct a survey from time to time so as to ensure you’re not just working amiss. Large companies have a more structured way of gathering such information but if your business is not so large then a verbal survey would do.
3. Exceed customers’ expectations
This principle applies to businesses that desire to give something extra, and by so doing get their customers to choose their product/service over their competitors’. Your customers should always perceive that they are getting more value for their money at all times, so think of that incremental service you can offer that would distinguish your business from others. While you’re at it, remember that it is better to under-promise and over-deliver than vice versa.
4. Maintain an excellent relationship with your customers
People are only interested in people who are interested in them. Everyone wants to feel special and important, so try all you can to make that happen for your customers. Turn around all the information you have gathered about your customers and put them to good use. Information such as birthdays, anniversaries, purchase pattern, purchase volume etc. can be mined and used to appreciate customers in several ways. You need to show your customers that you are not just interested in their money but in their person. Furthermore, gratitude for their continued loyalty through frequent discounts can help take your client relationship to another level.
These principles can be applied to any business whether operating from the boot of a car or a skyscraper. It is also important to note that having a great product or service alone is not sufficient to retain customers because customers may eventually go away if there are no proper retention strategies in place.
Beard R. (2014) 9 Customer Retention Strategies For Companies http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/customer-retention-strategies/
Forbes (2013) Five Tips For Retaining Customers https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2013/08/23/five-tips-for-retaining-customers/#48421f7694ad
Galetto, M (2018). What Is Customer Retention? https://www.ngdata.com/what-is-customer-retention/ .
Kulbyte T. (2018) https://www.superoffice.com/blog/customer-retention-tips-with-crm-software/ 5 Unique Ways to Increase Customer Retention