Keeping Old Customers is Easier than Finding New Ones
A Lesson In Business from the Gym
In many industries, the sales process is the ‘be all and end all’ – none more so than the fitness industry.
I personally experienced a superb ‘future client’ process and joined a gym, then never heard a peep from anyone during the whole of my yearly membership. When I decided that I wanted to try out another gym in the area, I went to cancel my membership.
Low and behold, I was suddenly their number one priority – but it was too little, too late for me. And I am happy to say that the new gym I've joined is definitely better (just in case my personal trainer is reading this and decides to rev up my next session).
The one thing that most business owners forget is that after you’ve closed the sale, it’s about keeping the new client - for life. Help them become advocates. Customer loyalty is when people will not leave you just because something is cheaper or fancier or newer elsewhere – they truly belong to you.
It’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new one. So, now are you now interested in learning how to keep your clients? Of course you are!
Think about how many clients would you have now if you’d never lost a single one. So here’s how to create a loyal following, more importantly how to remain relevant, valuable and promote advocacy.
Servant to your current and future clients
Do you aim to satisfy your customers? Is this the key to your customer service approach? Is this the culture you are creating in your business?
If you answered yes to these questions you might think you have your customer service approach all sorted. I’m sorry to tell you that you don’t. Just satisfying your customers is no longer enough. That is an old-fashioned approach that says you give your customers exactly what they want, and no more.
Each client presents you with two great opportunities: the opportunity to turn them into life-long customers and the opportunity to have them bring more customers to you because they were so impressed with your service. Just satisfying them means you met the minimum standard they expected – that’s hardly going to get them excited about coming back to you next time, or calling their friends and telling them about how awesome your business is. It’s going to have them looking elsewhere to see if a business other than yours can do more than just meet their minimum requirements. For sustainable long-term growth you cannot be satisfied with satisfaction.
So, if this approach is not going to cut it, what should you be aiming for? You need to delight your customers. You need to surprise them, to exceed their expectations, to meet their every need – and then do more!
We all know business is a competitive game. If one of your competitors is out there delighting their customers while you’re just satisfying them, before too long you’ll be sitting in an empty office wondering where all of your clients went. Your business must have a customer delight culture.
As you shape your business for the long term, it’s critical that you stay humble and grounded and that you respect the clients who are giving you the opportunity to serve them. You must aim to develop relationships of mutual benefit. They have chosen your business and given you their money based on what you have promised to deliver to them, so meeting these expectations must be the basis of your relationships with your customers.
But, this won’t necessarily keep them coming back. You keep them coming back by going above and beyond what you promised to deliver, by doing something unexpected that is of value to them. The cut of your business must include shaping it so that you never lose clients. Show them that you care and always do the right thing by them. This is vital to sustainable long-term growth because attracting customers to your business is expensive and time-consuming; once you’ve done that hard work, it’s much more profitable to keep these people in your stable rather than let them leave and then have to find new customers who want to buy from you. Repeat customers and referrals provide a much higher ROI for your business.
It’s not hard to figure out if you are good at this or not. Clients who have already handed their money over to you and experienced your products and service are a barometer for your customer service systems. If they keep coming back you are clearly on the right track. If they buy from you once and you never see them again, clearly this side of your business needs work.
People want to – and sometimes are desperate to – find a supplier who they can build a relationship with. A good supplier is worth their weight in gold. You are the bridge that takes them from A to B. In your customers’ eyes you need to be the number 1 option. In fact, you need to be the only option.
For the many clients that we serve customer loyalty is the cornerstone of our ethos to long term success.
Just how are you providing the 'wow factor?
Are clients bouncing off you as if you're Teflon coated? What steps can you take to improve customer experience?
Stefan Kazakis on 27 May 2017
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