How to keep your clients for life…
This week we are getting back into our 6 pillars of business series. In previous weeks, we’ve covered Operations, Finance, Marketing and Sales. This week lets discuss how to build customer loyalty. Once you’ve closed the sale, it’s about keeping the clients coming back. How do you make them advocates and raving fans, and keep them for life?
This is a timely message because business conditions continue to be difficult for many industries, especially in the State of Victoria. So, it’s more important than ever to keep your existing customers.
Customer loyalty exists when people will not leave you just because something is cheaper or fancier or newer elsewhere. They have a strong relationship with you, so they trust you and don’t need to search for alternatives.
You should be building customer loyalty because it’s far cheaper to keep a customer than it is to find a new one.
So how do you keep a client for life?
You need to keep being relevant and valuable. You go that extra mile; you need to do whatever you can to make your service one they can’t live without.
So, what are five things you can do for your customers that are critical for them to be delighted, but aren’t necessarily essential? What will delight your customer and set you apart from your competitors?
Below are five random and surprising examples of what you can do to delight your clients. The key is the surprise element.
If it’s not surprising, it will become an essential and lose its impact. If your client expects something it won’t wow them nearly as much – and likely won’t stand out as much.
So, here’s five ideas you can implement to surprise your customers.
- Give them a hand-written thank you card acknowledging them for their custom and achievement.
- Buy them movie tickets or tickets to other entertainment. Don’t be cheap – give them something valuable they will treasure.
- Give them a free product or service upgrade or a voucher for a related business.
- Take them out for a coffee, or lunch or dinner.
- Send them a gift on their birthday (not a voucher for your business – this is not an opportunity to get another sale, it’s an opportunity to wow your customer).
Don’t think of these as a cost, think of them as an investment in the long-term success of your business.
And once you have this system and culture in place, don’t think that you need to stop at five – keep going!
Keep coming up with new and inventive ways to delight your current and future customers.
Let’s have a look at how it works. As an exercise, let’s say you own and manage a gym. Your system for delighting your customers might go something like this:
- When they sign up with you, you send a hand-written thank you note and a free extra month on their membership.
- You send them a voucher for a sports store on their birthday (you know the date because it’s on the membership form).
- After they’ve been with you for one year you send them a couple of gold class movie tickets to congratulate them on their commitment to their health and fitness.
- On their birthday in their second year of membership you give them a free membership upgrade.
- At the completion of their second year of membership you invite them and a friend into the gym for a free personal training session with you.
How does that sound? Would you ever lose a customer? It will be far less likely. Will they talk about your gym at a dinner party on Friday night, and tell all their friends they should sign up? You bet they would.
It is essential to build systems in your business to manage your customer interactions.
It’s also essential to have a staff member accountable for this who will ensure you have customers coming back time and time again.
If you don’t have somebody in place to lead and manage this process it will only happen when people get around to it, and that’s not good enough.
Caring about your clients is non-negotiable.
Do whatever it takes to wow them and show them that you care.
Play the game as if you are a global leader and eventually you will be.
Your customers will always expect you to get better over time, so don’t let them down.
Whatever you did last year, do more this year.
Do it bigger and better. Delight them.
Holding your customers for life is a key component of your business because it’s always going to cost far less to keep a customer than it is to find a new one.
Next week we speak about teams, and how to grow a reliable, trustworthy team who will stay with you for the long term!
Power to you!
CEO, Business Benchmark Group
Looking for a business coach? Find out more about the Board of Directors 12 Business Coaching Program.
Stefan Kazakis on 5 May 2018
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