It’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to a new one, but many businesses don’t have a formal program to retain their customers.
When you measure all the effort that goes into winning a new customer, all the money and management time you spend acquiring those new customers, compare that to the amount of time, money and effort you devote to keeping your existing customers.
If there is no formal program or incentive, or if you are not measuring your customer retention, the chances are that no one is focused on it. What’s measured is managed.
If you compare that to the pay TV industry, businesses like Sky have separate departments devoted to customer retention. They don’t call them that – it would be a bit too obvious – but if you want to negotiate your contract and reduce your fees, tell Sky you are thinking of leaving and you will probably end up talking to the disconnection team. They have the authority to offer you special deals to keep your business!
Giving an existing customer a special deal is a great way of hanging on to them, but the special deal doesn’t have to be money!
You might offer early access to a new product or service (that’s a great way of testing something new as well, by the way) or perhaps you’ll invite them to join your dedicated knowledge area, where they can learn more about your business.
If you can foster a sense of community among your customers, that will help. People love to belong to a club.
Probably the most important part of keeping customers is communication. If you don’t keep your customer informed, you are saying that you don’t care about them. If all you do is transact with them, they will never be a fan or an advocate for your business.
Whatever else you do, communicate!