How to keep the customers you already have

By Dirk Coetsee

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Customer retention should be a top priority in every company.

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Sam Walton

Acquiring new customers can be exciting and even exhilarating as you see ‘the needle move’ in the positive direction of increased turnover and profits. Plus there is the added nuance of new relationships being built that adds the ‘spice’ of enjoyment to the experience.

But staff turnover, loss of focus, diminishing quality of your product or service and other challenges may erode the customer experience over time, resulting in customer attrition

Losing customers means losing money. More importantly your brand becomes less impactful in society. A well planned and executed customer retention strategy should be at the core of your business model. Only having a great product is not enough in modern times – it has to be underpinned by a customer-centric focus if you want sustainable success.

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Here are three critical factors to keep in mind for your keeping your customers:

Embrace change

Demonstrate to your customer base that you are an innovative and cutting edge brand that evolves with the times. Constantly stay abreast of industry changes and developments and adapt in a creative way. It will excite customers to see that you are constantly refining your offering and coming up with innovative new products and services that add value to their lives. If you get stuck in your old ways you are likely to lose existing customers to more customer-centric and innovative companies.

Communicate

Pro-actively engage your customers using multiple platforms and methods of inspirational communication. Platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn can be used to regularly communicate your vision, purpose and your brand story that resonates with customers.

Newsletters should have content that is informative for clients. Well-researched surveys can be invaluable for identifying problem areas where you client service or products needs improvement.

Ensure that all team members are well trained on customer engagement and handling conflict in a positive way. Empathetic listening is a core people skill that can be developed and trained on.

Continuous improvement in service and support

Have a strong focus on ‘Kaizen’ (continuous improvement) on all aspects of customer service and support. Constantly review your customer retention strategy and involve your team to creatively improve every customer engagement.

Pay attention to how phone calls, e-mails and responses on online platforms are handled. Especially all customer facing team members should be highly trained, skilled communicators and problem solvers. These skills should be constantly refined and reviewed.

Actively measure your customer retention/attrition as a key performance metric. For example, if you have a total of one hundred customers and this month you have lost ten, then your attrition rate was 10% for this month. Focus on driving customer attrition down.


Dirk Coetsee is a business leadership coach for start-ups and established entrepreneurs. He is also a qualified Master Life coach and assists individuals to get “unstuck” in their lives and careers. You can contact him at: dirkcoetsee3@gmail.com.


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