Keeping Customers: Tips for Entrepreneurs

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As an entrepreneur of a small company, I used to scramble for more ways to attract new customers. Now, in looking back, I realize it might have been more advantageous to work at keeping current customers coming back more frequently. Customer loyalty is tough to establish these days, and even with top-notch customer service, patrons may be drawn away by what they think is that next good deal. In the long run, focusing time on keeping customers can be more profitable than seeking new customers, and of course, may lead to more customers too.


Getting a customer to come in and buy from you one time is not as hard as keeping them coming back. Fast-talking, smooth customer service representatives may be able to move products with ease, but do they do it in an ethical and trustworthy manner that will have the customer not only leaving satisfied, but with a desire to return for more? It becomes about building relationships, and going above and beyond the call of duty when servicing your existing customers. Offer them free advice, even if it is not directly tied to your products. Show them that your concern is about their benefit, not just your profit. By giving them more value for their money, and showing them it is not just about pushing your services, but about fully servicing them, you can built a rapport with them that is not so common at most big chain stores.


In a recent Forbes article, Alex Lawrence discusses how to keep current customers. Lawrence provides statistics that reveal how 80% of your future revenue can come from just 20% of your existing customers, and also that it costs five times more to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. One of his other points targets social media, which we have discussed before, and how important it is these days to engage your customers frequently and personally through these various avenues (especially when it comes to responding to bad reviews). Making that personal connection through direct contact, personalized promotions, and promotions that reward repeat business are also discussed and can be very helpful methods in keeping your customers.


Giving things an occasional facelift can keep things fresh for the customer, motivating them to return often for newer content. While this can be applied heavily to a web presence, it can also be applied to in-store arrangement. Keeping things up to date and fresh can make each visit a bit more engaging for the customers. Mitchell York from agrees and says, “In a world of instant, always-on media, customers get bored easily… Find ways to freshen up how you deliver your services. Seasonal changes to decor (even website decor), a new way to answer the phone, a different tagline in an email -- anything to get their attention.”


It is also important that you avoid a cookie-cutter approach to customer service and sales. Not everyone will be completely satisfied by the same service arrangement. Offering options to fit the needs of different types of customers will go a long way for your company. Communicating more personally with your customers will give you a sense of what they want or need, so you can find ways to better cater to their needs, rather than act based on what you think the company needs. “There's no point listening to customers if you don't then give them what they want. One size does not fit all, particularly in a tough economy, and you have to be able to cater for most budgets,” says Alastair Knight, the managing director of GRITIT.


Make keeping your existing customers a high priority. Engage them, stimulate them, supply them, and invest in them. They in turn may just be a greater benefit for you in the long run, through referrals. Think of customer satisfaction as going beyond the current sale, and think long-term by reaching out to form relationships. Alex Lawrence’s closing remarks hit the nail on the head when he states, “When it’s all said and done, being passive about customer retention only leads to greater attrition. Companies that play an active part in communicating with customers to keep them engaged and better meet their needs and expectations, are well on their way to achieving the prime objective of any customer retention program; greater customer loyalty.”


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  • Jeff McCormack
    Jeff McCormack
    Thanks Patricia - glad it was helpful for you.
  • Patricia t
    Patricia t
    This article was very helpful. It gave great examples that are doable. I look forward to performing them and start customers to returning. Continued success.B

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