Customer Retention: Who's Got The Goods?

Obtaining new business is an important part of building and sustaining a business, but retaining customers is just as important, if not moreso. Many companies are guilty of spending lots of time and effort on getting those new customers in the door, but they often forget to maintain, thank, and take care of the customers that enable them to stay in business.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the basic things that keep our customers happy. Here’s a refresher:

  1. Build the relationship and make it personal: Take the time to really get to know your customers. Target your most loyal customers and send them specials or updates pertaining to the items/services they use most. It’s pretty likely they will share their story with a friend or colleague who will appreciate the effort to customize their experience. Suddenly one wildly loyal fan turns into two.
  2. Stay in touch: Don’t get too comfortable with your customers; you never know who’s lurking in the shadows seeking their business. Always make it a point to reach out, by phone if possible, to make sure all is well, learn more about their business, and find more ways to provide value for their investment with your company.
  3. Putting out the fires: It’s inevitable - problems will arise. It’s how quickly, sincerely, and effectively you solve the problem that will show your customer how truly committed you are. Taking quick, decisive and caring action will solidify your relationship.

Here’s a real-world example I have experienced. In most “big box” fitness centers you are simply a number. No one knows your name and you get the distinct feeling they also just don’t care to know you; that really irritates me. Even more irritating, whenever there’s an issue, you are redirected to the allusive corporate office line, which no one ever seems to answer.

So I finally left the corporate facility and joined a family owned place, in which every single employee already knows my name. Every time I walk in I am greeted by name, I am also given a farewell by all employees at the desk. The other day a new trainer appeared and because we hadn’t yet met, he went out of his way to extend a greeting and ask for my name. As I left that day the associate (from the back of the gym) yelled up at me, by name, to have a great day. Now you may be thinking that it’s not too hard to remember a few member names, but these people greet everyone by name, all the time.

They have the goods…

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