We are truly living in a new age of service and expectation. Traffic is generally down at all physical locations and one person has the power to significantly influence your organization while you have no power to stop it from happening. We’ve seen many examples of how one person posts a comment or photo and then it gains traction with over a million likes, comments, or shares online. Businesses quickly try to scramble to save face by changing policies or firing the people involved.  At the same time, organizations are spending more and more just to get an opportunity with a new customer. Retail costs for a new customer avg from $10-$40, financial institutes will spend over $175 per person and phone companies will spend over $300 for a new account. With that much investment, it’s more important than ever to keep the ones that you have.

Focus on retention

A recent study showed that 44% of companies put more emphasis on acquisition and only 18% put more on retention. That means 38% aren’t really focused on either! It’s fine to focus on new customers; in fact, you should in order to grow. If you solely focus on acquisition, you may lose 5 for every 1 that you gain. Not only is this a very poor business model, it is also a self-fulfilling prophecy to your own demise. On average it costs 5 times more to get a new person than it is to keep the ones that you have. Don’t focus so much on catching the one fish that you don’t notice all the fish that you caught are leaving through the hole in the boat.  Here are some good ways to focus on retention:

  • Reward them for their loyalty: Everyone does rewards cards these days. Offer them something of value more than just a discount every now and again.
  • Listen to them: Truly take in their feedback and then act on it.
  • Love them like family.
  • Show them you are socially responsible in your community.
  • Show them you stand for something.
  • Educate, don’t sell: People appreciate when you take the time to teach them something or make an educated recommendation than trying to sell them on an item.

Don’t let them leave unhappy

When you see a customer experience start to turn south, do everything that you can do to immediately resolve the situation. Make it a priority to resolve issues that you hear about after the fact. This can be feedback from the team, customer comments you receive internally or messages you get on social media. As we saw at the top of the newsletter, one incident can turn into a crippling event for you.

  • Avoid generic email responses and form letters. Nothing shows them that you don’t truly care more than an unsolicited email or message response that’s not heartfelt.
  • Be empathetic: Most often they just want to be heard and for you to improve. Don’t defend the person or situation.
  • Offer more than an apology: Give me something to either meet their need or to show your good will.
  • Commit to improve based on their feedback.

Do your best to gain new customers while focusing on keeping the ones that you currently have. Remember that when you lose one customer, you’ve actually lost many more because you can guarantee that they will tell their families and friends about their experience.  Keep your boat sealed and cast your nets wide!

Make a better tomorrow.