There is always a tension between satisfying (or delighting) existing customers and winning new customers (as indeed there is with every task we face), but this is surely top of our list. There's a few simple things we can do.
Customers come and go. Competitors lure them away with offers that are sometimes impossible to match. Yet, the concept of ‘customers for life’ is tantalising, it’s something we’d like to have if only we could.
Perhaps, if we view this concept as a target – something to aim for it might be possible to get there. Here a few ideas to get you started.
Prioritise every customer
The proliferation of CRM programs and other customer-retention software makes it fairly easy to keep track of existing customers. Existing customers should be looked after and treated better than someone who shows up at your door for the first time. How many businesses put off an existing customer to impress a prospect?
Make and keep your promises
Go out of your way to make promises to your customers. That way you can be seen to be honouring your commitments when your delivery is made on time or your serviceman arrives as promised.
Always do a bit more
Consciously strive to do more than what’s expected of you. When one of your regular customers gives you a big order, surprise them with a free delivery or an extra six months of warranty. Why not let it become a part of your thinking to always do more than what your customers expect? You’ll surprise them in a way that nobody else can duplicate.
Invite your customers into the business
Invite them to come in for a working lunch or perhaps for a drink and some nibbles after work. Show them around. Introduce them to some of those people they talk to over the phone but would never otherwise meet.
Or inviting them in for a discussion about how you can serve them better, a kind of ‘market research’ session that gives them the opportunity to tell you how to become even more valuable to them – and of course, harder to replace.
Not every customer will become a customer for life. Some will be lured away by a better price and some will ‘shop around’.
But, the most important thing is that you try to make every customer a “customer for life” and do all you can to keep them satisfied.
- General Marketing