As a sales rep, venturing out to a new location, pitching your product, making the sale, and acquiring a new client is very satisfying. While new customer acquisitions obviously have their value, it is important to focus as much, if not more, on maintaining your base of existing customers.
Often times, businesses prefer to focus on acquisitions, because it demonstrates a faster turn around. However, you want to keep in mind the long term benefits that can come from a lengthy relationship with one retailer, as opposed to one time purchases from multiple sources. As Help Scout points out, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25-90%. In light of this, more businesses are devoting resources to retention than they historically have. Here are some guidelines to long term customer retention.
Today, much of customer retention and retention marketing has to do with personalization. Creating a personalized experience gives your client a positive perception of their sales experience with your brand, which will keep them coming back. Give back to your loyal customers with occasional special deals and promotions catered to what you know about them and their market. Great customer service and support in conjunction with this personalization is a surefire way to keep a customer. Be available and prepared when communicating with your consistent clients to show that they are a priority. Offer quick, but quality responses to any issues they may be facing. Ross Beard at Client Heartbeat details the most common causes of a lost customer, noting that 68% leave due to dissatisfaction with the service they receive, 14% are unhappy with the product, and 9% choose to use a competitor. Longterm retention can be highly profitable, so be sure to leverage personalization and customer service to maintain your positive relationship.
Anticipating client needs is another solid strategy for customer retention. Interpret the data and history of past interactions with your client to know what they may be looking for in the future, or trying to achieve in the long term. To maximize organization and efficiency, keep a digital log of dealings with your client. Knowing how often they like you to visit, re-stock, etc. will ensure you stay a few steps ahead. A software solution that keeps track of these things may be helpful in order to keep up with competitors. For example, Jerry Jao highlights the importance of utilizing new technology and 3rd party vendors to ensure you are able to log and keep track of data effectively and maximize retention.
Be an expert on your product, its market, the competition, and where you stand relative to it. If you are viewed as an expert on what you do, customers will find you a reliable source of advice and industry information. Additionally, being aware of what your competition is doing can give you the advantage of adjusting to stay most relevant to your client. Customers will find it reassuring that you are aware of what is going on in the market, and that you can adjust accordingly. The more you know and are able to purvey to others, the more you will be perceived as a trustworthy authority.
Many brands choose to focus on acquisition because they see a quick ROI. Though a new client acquisition is more immediately rewarding, it is also more costly than selling to an existing client. As Forbes notes, 80% of your future profits will come from 20% of your existing customers. So, while you can revel in the satisfaction of a new client aquisition, don’t lose sight of maintaining solid, long term customer relationships with the people who already buy from you. Having a lasting, consistent relationship with your clients can bring numerous benefits not only for your bottom line, but also your reputation, and visibility in different networks. So, know what your customers need, follow these guidelines for customer retention and reap the benefits of a longterm relationship!
Amanda McGuinness is a Content Marketing Journalist at Repsly. A social media expert and avid writer, she believes in creating fresh, creative content to build brand awareness.