As a business owner, your customer retention strategies should be your top priority. Studies have shown that acquiring new customers costs around 5-7 times as much as nurturing existing ones. Factor in the potential for up-sells and cross-sells during a long-term sales relationship and it’s clear that retaining customers pays rich dividends.
The question is, how do you get those customers to stick around with so much competition out there?
It’s not enough to do your best and hope your customers will continue to do business with you. You need to be proactive with an effective system. Here’s a look at four key strategies and why they’re so vital to your success.
Define and Exceed Customer Expectations
B2B contracts come with certain expectations concerning delivery times, product quality, after-sales service and so on. The key is to under promise and over deliver every time. Remember that customers have long memories for negative experiences. But treat them well and the word will spread.
Stay on Top of Customer Satisfaction
Surprisingly few customers will tell you about any issues they may experience with your products. Most will keep silent and cast around for alternatives. That’s why you need to be alert to any changes in customer usage patterns or buying trends. Use this information to act fast to correct problems.
Be Perceived as the Expert in Your Industry
Authority is highly valued in today's complex and competitive business environment. It creates confidence and loyalty by conveying your understanding of the industry and your customers' needs. One way to demonstrate your authority is to become the prime source of news for your industry. Draw in business through inbound marketing by sharing knowledge via regular emails and social media. Always keep your website and blog up-to-date with key industry developments, trends and analyses.
Keep Your Customers in the Loop
If the only contact you have with your customers is at sales meetings, it's time for a change. Along with keeping your name at the forefront of people’s minds, regular contact gets you vital feedback from customers. It also lets you educate customers on new product updates and ways they will benefit from your products. Educating your customers on the best ways to use your products will help ensure that they continue to use them.
Automating with CRM
These strategies can be demanding. With the right CRM software, a lot of the work can be automated. Such software gathers and analyses the information you and your sales team need to make informed decisions. It also creates schedules and tracking systems to ensure you’re doing everything to maximise customer retention.
Remember that acquiring customers is hard and losing them is easier. You need to proactively work to keep them. Take steps to define and refine your customer retention strategies today. Just be sure you have effective CRM systems and inbound marketing setups in place.