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There is an age-old truth in business that it is easier to keep a client than to find a new one. The one problem is that no one took the opportunity tell you how to keep the client. Many say, “What can I do besides delivering my service or product as expected?” And therein lies the problem.
We live in an age of choice. We can go on the web and find multiple options for what we are looking for. As a consumer base, we have become more selective and demanding in what we are looking for or what we expect. Delivering just what we expect will not seal the deal for long-term loyalty; exceeding expectations keep people engaged.
In a previous article, Customer Service Is a Verb, we discussed ways to differentiate your business that sets you apart because so many companies are focused on just getting new business. What we will discuss now are a few small things that will stand out as HUGE to impact retention.
Four things to improve customer retention:
I cannot tell you how many times I get frustrated by automated operators. “Press 2 for this” or “press 1 for that” and it takes you forever until you are just yelling at the phone “PLEASE LET ME SPEAK TO SOMEONE.” When I called my new lawn person, I spoke to a person each time. Now I know you will say they are small so it does not apply to my business, but in reality, the majority of businesses are able to staff a person to answer phones.
Make sure that the person answering the phones has a working knowledge of what you do and, more importantly, who to channel the call to. I have been bounced around multiple times to different people at companies only to learn they cannot help me. This is a big miss step and poor impression of how you will take care of me in the future.
If something goes wrong, for whatever reason, take responsibility to make it right. Zappos has made a mark by not charging for return shipping. While other companies consider this a cost, Zappos looks at this as a way to retain customers. My lawn service made a mistake when trimming some ground cover and instead of waiting for us to find it (or maybe just hoping we didn’t), they went out and bought a new piece to replace it and let us know. That is reason enough for me to keep them.
Many businesses today get so caught up in the next sale that they forget to thank a new customer. I came home recently to a handwritten envelope with a thank you card inside to let me know how much they appreciated my business and, if I was satisfied, if I could recommend them. Nice touch asking for referral.
It seems so simple. Not one of these items seems hard to do, but I will tell you that by doing these four things, your company will stand out from your competitors.