Did you know that when a customer stops doing business with a company, 68% of the time it’s because that customer feels ignored, unappreciated or taken for granted? So what is your customer engagement strategy?
Of course, you know that it’s a good idea to express gratitude to your clients, but exactly how do you do that? Here are four easy ways you can show appreciation and win their loyalty.
Keep in touch on a regular basis.
Maybe you feel that you’re being a nuisance if you call on your customers too often, so you err on the side of ignoring them. This gives your competition ample opportunity to take your clients away from you. Make it a point to touch your customers early and often. In most businesses, there should not be more than a 90 day time span when your best customers do not hear from you.
Connect with consumers in myriad ways, including e-mail, notes, news articles, phone calls, small gifts, and faxes. Mix it up. Strive to make each contact interesting. Make an effort to bring a smile to your customer’s face. Candy or food always works too. You can drop off a candy jar and fill it up on each visit.
Ask your customers how you can serve them better.
Many sales reps and business owners are afraid to ask this question because they feel that the customer will demand more than they are willing to give. You may be surprised to learn how little it takes to keep your customer happy. Their suggestions and ideas can give you a different perspective that you may not have considered before. In many cases, simply asking them for their opinion means the world to them.
Some customers prefer to be contacted by email, others text, and yet others like the personal touch of a phone call or visit. Find out what works for them. Even if it’s not your preferred mode of communication remember, it’s not about you. It’s ALL about them.
Cash never hurts.
We spend so much time and effort offering various promotions and spiffs to attract new clients that we forget to take care of our loyal customers. Telephone companies are a prime example. How many millions of dollars do they spend advertising and offering incredible deals if you switch your current phone service to theirs? Yet, when a long-term client has an issue, they oftentimes aren’t as willing to give the same financial incentive to retain the business.
Consider putting a loyalty program into place. Whether you give your clients a card to stamp, or just keep track in your own system, look for ways to reward your customers when they reach certain milestones. Keep track of customer anniversaries and send them a card to commemorate the date they started doing business with you. Chances are good they will be pleasantly surprised. Notice when your customers refer business to you. A thank you note is a definite must – handwritten notes are particularly impressive. Why? Because not a lot of people write notes any more. A box of chocolate or other gift is also appropriate for more significant referrals.
Welcome compliments and complaints.
Marshall Fields said, “Those who buy, support me. Those who come to flatter, please me. Those who complain teach me how I may please others so they will buy. The only ones that hurt me are those who are displeased but do not complain. They refuse me permission to correct my errors and thus improve my service.”
Complaints are a form of early warning system. Consider what happens when a customer complains – a client who is dissatisfied will tell 9 to 10 people about their bad experience, 13% will tell more than 20 people. The good news is that up to 70% of those people will return if the complaint is resolved. Better yet, up to 95% will return if the complaint is resolved quickly.
Unfortunately, only one in six customers complains. What that means is that if you receive five criticisms a week, there are potentially 130 dissatisfied, disgruntled ex-customers out there whom you never hear from. If you don’t already have a complaint resolution system, think about what you need to do to get those grievances settled as quickly as possible. You will not only keep the business, your relationship with that client will grow stronger as they realise that you truly are there to serve them.
Use these four simple strategies and you will increase your customer engagement, loyalty, retention, referrals, and profits.