Retaining your customers and growing a successful business

Lisa Ashton
The #1 way an organization can improve customer retention

Organisations have to go beyond price and selection. What they need to do is leverage their most under-utilized assets — their employee base. Passionate, engaged employees can deliver personal customer experiences that create customer loyalty. Organizations that treat their employees with respect, give them the necessary tools to do their job and continually demonstrate that they are appreciated will see a workforce that will go the extra mile for the customers they serve. Unhappy, frustrated workers have little reason to put in the effort. Why should they? If employees don’t feel valued, work becomes drudgery and customers are seen as just part of the daily grind.

Simply put, an appreciated employee is a happy employee. And happy employees translate into happy customers and thus bigger profits for the company. Our research shows this to be true.

Treat your customers/clients like people. The internet is a wonderful thing, but making an effort to relate to your clients/customers on a personal level is often the difference between a sustainable business and one that’s here today, gone tomorrow.

Appreciate your clients/customers. Thank you notes, thank you gifts for onboarding new clients and/or discounts to your most loyal customers can speak volumes. Even something so simple as recognition on social media for your most loyal customers can be valuable.

Welcome and ask for constructive feedback. Let your customers know that their voice is heard. Don’t wait for negative feedback to come to you, proactively reach out to your customers on a regular basis to find out what they like and what they think you can improve on.

Build the customer and not the sale. For businesses who are trying to sell their product, it is important to make a customer feel like they care about them even after they purchase. This will make all the difference in building a strong and lasting relationship with that customer. Building strong relationships is the most important driver when it comes to customer retention rates. If customers feel like they are just a sale, they will go somewhere else without a second thought. If they feel that they have built a relationship with a business, they are more likely to come back a second and third time.

If you make customers feel important and spend time building relationships with them, you will have high retention rates over an extended amount of time. If you like your customers and your customer like you back, this also means that they are more likely to recommend your business to their friends.

And finally, listen to your customer’s needs.

Billions of rands are lost yearly from poor listening. We assess people’s listening habits and our data shows that, while employees say they listen to customers, they do not. Instead they project the way they listen, what they care about, their knowledge, and their products/services onto customers, assuming that will fulfill customer needs and expectations. When we work with organizations to embrace and practice becoming a listening culture, customers stay.

 

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