It has never been so important for companies to keep their customers close and satisfied. In times of crisis in the economy and uncertainty in politics the first step is to retain those who are already a customer, make them faithful and, if possible, a promoter of your brand. Well, loyalty is relative. In a lecture organized by the website Endeavor.org.br, Marcelo Salim (¹) says that customers are not loyal. Really, it’s worth thinking about. In this growing universe of options, information, products, offers, and therefore of competitors, the big challenge is to differentiate and leave a positive impression on your customer, preventing them from distancing themselves and thinking of an option other than your company. Certainly it is a huge challenge, but it is possible to find ways to achieve such a goal. Let’s look at the definition of what it is to retain, and then give some advice for working on customer retention.
Retain, by definition, is to hold, to have firmly, to not let it out of the hands (²). If we want a customer not to “escape”, to continue consuming and trusting in our company, we have much to accomplish. The tireless job of listening, understanding and meeting the individual needs of customers appears to be the basis for managing this relationship. Personalized service, the famous “1 to 1″, which provides exceptional and unforgettable customer experiences, is what changes the customer’s life and leads to loyalty. Not to mention the cost of maintaining a customer, which is at least seven times lower than that of gaining a new customer. Of this we have no doubt. And the way they remember your brand and/or the service that was performed will determine whether they return to your company to consume more or not, and further if they would recommend to someone what experienced.
While we’re on this subject, two questions are relevant for the moment:
- Would your customers recommend your company to a friend? How likely is this to happen?
- Would they return to contract new services or buy new products?
If the answer to both is yes, we have a good indication that your business is on track. Yes, it is necessary that information is transformed into indicators. Only then it will be able to measure results. If there haven’t been any indicators, no matter how serious it is, start with these two essential questions for customers after purchase, adding another qualitative question to facilitate the interpretation of their views and assessments. In other words, invest in after-sales satisfaction surveys, which are the most effective to evaluate the customer experience and the impressions that were made, besides being an important time to reverse any inconvenience and possible dissatisfaction or query.
Let move on to the other tips to increase contact with your customer and facilitate the retention process:
- maintain constant communication with the customer, showing that you care and that there is a relationship between you. And if it has been some time since the customer has “seen you”, promotions, giveaways, loyalty cards can encourage another new visit (even if your company is virtual), and consume more often;
- give value to the suggestions and opinions received, putting them into practice and/or giving feedback about them, always positively. This encourages the customer to be part of your business and makes them highly engaged, making them feel like a partner, which is the best win-win relationship that exists;
- provide conditions for the team to be creative. People connected to the business administration or customer service can envision innovative and creative solutions, enrich the routine of the company by way of revolutionizing processes and attracting positive results. They can also create solutions that will bring new customers in and keep current customers as close as possible;
- get to know your customer deeply in order to understand their profile and expand the offering of services and products that meet their needs. Make use of technological resources (³) to generate new prospects from your website and identify interests of your current customer in new services and products. Monitor access, survey after new interactions, and constantly show interest in their opinion.
Retention is not an impossible process, but it requires time, dedication and strategy. Of course also a lot of work, as the result needs to be measured, monitored and most importantly, sustained. The good news is that the consequences are lasting, as actions that increase customer satisfaction then raise the motivation of the teams, increase profits and end up attracting new business. It is the ideal cycle for any business owner, business group and/or entrepreneur. And the most important thing: it will be worth it.