This Friday is Valentine’s Day, folks, and it’s a great reminder to not let your personal relationships fall by the wayside. But how are your business relationships doing? Have you been tracking your customer retention? How long has it been since you reminded your clients that you care? If you’re not sure, then you could be closer to a breakup (and losing a valuable customer) than you think.
The Truth About Breaking Up
Being kicked to the curb by a customer is one of the worst things that can happen in business. Every time you lose a customer, not only do you lose their current business, but you also lose all future growth and profit from them. To make matters worse, you also accrue the expense of replacing them. Here’s a controversial opinion: If you’re good at what you do — if people need your product or service and you help your customers — then you should take this kind of breakup personally. I’m talking “pint of ice cream in front of the TV” personally. That’s because when a customer leaves, what they’re basically saying is that you’re not that good. And I don’t know about you, but for me, that hurts! I’m proud of my business and my team, and I want my customers to be proud too.
Now, before I jump into my client retention tips, I want to point out one thing. Often, a customer will leave and tell you they’re leaving because they’re broke. But most of the time, that’s pure b.s. Money is an easy excuse for anyone to give as to why they’re canceling or want out of a contract, and most of the time, it’s a smokescreen. It is impossible to save a customer or fix the problem of losing customers if most of them give you a b.s. reason as to why they’re canceling, so no matter what reason you get, it’s important to dig and get to the real reason. That said, the best strategy is to make sure they don’t cancel in the first place.
The Secret To Staying Together
So, how can you increase customer retention? The reality is it all comes down to two things: creating a strong customer relationship and providing a customer experience that goes above and beyond their expectations. A newsletter can help with both (you didn’t think I’d fail to point that out, did you?), but there are a ton of other things you can do to keep your clients going steady. To determine the quality of your customer experience, ask yourself:
- What happens when a prospect calls?
- How is someone treated when they’re on the phone?
- How about when they walk in for the first time?
- Do they get a customer guarantee/promise flyer if they’re not in the office?
- What happens after their first visit?
- How often do you send something physical to them that isn’t an advertisement or bill?
- Do they get a new customer gift?
- How do you handoff from sales to operations?
- How is their first interaction with operations?
- What is your month-to-month communication with customers and prospects like?
Think about the advantage you’d have over your competitors with the above items in place. How many more referrals would you get simply based on the experience and relationship you have with customers? How many more prospects would convert to customers because you were the only one following up with them weeks and months after they first inquired?
Even if your competitor hired me to do a newsletter for them, once you have your relationship in place, it’s a “done deal” as long as you maintain the relationship. Of course, they would have their own customers, but it would be very hard for your competitor to steal customers from you.
Putting In The Work
You don’t have to listen to me, and frankly, many people who read this won’t do what I say, because it’s hard or expensive or [insert excuse here]. The problem is that you and your business will get left behind if you don’t take steps to improve retention. The business world is changing at a fast pace, and we’re headed toward relationships and experience. You can ignore my warnings about relationship marketing and bury your head in the sand, or you can jump on board the train, create those customer experiences and relationships, and thrive.
If you’re ready to make the leap, I can help! Earlier this year, I released a new book called “Stop Losing Customers” which is basically your customer retention and anti-breakup guide. It’s packed with tips that will not only convince your clients to stay with you but also get them to spend more money and refer you, too! You can grab a free (yeah that’s right, I said FREE) copy here right now. All I ask is that you pay for shipping.
Don’t let the train blow past you. You’ll be breaking your own heart (and probably your bank account). Personally, I can’t think of a worse way to spend Valentine’s Day!