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Enhancing customer retention

graphpresentation16486405.jpgDid you know that 80 percent of your sales come from repeat customers? Given that repeat customers are the majority of your business, it raises the question, why do so many businesses spend little time on customer retention and more on attracting new customers? It costs less money to retain a customer than it does to find a new one, so why not spend a little bit of time working on your customer retention skills instead of attracting new customers?

Most businesses offer some type of policy for existing customers. It normally runs along the lines of giving these individuals an 800 number to contact and then handing them over to computer-automated systems to handle their complaints. Providing an 800 number to your customers is not enough to enhance customer retention. While some customers will understand the use of computer automated systems, others will look at it as impersonal. Even if you use computer automated systems, you will still need to provide live telephone support at some point to give your customers a feeling of comfort.

Another problem businesses commonly get involved in is to offer a nice service to a new customer, like a free item or one-month for free. They neglect their existing customers that are the lifeblood of the company and this can cause people to become upset and frustrated with your company. You don't have to give them something free each month, but make sure they feel appreciated and accepted by your organization.

You can enhance customer retention by creating a customer retention marketing strategy over a new customer marketing campaign. Spend some time sending flyers and mailers to your existing customers instead of buying mailing lists and hoping that you will get your money's worth out of it. Send your existing customers thank-you letters so they know you truly appreciate their business. How about sending a card on their birthday or anniversary date with the company? This is a great way to boost customer retention.

When you lose some existing customers, find out why they left. Keep a tracking system that tells you when their last purchase was, if it has been awhile, send them an email. Just let them know that you care about their business and you would be happy to help them again. If you contact the customer after they have left your company, this may be the lifeline they need to start shopping with you again. People want to feel like their dollar matters so they want you to thank them often and show interest in them.

Offer a celebration for your existing customers. Invite all of your customers to come to a big anniversary party or another fun event. Reward all of your customers by offering them discounts or providing them with a free meal. When people are rewarded for their "help" they are more likely to continue shopping at that store in the future.

When you think about it, it makes sense to invest more money into your existing customers. These individuals already know your products and services and you don't need to spend time convincing them to purchase them. All you need to do is spend time making them feel like a first class citizen and praise them for their support. Having a lifelong customer is a reward for any company. You can cut back on the amount of money you spend on marketing and focus on building strong relationships with your existing customers instead. Create a marketing plan that focuses on lifelong customers instead of acquiring new customers. You will be surprised to see how much you save and how rewarding it can be.

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