Do you work in a very competitive sector? Have you worked hard to gain your customers’ trust? Then you absolutely cannot let them slip through your fingers and take their business elsewhere. So, how can you recognize the signs of discontent in your customers? How can you interpret your customers’ actions, respond and maintain your relationship with them?
What are the signals that your customers may be discontented and may turn to your competition:
Increase in product returns. Poor quality and shipping delays can cause increased returns. Investigate and fix the problem before it’s too late.
Negative chatter on social media. Follow reviews and comments and see what people are saying about your products and your company. Try to react as soon as possible. Whether you are making your own products or just reselling, ensure good quality, prompt shipping and have knowledgeable staff on hand to answer any questions.
Employee turnover. Are your employees leaving your company at an increased rate? Investigate, find out the reasons and offer better incentives to keep them working for you and not your competitors. If you cannot keep your employees, chances are you cannot keep your customers either.
Demand grows faster than you can meet it. That can cause deterioration of service. Has your business taken off faster that you can keep up with? If so, do not compromise your customer experience. Ratchet down your marketing and allow your staffing and manufacturing to catch up to serve your customers.
Here are our tips on how to hold on to your customers:
Listen to your customers especially your big ones. Understand why they buy from you. You will be surprised that quite often price is not a factor. Figure out why they prefer to do business with you and then build on that.
Understand your customer’s business. See if you can help them do better business. Maybe you can create a new service for them.
Collaborate with other vendors to deliver a better solution. If a customer needs a solution that you can only partially provide, find another provider who can help make it a more complete solution.
Help with funding. If you are selling high ticket items, work with a bank or finance company to make it easy for customers to finance the equipment.
If your customer is not very sophisticated, see if you can manage inventory for them so they have less of their funds tied up in inventory. You can do just in time deliveries saving them on inventory holding costs.
Sometimes, a small number of customers give you the most business. Keeping them is key to the success of your business. There are always going to be a few customers that will complain about this or that without giving you much business. Investigate – is it you or is it them. If it is you, fix it. If it’s them, politely tell them you are not a good fit and send them to your competition. Nothing like getting your competitor bogged down with such energy sappers.
All in all, retaining your customers is not an easy task. Institutionalize customer review and keep adjusting as your customers requirements change. Adapt to them and they will help you grow your business.