It is difficult to overstate the importance of maintaining a customer base. It is far easier to sell to old customers than it is to bring in new ones. Measures must be put in place which keep customers coming back through exceptional customer service. Here are three ways that improve the way you interact with customers to keep them returning for more…
Create an Ecosystem of Services and Products
Certain products tend to go hand in hand. If a person buys peanut butter, it is also likely they are going to buy jelly. Commodities with this kind of relationship are known as complementary goods and are tied to each other. By understanding the complementary goods associated with your offering, you can expand your production to include them.
Companies have stopped selling products and have started selling “lifestyles.” Look at Apple for instance. At one point, their main products were desktop computers. Since then, they’ve expanded to sell phones, tablets, watches, and headphones. Apple hasn’t been limited to hardware either, as they have expanded into downloadable products such as music and movies. They’ve managed to tie in each product together to form an entity larger than the sum of its parts.
Once a company has multiple interconnected offerings, the next step is to unite them under a consistent brand. Clothing stores are a great example of this. A clothing store will not sell only pants or shirts, but will include everything a customer needs for a complete outfit. Each store will theme their clothing to fit a larger image. Because branding is so vital, clothing companies will create multiple chains to make sure each store maintains it’s own identity.
Continue to Provide Value After the Initial Transaction
The most effective way to be remembered is to establish ongoing communication. If one can provide continuous value for their customers, then one provides a reason for the customer to care about the brand. Imagine that your insurance company sends you a festive “thank you” card every year around Christmas. You would be less inclined to switch to another provider.
Businesses which rely on a subscription model are always providing value by keeping their services available to their subscribers. Look at Costco for instance. So long as one’s Costco membership is valid, one can make use of Costco’s services. Even with an established continuous value, Costco is always expanding their line of products and offering new deals. They continue to add value to the subscription by not only maintaining their value, but adding to it over time.
Customer Service Cannot Be Overlooked
Poor customer service is one of the largest reasons why customers stop doing business with a company. According to the consulting firm Bain & Company, “A customer is four times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related rather than price- or product-related.” Humans naturally remember negative experiences more vividly than positive ones, a poor consumer experience will ultimately be what the customer remembers the most.
You can improve customer service through creating the proper environment. The more comfortable you make a person feel, the easier it it is to ensure they remain happy. Whether this means a clean physical storefront or a well designed, easy to navigate eCommerce site, consider the mindset your environment will put your customer in. The first impression a customer will get of your offering might not include a salesperson.
Customer service can also be used to reduce attrition rates due to faulty goods or sub-par services. A business must deliver an offering on time, hassle and defect free in order to have successfully delivered their value. When this does not happen, steps must be taken in order to make things right. Despite this, many companies become defensive when it comes to their customer support and will refute or complicate a customer’s claim. This only serves to further sour their experience and all but guarantees you have lost a customer. Keep in mind the reason for customer service and use it as a tool to mitigate losses to your customer base.
Take a good look at your offering and analyze the ways better retention models can be implemented. Can you create a larger ecosystem for what you’re selling? Is there a way to ensure the customer continues to receive value? Is your storefront environment welcoming? Does your customer service enhance your customer’s experience, rather than detracting from it? If you can work to achieve a yes answer to all of these questions, you’ll be able to create a strategy which will ensure a steady and growing customer base for years to come!