As a trade, one of your biggest concerns as a business will probably be winning more leads. However, something that is often overlooked is customer retention, in other words keeping the clients you already have. This can play an important role in your business’s growth. At the end of the day, generating more leads is fantastic but if you’re neglecting your existing customers, you’re missing a real opportunity to push your business to the next level. In fact, it can cost up to five times more to generate a new customer than to retain an existing one.
In this blog post, we look at seven practical, actionable ways to increase customer retention:
Offer service plans
Offering some sort of regular plan could be a great way of making the service you offer “sticky”, that is to say, make it more likely that your customers will keep coming back to you. Why would they look elsewhere if they already have a subscription set up directly with you? Whether you’re a heating engineer interested in boiler service plans, or you’re a property maintenance company offering regularly scheduled maintenance, consider service plans as a way to keep your customers loyal.
Ask for reviews
Not only is it good practice to collect reviews for your business to help you stand out from your competition, but this feedback can also be a great way to identify areas for improvement. It’s also important to show your customers that their opinions are valued and taken on board.
Resolve complaints quickly
Let’s face it, if you’re dealing with homeowners and/or businesses, you’re probably going to encounter complaints, even if it’s through no fault of your own. This might sound obvious, but it’s extremely important to resolve any issues with disgruntled customers as quickly as possible. When negative feedback is brought to your attention, it’s essential to address any concerns promptly. It’s important that the client feels like they are being listened to and prioritised. How you respond to the issue can in fact turn a negative experience into a positive one for the customer and strengthen the relationship moving forward.
Stay in touch to increase customer retention
It’s important to stay top of mind when it comes to your customer base. Consider posting on social media more regularly or sending out emails to your customers to show them that you care and that you’re being proactive. You can also look to send customers a courtesy email when they’re expected to use your business again (e.g. if you’re a heating engineer and they’re due a boiler service). That way, when they’re next in need of the services you offer, you’ll be the first one that comes to mind.
Offer rewards or discounts
In this economic climate, people are looking for great deals more than ever. Offering rewards and/or discounts can be a great way to keep your business your customer’s first choice. This doesn’t need to come at a detriment to your business either. You can consider offering a discount for referring new customers, or provide a discount during the time of the year when you’re less busy, effectively evening out your workload throughout the year. Either way, offering rewards or discounts can be a gesture greatly appreciated by your customer base.
Provide excellent customer service to improve customer retention
This is perhaps the most obvious-sounding piece of advice we’re going to offer in this blog post, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important to mention and cover. If you demonstrate to your customers that you’re willing to go above and beyond for them, they’ll keep coming back to you time after time. They’re not going to take the plunge and hire a different unknown business if they know that you have their back when they need it most.
Personalise the customer experience
By offering a service that is tailored to your customer’s individual requirements, you can build a stronger relationship that is more likely to last. If you’re able to cater to their preferences and needs, they’ll be far less likely to go with a competitor that might not take that into consideration.
Tactics to increase customer retention
To summarise, there are different tactics you can implement to increase customer retention, but if there’s one final piece of advice to give, it’s to keep your existing customers top of mind. It’s important not to ever take it for granted that they’ll keep coming back to you year after year. Keep thinking about ways you can ensure that they’ll continue to use your service and nurture these relationships.