In content marketing, we talk a lot about the importance of reaching new customers and expanding our markets to achieve business success. However, we often neglect to talk about the importance of focusing on current customers. In fact, research suggests that current customer outreach is just as, if not more, important to achieving business growth. Harvard Business Review likens reaching new leads without effective current account management to pouring water into a bucket without a bottom. In other words, you can keep pouring all your efforts into new prospects, but without a way to hold them in, it won’t amount to much.
Retaining your current customers is just as important as gaining new prospects. recent research from AskForensics Knowledgebase identified a series of gaps that businesses may need to address with regard to customer retention and peak performance. Using qualitative interviews with Fortune 1000 company decision makers, they found that the following best practices can improve customer retention and satisfaction:
1. Improve Your Training For Your Staff On The Front Lines
Employees who work with customers daily, such as sales staff, are most likely to leave a lasting impression on customers, even more so than the sales time. Your front-line workers play a vital role in customer retention and satisfaction. Inclusive training that reviews client interaction protocol and procedures can go a long way in improving your company image and reputation. Conduct comprehensive training initiatives and make sure everyone is on the same page.
2. Be Timely
Surprisingly, one area where businesses commonly fall short is in providing timely responses for existing customer inquiries. Since this is one of the loudest indicators of a business’s interest in a customer’s business, make sure your responses are timely. If communication with a customer is inefficient, then they might question your commitment to them. This applies to all levels of your company and all departments, not just the front lines or sales teams. Ensure smooth communication channels through your departments to create speedy resolutions to existing customer inquiries.
3. Be Proactive With Your Existing Customers
Your customers likely come to you because they view you as an expert in something, or at least able to provide a product or service they cannot produce themselves. This creates a unique opportunity for you to be proactive in your approach to retaining current customers. By keeping your customers informed through emails, blog topics, or direct marketing tactics, you can help establish value and remind customers of why they chose you in the first place.
4. Understand Your Customer’s Needs
This seems like basic business acumen, but it remains an area where some companies fall short. Customers may fall through the cracks when they think your business does not adequately understand their wants, even if they’re not immediately recognizable.
This highlights the need for effective market research. By continually surveying your customers, you can actively foster a relationship by understanding their wants and needs. This will ultimately lead to repeat business and foster brand loyalty.
Why Care About Customer Retention?
A recent survey found that 68% of customers leave a company because they perceive that the company no longer cares about them. While every business needs and benefits from new customers, the existing ones who know and use your product or service as just as important. If you’re wondering why you should care about investing in your relationship with your existing customers, here are a few compelling reasons:
- They’ll Boost Your Conversion Rates
An existing customer has already made a purchase from you once, so they are more likely to do so again. You already have trust and confidence on your side, so it’s easier to identify their needs and deliver solutions that work each time.
- You Won’t Have to Invest as Much in Marketing
Small and medium sized businesses have notoriously strict or limited budgets, and retention requires a much smaller investment than gaining a new customer. Additionally, your existing customers serve as a valuable source of information for your existing performance. How did you do? How can you improve your performance or address potential gaps in the future? Use this to continually assess and improve your process.
- Increase Your Profits
Businesses often have to entice new customers with an introductory offer or special one-time discounts. With an existing customer, on the other hand, you might not have to offer a discount at all – and if you do, it likely won’t be as steep. Your existing customers may also be interested in your products or services through cross-selling or upselling.
Your company might have a new customer focus, and that can be a good way to grow your business. On the other hand, don’t neglect your current customers – they’re often the key to establishing brand loyalty and improving your bottom line.