- Posted by Sue
- On 6th February 2019
Depending on what you read its estimated that it costs six times more to gain a new customer than it does to do some more business with a customer that has already purchased from you.
If you were to Google ‘how to get new customer’s you will get just short of 2 billion hits a great many of those will be people who are only really interested in you purchasing their new-fangled way of getting new business.
A pipeline of potential new customers is always essential in any business and I always advise my clients, no matter how tempting it can be to save money, never switch off their marketing no matter how busy they are because there will almost certainly be a lag time when switching it back on. The reasons for that lag time is simply because people are being bombarded every day with an estimated 30 thousand marketing messages so it is really easy for them to forget about you.
A question I often ask in our workshops is “Who here has a budget every year for getting new customers” as you would expect most of the people in the room have such a budget and yet when I ask the question “Who has a budget for looking after the customers you already have?” very few hands go up. If you consider the costs related to this way of thinking, how much money is being lost each year in businesses up and down the country? The cost of doing business this way is mind blowing.
When I first made the decision to go into business my knowledge of how to run a successful business was to be honest extremely limited, but I was lucky because I had a very good mentor my Dad. He was a very successful Publican and had a Midas touch for turning any pub into a gold mine. One day I asked him “what is the secret to being successful in business” I was expecting some sage advice like go and study for an MBA but what he said was, ‘There is only one strategy needed to ensure success: ‘a happy customer!’
If they are happy they will come back time and time again and they will tell all their friends and family about you thus creating even more customers for you at little or no cost.’
Let me ask you a couple of questions “What are you doing to look after the customers you already have and how is that working for you?” and “When it comes to customer retention how are you measuring yours?”
Very few people measure retention, and that begs the question ‘how do you know if you are doing a good job?’ and ‘how do you know where to focus to improve it?’ It is essential to have some form of measurement in place and then implement strategies for improvement. Those strategies will be based on two factors results and relationship. What are the results you are getting for your customers are they at least in line with their expectations or are you exceeding them? What could you put in place to
enhance the results they are getting from you? The alternative of course would be to bury your head in the sand and just keep pumping money into marketing for new customers whilst ignoring the inefficiencies within your business.
How can you measure the results your clients are achieving? One simple way is ask them: Feedback surveys can be excellent, as long as they are not overused. The reason a lot of business owners don’t want to go down this route is because they are scared what they may learn about their business. It can be frightening and yet, it’s priceless feedback, because it gives you the opportunity to improve.
A mystery shop of your business is another way to measure just how you are doing. You can do this yourself or get an outsider to measure your performance against an agreed criteria. The key with this strategy is to find out what is really going on and not just go through an exercise that says, ‘We are okay – lets carry on as we are’
The second factor relating to client retention is relationship. It is possible for you to get great results for a customer and still lose them because there is little or no effort put into building a meaningful relationship with them. I sometimes say that you need to choose your customers like you would a Girlfriend, Boyfriend or Partner and the reason for that is you are going to be spending a lot of time with them.
People buy on emotion so even if logically results are great, customers may choose to move to one of your competitors because they are not emotionally satisfied.
To get that emotional satisfaction is a never ending task which requires discipline, resource, time and a fundamental desire to want to build lasting relationships in the first place. Building long lasting customer relationships has to be part of the DNA of the business. What are you doing to build these long-lasting bonds with your customers? What have you got planned to improve these relationships in the future?
How do you schedule the time to get to know more about your customers and are you building the relationship on mutual trust or are you in it just for yourself. Is it more about them or more about you? These are tough questions to answer but sometimes we have to hold up the mirror to really understand what is really going on.
What you will find is that by focusing on building lasting relationships, getting great results for your customer by adding value to their lives, running your business will become a much more enjoyable experience.
I guarantee that there is a lot growth in your business if you take the time to focus on your existing customers who are going to be the ones who are recommending you to others and that makes your marketing a whole lot easier. Happy days.
If you would like to learn more ways of looking after your customers, come and join us for a morning of learning at the beautiful Mere Brook House for our ‘Take Control of Your Customer Service’ Workshop on Friday 22nd February 2019 It will be great to meet you