Putting effort into ways to keep your customers for longer – turning them into repeat-buying clients, buying more from you more often – is a lot easier, and a lot less expensive.
Certainly, every business needs to generate a level of new business – customers will leave you for a variety of reasons – but with a little thought, a few easy processes and some systemisation you’ll find that you stop losing customers you have spent your hard-earned cash getting, AND you’ll be getting more profit from the better service you deliver.
It’s not as complicated or difficult as you might think, either…
Here are 7 key tips for creating Clients for Life!
1) Have A Client-Focused Mindset…
There are two alternative mindsets you can have when running your business…
… company-focused or client-focused.
- Look at what THEY are going to offer to the market.
- Assume customers are going to want or need what they offer.
- Sell on features.
- Care about making money, not about their clients.
- Look at what their customers WANT.
- Don’t take their customers for granted.
- Let customers buy on benefits.
- Add value to their customers and clients.
- Don’t sell to their customers.
- Listen to what their customers are asking for.
If you’re not already ‘client-focused’, then sort it – it’s time you were!
2) Talk To Your Customers More Often…
However frequently you are talking to your customers, I bet you could double it – maybe even triple it – and not receive any complaints.
Just think about the people or businesses who supply things to you.
Do you feel they contact you enough?
Would you like them to let you know of special offers?
Would you like them to tell you about a special closed-door sale they are having for preferred customers?
Would you like them to keep you up-to-date with better, more profitable, more beneficial ways to use the products or services you buy from them to make your life easier, richer, more fun?
The BIGGEST single reason your customers leave you, and go elsewhere to buy a similar product or service, is because they don’t feel special…
… they don’t feel you care!
Find reasons to contact them.
List the benefits they will get from your product or service.
Collect news articles from your industry.
Compile an information resource which you can dip into regularly when you want to send them something that will add value.
Then, start talking to them.
Go on, give it a try!
3) Anticipate The Needs Of Your Client…
If you want to do better for your customers, then you should be looking at preempting what they need.
Don’t wait for them to call you to buy more of your product or service…
… you should be contacting them advising them they need more of what it is you supply.
Here are some examples of how this can work…
If you are a Vet, you can remind your dog owners that their dogs need worming 2 weeks prior to the next treatment (dogs need to be wormed every 3 months depending on the medication).
If you are a bookkeeper, you can remind your clients that the expenses receipts need to be in by the 21st of each month to have them complete for the end of month accounts to meet the quarterly VAT Return deadline.
Amazon have a neat way of approaching this. When you buy something from them, you get a message saying “…people who bought XXX also bought these items…” to encourage you to up your purchase amount.
But it doesn’t stop there. You then get regular emails suggesting other things you might like, based on what you have bought before.
… anticipating the needs of their customers.
Now it can be by you offering other products or services, but you can also look at other things your clients need BEFORE they purchase from you or AFTER they purchase from you and then joint venture with suppliers to offer these things to your customers as well.
There are many different ways you can approach this, but it really boils down to two things, stay visible and keep proactive in solving the wants and needs of your customers and clients.
4) Give Them What They Want…
A few years ago I was told a story, and whether true or not, it demonstrates this tip very well…
20 years or so ago, before political correctness set in, when you flew First Class on a major airline, PLAYBOY was one of the magazines offered to you by the Stewardesses.
The first airline to stop having Playboy on board, didn’t stop because of gender sensitivity…
… they stopped because everyone was stealing the magazine!
Instead of stopping the magazine, they should actually have seen this as a signal to put more copies on each flight, rather than stop having them all together.
There is significant profit to be had by giving your customers what they want.
It’s incredible how many people do certain things to attract their customers and as soon as they get them as a client… they stop doing those things./p>
Or they find out what their customers want and then don’t give it to them!!
The trick here is to really, really, really understand what your customer wants, give it to them and then KEEP ON giving it to them.
5) Only Make Promises You Can Keep…
We all do it…
Make promises to our customers and clients about things they can expect, about delivery dates, about the availability of a product, of when we will get back to them…
… and that’s fine, provided we are able to stick to what we promise!
Reliability is one of the keys to any good relationship.
But what does it say about your business if you say you will call back at 3pm and then call at 4pm?
What does it say about your business if you say your product will be with the client on Wednesday and they don’t get it until Thursday?
Whilst the reality is that it probably doesn’t matter – their business probably WON’T fold if they don’t get it on the day you specified – it shows you to be unreliable and potentially untrustworthy.
To develop successful customer relationships, there are going to be times when you need to make promises – and rightly so…
… just make sure you can deliver on that promise before you make it!
6) Do Everything You Can To Fulfil Special Requests…
We all dread those customers who want us to provide them with a ‘non-standard’ product or service.
But the fact that they bothered to ask means that they are interested.
Look at what they want, and as long as it is possible (and legal) then go ahead and provide it.
If the customer knows it is not a standard item, then they would expect an additional cost to be coming their way.
It might also buy you a customer for life!
Remember, you are making an exception for one customer, not setting a precedent for all of your customers.
7) Offer Better Customer Service…
If you run a small business, you have a distinct advantage over the ‘big boys” which can significantly increase the business you get…
… You can offer better Customer Service.
Larger companies often struggle to offer great or even fantastic customer service.
I believe that part of the problem is that they quite often can’t even communicate properly internally between departments, let alone put a coherent customer service strategy together.
Now I’m not saying that all large companies are rubbish at customer service, but let’s just say that there are more bad one out there than there are good ones!
And this is to your advantage…
It is relatively easy for you to create an effective customer service strategy and be able to make a difference…
It is surprising what little it can take to make a difference:
A Thank you card after someone has bought from you.
An added bonus that they weren’t expecting, e.g. a restaurant could offer a free liqueur after an expensive meal.
It doesn’t have to take a lot or cost a lot to make a difference – all you need to do is to treat your customers how you would like to be treated.
Go the extra mile…
… a small difference can have a BIG impact on your business!
If you would like to share any of your personal experiences, observations or the results you’ve achieved using these or similar tips, please leave your comments and/or thoughts below. I always love to hear from you:
Featured Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash.com