We often hear the word optimize and it most generally is related to websites and blogs. It refers to building your site, or optimizing it, so it sits high in Google and other search engines. The call that SEO.
Well today, let’s talk about BOCR… Business Optimization for Customer Retention.
Because you can optimize your website and get great search results, but if your business is not optimized to retain customers, your system is only running on a half tank.
Think about it… Current and previous customers are the fuel that is keeping your business running. They are the voice that refers and advertises in either a positive or negative way. You MUST keep them satisfied and coming back.
And that can be a hard battle in this era. Because there is always a shiny competitor fighting to win your customers from you. So in today’s post, I am giving you 4 tips to optimize your business for customer retention.
Customer Retention Tip #1: Keep Your Top Asset Happy And Loyal
When you think hard about your business, what is your top asset?
Unless you are a “lone ranger,” you probably have employees or family members working for, and with you.
They ARE your top asset.
Lower prices can help and a great selection does too. But the main reason customers keep coming back is the person that helps them. The person that smiles when chaos is happening all around. That employee who will tell another employee to hold on because he/she is helping you.
Keep your employees happy and loyal and they will retain customers. Don’t believe me? Let an employee move to the competition and watch business slow slightly or even outrageously depending on how loved they were.
Customer Retention Tip #2: Customer Relation Surveys That Are Short And In Prime Locations
I once entered an electronics store looking for an unusual item. Upon asking an employee, with a growling demeanor, he pointed to an aisle in front of me. I searched through a lot of items before finding what I was looking for.
Coming out of the aisle, that same employee was standing at a rack doing what he was doing 20 minutes earlier. He did not ask me if I found the item and not even “have a great day.”
So where does this story lead?
When paying, I asked the person at the register if they had customer surveys (which should have been by the register). She was nice but also seemed nervous as she told me they were hanging on the wall in the back of the store near the restrooms.
So to get a survey, I had to walk all the way back by the restroom and naturally, the growling guy saw me grab one and fill it out. It was long and I actually wondered if anyone would read or heed it.
On my way out, the employee gave me what seemed to be a dirty look.
Needless to say, they did not retain a customer and I have not heard a word about the survey I completed.
I do wonder how business is going for them. I would predict that it isn’t good.
Use those surveys and have them in easy locations. Ask the customer what you can do better. They will tell you.
Customer Retention Tip #3: Give Unexpected Rewards
While many businesses use loyalty rewards systems; and yes, they are great for customer retention, I suggest using a system that keeps track of how often that customer comes in and throw an unexpected reward their way.
“Guess what Jim? You have been such a great customer, we are going to give you 20% off today’s order.”
Everyone loves unexpected gifts.
Customer Retention Tip #4: Use An Anticipatory Technique
Now with small items, this may not be useful, but for those businesses who are selling “big ticket” products or services, I highly recommend an anticipatory customer service technique.
For this case, I am going to use a lawnmower…
The customer purchases the lawnmower and you make sure that your customer service team is always available and the customer knows this. He buys it Thursday morning. So why not give your customer a call Friday afternoon just to make sure everything is working good. Ask if there are any questions. And remind the customer of the help phone number.
I would say that normally these lawnmowers work great, but you just want to make sure that everything is fine with theirs.
You will gain a ton of respect for using this technique.
For any of you who think you can get new customers as easy as retaining current or previous customers, I must tell you that one study determined that the costs to get new customers is as high as 5 times the cost of retaining customers.
The Harvard School of Business found that if a business can up the retention rate by 5%, they can raise profits by up to 95%.
That is phenomenal!
So follow these tips and practice customer retention… They work!
One last thing before I go… We developed a tool, actually an app, to help keep you within your budget and help you with your taxes. It is called The Expense Tracker and it has helped many people keep their budgets in line. You can see more and get started using The Expense Tracker here.
Last but not least, if you have any questions or feedback about today’s post, you are welcome to leave it in the comment section below.
Thank you and have a profitable climb…