Nuts and Bolts of Customer Retention
For your shop, I know that you spend a good deal of time thinking about how to grow your business. The everlasting search for new customers is always in the forefront.
While that’s a noble effort and needs to be pursued, another line of thinking is just as important.
How do you keep your current customers happy? And not just happy either. How do you get them to increase their business?
That’s the focus of this article. Below, are the key concepts for you to use to work out a strategy for Customer Retention that works. Let’s jump in!
The Number One Thing In Customer Retention
Can you guess what it is? Fast service? Low prices? Smiles?
The number one thing is that customers want to know that you care about them. That they matter.
You know you have alignment when your values are their values. Are you demonstrating that?
When a customer gets the feeling that you don’t care about them any longer it’s adios muchacho. You know this already as I’m sure there is a company, restaurant, organization or group that gave you that same feeling before. Do you go there any more?
So here’s a question for you. Are you showing your customers how much they matter to you? I don’t mean a box of cookies during the holiday season either. What are you doing right now that demonstrates without a doubt that you care?
You have to earn their loyalty on a continual basis.
This is an ongoing job. Not a job that you do when you get slow you suddenly remember that maybe it’s time to fire off an email with a “sale”.
If you don’t have a Customer Retention program, today is the day to start one.
Step by Step Customer Retention Tactic
Step One – Quality
Probably the easiest part of a Customer Retention plan is simply doing the job right the first time. Quality is indeed job one.
Any time there is a problem, that gives someone a valid excuse to walk.
Even a 5% increase in customer retention can drive profitability up by 75%. Who doesn’t want that? That’s why it pays to do things the right way, every time. Want a 75% increase in profitability by just keeping customers around for an extra 5%?
Start by dialing in your process so that you run a mistake-free shop. That you ship on the right day, to the right address. When the box of shirts show up at your customer’s door, and they open them…angels sing because they are perfect.
Step Two – Listen
If a customer has already bought from you before there is a better chance that they might buy from you again than from a complete stranger. Especially if the last interaction was a positive one.
So what’s a great way to keep the engagement going? Ask questions. Here are a few you might try:
- After the shirts have shipped, do you follow up and see how they liked them? Don’t ship it and forget it! Shoot them a survey card, or call them on the phone. Whether they fill out the card or answer your call this informs the client that you care. Any feedback given should be taken seriously and worked into your continuous improvement program.
- Top Customer Outreach. It’s no secret that the top 20% of your customers give you 80% of your revenue for your shop. (Don’t believe me? Do the math!) These are the folks that you want to be actively engaging with constantly. This means showing up. Go see them. Call them on the phone. Do something for them. Get to understand their business and their challenges. You want to find out how you can help.
- Follow your customers on social media. What are they posting? Did they just win an award? Build a new building? Your chance to say congratulations is fleeting. Don’t be so self-absorbed with what you are doing that you miss what’s really important…what your customers are doing.
Step Three – They Want to Belong
People want to belong to things. It’s a natural part of being human. A club. The tribe. Maybe a team. Family.
Do your customers feel like they belong?
What are you doing today that welcomes them in with open arms and says “You’re home”? That’s the story that needs to be told.
It’s the reason why Pepsi is the “Choice of a new generation”. It’s why there is a Dollar Shave Club. For American Express it’s why there is an Open Forum to ask business questions and information gathering. It’s why Tesla has such a powerful following on social media, despite not so frequent posts.
For your shop, could you create something that is this sticky? I’ll bet you can. If you have, post your idea in the comments section!
Step Four – Know Your VIP’s
As I mentioned earlier, do you know who your best customers have been for the last few years? How active are they with sales in your shop these days?
I’ll bet you a doughnut that a few of these folks that once were the tops in sales haven’t sent you much lately. Don’t wait. Now is the time to reactivate those sales and get them engaged with your shop.
For starters, reach out to them with a phone call or visit. Do some information gathering and find out what’s going on opportunity-wise and see if you can reconnect. Maybe the person that usually did the ordering retired or moved on. The new person might not know how great you are yet!
Don’t forget to use the VIP list to create a better-informed example of the customer type you should be going after for new sales too.
Step Five – Drip, Drip
Staying in touch with your customers helps with that alignment. It shows you care.
The best way is with what’s called a drip campaign.
This can be an automated, scheduled messaging event that goes out to them. The best part is that you can segment this with different categories. Maybe you want to reach out to your best embroidery customers with one type of message, but your customers that only order screenprinting with another. If you produce orders for youth athletics, one type of marketing can be focused on boys, another for girls.
The trick is that you have to start on this. The campaigns won’t create themselves.
What are you waiting for?
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everyone in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton
“The first step in exceeding customer expectations is to know those expectations.” – Roy H. Williams
“The well-satisfied customer will bring the repeat sale that counts.” – James Cash Penny
Production Manager Tool
From day one, we’ve been devoted to making InkSoft the most useful tool for printing and customization professionals across the industry. While thousands of users are growing their businesses with InkSoft Stores and the Design Studio, we know we still have a lot of work to do to help print shops run more efficiently.
The next big step is a production management tool. We want to bring InkSoft full circle by providing a powerful way for you to streamline production and communication, ultimately boosting profitability and reducing costly mistakes. Not to mention, solving the challenges outlined in this article.