Did you watch the Rugby World Cup in 2003 where Jonny Wilkinson kicked that winning drop goal? Exciting, wasn’t it. But that kick did not happen by chance.
As Sir Clive Woodward said when he was training the England Rugby Team to victory, you don’t have to be 100% better than your competition, you just have to be 10% better in the key performance indicators. And translated into business that means – be better in the things your customers care about.
So, where do you start and what are the key things that matter most to your customers? In no particular order, here are 5 of the elements that I have found make the biggest impact on customer retention:
So, how can you make your service that bit better than your competitors? If you have regular customers, I would recommend starting recording as much information as possible from each and every visit. Then build in time so that all members of staff can refer to it before each appointment and update afterwards.
This is just one simple way to can make your service unique and appear to be much better that your competitors. There are many others. It would be worth having a brainstorming session with your staff/partner/friends to come up with other (with no or little cost) ideas. I’m sure you’ll surprise yourselves.
2. Reward regular customers
It doesn’t have to be a huge reward – just a simple means of thanking people for coming back regularly.
This might mean giving them a gift, a discount for another service or product or even a coffee while they are being served.
Be inventive and look for ways to delight your customers without it costing you anything at all.
Customers, particularly regular paying customers, welcome being asked for their opinion. So, if you’re thinking of introducing a new product or service, try asking your customers what they think. You might be surprised and it might save you some time, effort and money.
They may suggest alterations to your plan which would make it better or more useful for your customers.
They may even come up with some suggestions you would never have even considered!
Getting to know your customers better in this way will allow you to really target your marketing efforts which will inevitably result in them spending more with you over the longer term.
Time well spent!
4. Keep it New
One of the reasons people change suppliers is boredom – thinking they may be better off somewhere else. To counter this and to keep your service personalised and fresh, try to do something new each month. Some examples of ‘new’ are:
Changing your window/counter display
New format price list
New products or services
And when you’ve come up with something new, don’t forget to tell your customers about it. Which brings us onto….
5. Keep In Contact
There are many reasons why people stop using your product or service and it may seem like it’s out of your control. But there are many effective things you can do to encourage people to come back.
Contacting them on a regular basis is a good way of keeping ‘You’ somewhere near the top of their mind. It doesn’t always have to be a sales message; it could be information that would be relevant to them. The point is to have some method of contacting your customers in place. One of the fastest way of doing that is to start collecting numbers, email and physical addresses.
(By the way, if you keep records of your customers on your computer, it’s important to register with the Information Commissioners Office. It’s not difficult but it is necessary if you’re in the UK.)
Every business should have a list of it’s customers and preferably its leads as well, does yours?
And to conclude…
So while you might not be training for the World Cup, it is worth implementing at least some of these suggestions. The thing is to do it on a sustainable basis. Plan how you can keep up with whatever you decide to implement before starting.
That way, your competitors won’t know what hit them!