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Is looking for new customers your top priority? [Why it shouldn't be]

Looking for customers

Most companies I consult for cite the challenge of acquiring new customers. While it is very challenging to reach, nurture and convert customers today given the change in buyer sentiment and a noisy market, there is a flip side approach to growing your business.

Customer retention and loyalty should be your key priority.

Without a doubt, converting leads to customers is not easy – but your efforts can pay off if you focus on the ultimate goal – retention. Delighting and retaining your customers has never been more critical in today's competitive business environment.

Given that potentially up to 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers, and the cost of customer acquisition is so much higher than retaining them, the big question is; what are you doing to create ultra-loyal customers who keep coming back to you?

Here’s a few helpful tips:

1.The purchase follow-up:

The transaction should be the beginning of the new journey. The real fortune is in the follow-up! Check in occasionally to find out how they are doing using your product.

Give regular tips and tricks on how to get the best out of the product or service. Offer help before your customers ask for it. Show that you care about achieving their goals and not just about selling your product or service.

This creates a powerful perception about your brand and goes a long way in building a positive customer relationship and yes, loyalty.

2. Surprise and delight

We all love surprises when we get them, but how often do we give our existing customers a surprise?

When it comes to nurturing your customers, think of a valuable offer that you can offer them – without their knowledge.

Surprises come suddenly. They’re not planned. Surprise packages or offers don’t have to cost you a fortune.

Jawbone sends a handwritten note to its customers and they absolutely love it, because it shows how much the brand values them, since they could take out time to write to every customer manually.

Zappos put a surprise gift in repeat purchases, they also occasionally send a celebrity to deliver shows to their customers. Imagine the social currency they get from doing this and how much does this cost them?

Sometime just a non-salesy call to say hi does an amazing job to re-engage existing customers. These random check-ins, add a human dimension to your business and shows that you really care about their success.

If you want your customers to stay and build trust with your brand, then you should get beyond the normal service or product that you offer.

Many companies create a frequent communication calendar to keep in touch with their regular customers, a great idea.

3. Turn your customers into your marketers!

By providing great after sales value in the form of useful and helpful information, you are building a long-term relationship with your regulars. Today, that’s easy with automation and smart surveys.

By seeing that you are helping their business grow and playing a part in achieving their goals, you are top of mind for them and the best part; they do your marketing for you, spreading that valuable word of mouth.

A recent survey indicated that organizations that relate with their customers more than 10x a year have 300% more profit more than those that lost contact with their customers. We are talking about great customer lifetime value here.

So, are you thinking of your customers as your marketing team? You should be! Engage with your existing customers and see what happens to your business.

4. Learn from customer complaints

Do you typically shy away from customers who complain?

On the contrary, you should run to them. This group of customers who complain (to you or to others) are your greatest marketing asset.

It’s through complaints that you get to know the shortcomings in your products and services. Complaints reveal what you should improve in your business and what to ignore.

It’s in customer complaints that you know what your customers care about, and what they expect from your products and services.

Your 'haters' will be your most loyal customers once you help them and solve their problem. 80-90% of customers who have had a bad experience just leave, The ones who complain care enough about your brand to do so.

So, while getting new customers is important, retaining the ones you have should be your top priority.

About the author

Ashok Miranda is a Business Transformation Architect and founder of Transform and Transcend. He is the author of the book: Culling Culturitis, How To Rid Your Company of this Toxic Disease and Build a Winning Company Culture.

As a speaker, consultant and trainer, he is passionately committed to architecting a better business world by building purpose-driven companies that nurture happy and engaged employees and positively impact peoples lives.

He connects the dots between company culture, branding, marketing and customer experience and works with business leaders, owners, founders and HR professionals to transform their companies for success in the digital age.

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