How Customer Retention Is Like Dating

A little customer love goes a long way in promoting your business

When you think about driving sales and growing your business, if you’re like me, you may find it easy to get tunnel vision: Generate leads, bring in new customers, make the sale! Repeat!

While driving new sales is always a commendable way to spend your time, focusing all your energy on the potential customers out there can result in leaving something important out of the conversation: your existing customers!

Think of it like this: customers who have been into your business already are like someone you are dating. They already said yes to the first date, but you don’t know what the potential of the relationship is yet. It seems promising, but you know that now it’s time to wine and dine them. Put your best foot forward, dress well, brush up on some interesting conversation topics, and get ready to impress!

In a way, customer retention requires that same effort. And when it comes to your bottom line, time spent on customer retention is definitely worth the pay off. Did you know that it can cost 6 to 30 times more to GET a new customer than to KEEP one you already have (and keep them happy?).

So, how do you make sure you’re “romancing” your existing customers to keep them coming back? Here are a few things to put on your list:

  1. Train your employees to be the best, friendliest face of your company possible. Do your employees greet your customers, respect their shopping needs and budgets, and present themselves in a polished and helpful way? Employees who interact with consumers are your front line. Make sure they are all on the same page about what type of experience the organization wants to deliver to the consumer and the feelings or emotions you want them to have after purchasing your product or service.
  2. Let your customers know how you feel. Customers want to be heard and appreciated, so a “thank you” can mean the difference between a one time and lifelong customer. Send a follow up note, or find another creative way to show your appreciation that fits your business’ personality.
  3. Reward your customers for their purchase. Take that “thank you” one step further by offering rewards via loyalty cards or give them a future discount as they check out.
  4. Make it easy for customers to give you feedback. Whether you give them a card to fill out, send a follow up email or get your employees to ask certain questions, gather feedback and pay attention to it. I recently wrote about how to get glowing reviews from your customers, so start there!
  5. Tell your customers what’s going on at your store. This could be deals, new products, new locations, or a charity you’re supporting. Keep them looped in and they’ll feel more invested in your brand. Use social media, email, SMS text and even direct mail to get the word out.

Remember, if a customer leaves with a smile, they’re more likely going to return with one as well! So at the end of the day, you want all customers to feel special.

What do you do to balance “getting” and “keeping” your customers?

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David Domos developed WhyBuyFromYou.com to provide content to help small businesses develop their branding, marketing and sales systems. In the past he held key leadership positions for a fortune 500 company. That company led the market in both sales and brand awareness and David was a significant contributor to its growth. David has been on the Amazon.com best seller list in their Direct Marketing, Communications and Entrepreneurship categories. He is a student of sales, marketing, branding & small business growth, continually focusing on the reason people buy. Follow him on Twitter @WhyBuyFromYou.
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Practical Branding Do It Yourself Tools and Techniques For Building A Powerful Brand Image By David Domos
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