It’s been trendy over the past 20 years to ask that old marketing chestnut:
Who is our target market?
Of course, knowing their demographic – who they are and where they hang out – is a necessary step to finding new customers but in most businesses it’s not the acquisition of a new customer that creates true profit. And as true profit is most often realised after a number of sales, the keeping of a customer is critical for business success.
How to Keep Customers
Retaining customers is dependent upon the building of great relationships and this involves the design and delivery of the right systems. Systems delivered reliably create congruency and safety and it’s commonly said that people do business with people they like.
Design Systems to Keep Customers
To begin the design of a system that focuses on keeping customers there is a new critical question that needs to be asked:
What do we want them to do?
There are five things that a loyal customer does regularly to positively impact a business. By understanding the weaker points of a business it is possible to design a system to create better relationships and encourage customers to return.
In today’s global and technology driven marketplace it’s not enough anymore to be local or found. Consumers have a vast array of options to choose from to satisfy their needs. What is it that can be implemented that will make it easy for them to say yes and buy?
- Pay the bill
One of the problem many small business owners face is getting payment. What system can be implemented that will keep the invoice and terms top of mind? Are the payment terms adequate or should the model or the person handling the job change?
- Come back again
Do you know when you make a true profit from a customer’s sale? That is, profit per sale, after marketing and business costs and other overheads? Is it after the 3rd or 4th sale? If so it is imperative that the customer happily comes back again and again. What system could be put into place to remind them that we are still available to help them solve their problems or satisfy their needs?
- Rave about us to their tribe
The most effective form and lowest cost per lead of marketing is word of mouth, organically expanding our reach through advocacy. Internal customers, such as staff and stakeholders can also be company advocates, inviting their tribe to also become loyal. What systems encourage word of mouth referrals?
- Forgive us when we make a mistake
The systems that make it easy for customers to forgive when mistakes are made are among the Million Dollar Relationship team’s favourite processes to put into place. Having a sorry system allows a business to take measured risks in creating change and, at the same time, creates an opportunity to further enhance the relationships.
It’s true that people run businesses and that people build relationships, both in business and outside of it, but it’s the design and application of processes and systems that creates a safe and congruent experience, promoting trust and encouraging loyalty. The major greeting card manufacturers of the world understand this, which is why days such as Mother’s Days, Father’s Days and Anniversaries will never go out of fashion. People like to be reminded regularly that they are important and wanted.
The systems in successful businesses also remind internal and external customers that they are important and valued, creating armies of advocates, fun workplaces and rewarding experiences but they need to be run consistently to create safety and encourage loyalty.
What systems do you have in place to keep customers?