“The golden rule for every business man is this: Put yourself in your customer’s place.” – Orison Swett Marden.
So, I think by now everyone knows that generally, it is easier and more cost efficient to keep an old customer than it is to get a new one. Taking into consideration the pain of switching costs for your customers, they will be inclined to stay with you – until your competitor offers them a sweet enough deal to overcome that pain. So, how to balance your business needs (like how much you’ll do to keep a customer) with customer retention?
Well, putting yourself in your customer’s place is a good start. You aren’t an autonomous being; you are also a customer. So, what does it take to keep you as a customer? What do you want from your suppliers, your child’s daycare center, your bank, your utility company, your cable provider? Are you easily swayed by an introductory offer, or will you stay with a company that treats you well and offers a reasonable price? Will you put up with being treated like crap in exchange for a super cheap deal? Will you pay extra for red carpet treatment? When considering your core customer base, think about what their concerns are. Some people want that red carpet service on a budget – can you provide that? If not, don’t you dare promise it. Under promise and over deliver.
What about things that are very occasional? Like a real estate agent or carpet installer? Just because the transaction is done doesn’t mean that you stop being a customer – you just move more to the experienced reference side of the customer experience. What do these occasional providers need to do for you to recommend them to friends and family (or better still, how far can they go before you warn your friends and family)? My real estate agent was wonderful, and she was a reference from a friend in the area. I will recommend her to my friends when they are looking to buy or sell.
When you are working with customers, remember what it is like to be one. Teach anyone who works for your company to remember what it is like to be a customer, and to keep in mind how they would want their friends and family to be treated.