According to Wikipedia the definition of customer retention is, the activity that a selling organization undertakes in order to reduce customer defections.
A company’s ability to attract and retain new customers, is not only related to its product or services, but strongly related to the way it services its existing customers and the reputation it creates within and across the marketplace.
I’ve encountered very few companies who actually live up to that definition.
But as a consumer it only takes a little bit of effort to make me a happy customer.
Here are 5 ways companies can improve customer retention and make me a life long fan.
Find out what a customer really wants (aka listen)
I can count on one hand the number of times a company has asked for my opinion or feedback about a product.
Normally they only care to listen once there is a problem, and by then it’s almost too late.
How can they know what I really want or need if they don’t the time to engage me as customer?
By taking 5 minutes to ask me what I’m looking for and really listening, a company can (and has) completely win me over.
Immediately respond to a customer’s feedback and complaints
We can all spot an automated response or message to a problem, pretty easily.
I’m actually pretty shocked when I get a real person to address my issue, even if it’s just to say they will get back with me soon.
An immediate response to my request or other feedback is a surefire way to make me a loyal customer for life.
Take it one step further by hedging any problems in the first place.
By fixing a complaint before it even happens, a company shows they aren’t just interested in making money.
Make a personal and engaging connection
Social media isn’t going anywhere, so as a business you might as well deal with it, accept it and capitalize on it.
There’s no super tips for making money on Twitter or Facebook, all you need to do is be SOCIAL.
And I’m not talking about just spamming me with your latest product every 5 minutes.
Create social engagement and get people involved.
I’ve met several companies through social media and have really connected with the face behind the brand.
I feel these representatives are truly engaging and interested in my success.
In return I want to do business with them.
Admit mistakes and accept responsibility
Most of the time I don’t care who’s at fault or what happened, I just want the problem fixed.
But I do not like to be blamed for an issue that was clearly not my fault.
Businesses are run by humans, and humans make mistakes.
Accept responsibility and work towards finding a solution.
With blogs, Facebook accounts and the Internet in general, consumers have multiple media platforms to express their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction).
As a company you never know who your serving, and losing that person’s business might have a bigger effect than you realize.
You can create a loyal follower or a vocal enemy.
Go above and beyond
This is a fairly simple idea but it can have profound affects.
The car company BMW, for instance, has a very special way of thanking their customers.
If you purchase one of their vehicles, you can receive the Century BMW VIP Performance Driving & Tour package, a $2,000 value!
This package includes airfare or train transportation, hotel accommodations, a personalized tour throughout the factory in Germany and manufacturing plant.
At the end of the day you can pick up your vehicle and drive a victory lap around the museum.
Now, THAT is some serious customer service.
After an experience like that, I’m sure all of us would become BMW driver’s for life.
The bottom line
As customers we just want to be treated with respect and that our opinions matter.
We work hard for our money and try to spend it as wisely as possible.
Great customer service skills are quickly being forgotten but it doesn’t take much to keep buyers happy.
All it really takes is to act like you care, show your face behind the brand, listen and be engaging.