For the majority of successful business players in the South West, the customer sits at the heart of their business.
It is this commitment to customer service that keeps these businesses at the top of their game.
Established, high performing businesses appreciate that customer retention is critical.
They understand that when customers trust the company they are buying from and, when they have experienced great customer service, they are more likely to return and buy more – or indeed refer the business within their own network.
Businesses typically invest significant time and effort to get new customers through the door, so why let all that effort go to waste? Retaining customers makes sense!
So, what should businesses across the South West be going to retain their customers?
Here are our top five tips!
Sales Tip Number One: Understand your Customer Journey
Providing a positive journey, which is clearly mapped and which makes your customer feel valued, is one of the most important ways of retaining your customers.
Map out each element of your sales cycle and understand the nature of customer interaction at each point and the experience they are likely to have during these interactions. Are there any points in this cycle that need to be improved or made easier for your customer? Is this journey clear and easy for them to navigate?
Sales Tip Number Two: Check out your Brand Touchpoints
Your branding touchpoints provide you with an opportunity to reinforce your customer service, to provide useful information to your customer and to continue your contact.
Review your sales cycle again and identify the brand touchpoints. Are they providing value, or are they likely to irritate your customer? Do they provide an opportunity for your customer to understand your services better?Are the 'call to actions' clear and are they likely to motivate a response?
Sales Tip Number Three: Take Advantage of the Unexpected!
It's simple, customers who feel valued become loyal customers.
Consider the actions you can take to make your customers feel appreciated. For example, (and depending on the product), you may wish to send a handwritten 'thank you' post card after they have made a purchase. Or you may wish to run a monthly raffle for customers with a small gesture, such as a bottle of wine, for the winner.
These efforts will go a long way to ensuring your customers recommend you within their network.
Sales Tip Number Four: Forage for Feedback!
Customer feedback is an essential source of information to help your business become the best it can be. By demonstrating to your customer that you value their opinion, this in turn helps to reinforce your relationship.
If you feel that your customer is dissatisfied, then call them to discuss their situation in more detail. A dissatisfied customer needn't be a 'lost' customer. By prioritising their feedback and making the effort to put things right, you may still be able to retain their loyalty and custom going forward. If this feedback is proffered via an online medium, then be quick to respond in a positive and proactive way.
Sales Tip Number Five: Analyse, Analyse and Analyse!
Repeat business metrics should be measured and reported regularly. Have actions in place to help grow this figure. Depending on the types of product or service you offer, these efforts might take shape in marketing campaigns, phone calls or even face to face visits.
If the % of repeat business climbs, then great, you're doing something right and should build further upon this. However, if this metric starts to fall, then you need to dig deep into possible causes. Go back to square one and check key areas such as the customer journey, the likely customer experience and branding touch points. Review any campaigns you may have recently run and, at each point, ask yourself how these activities might be perceived by the customer. Where you identify possible issues, then action solutions that should turn them around. Whatever happens, don't leave an obvious decline to fester.
If your team would benefit from customised business sales training to improve the way you retain your customers, then contact the South West training team. Our expert trainers deliver training across the South West region, including Cornwall, Dorset, Devon and Somerset. Whether you're in Bude, Torquay, Bath, Bridport, Exeter, Yeovil or Ringwood, we have trainers on your doorstep!
Photo by Jopwell