Remember When You Had “Customers for Life”?

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Remember When You Had “Customers for Life”?

Encourager-In-Chief: February 13th, 2019

Customer retention does NOT have to be costly.

Today’s blog is written by my guest speaker, Karen Saxe. Karen will be presenting her seminar, “Building No-Cost And Low-Cost Customer Retention”, on February 28, 2019 at the Comfort Suites in Manheim.

There was a time, in what seems like the distant past, when consumer loyalty meant something. You had the same barber until he retired. You shopped at the same stores until they closed or you moved. You didn’t have choices with your phone companies and utilities, but they never gave you a reason to want to leave them. (Hey, Comcast, you could learn something here)!

But today, companies have little loyalty to their employees or their customers. Employees have little loyalty to their employers. So, why should we expect consumers to feel loyalty to a company or brand?

Today’s technology lets you push a few buttons on your mobile device and receive your product in seconds, hours, or a day, often at less than you would pay at a brick-and-mortar location. In this instant gratification world, what is a business to do?

Customer retention is a critical business metric. The latest numbers show it costs FIVE TIMES more to acquire a new customer than to keep one. And, a simple five-percent increase in customer retention can increase your profits by 25 to 95 percent!

With these clear metrics to success, why aren’t more businesses trying to improve their customer retention? I believe there are three answers: they don’t think it is important because they can “just get new customers” (not cost-efficient); they think it is too expensive (not true); or they don’t know how (I can show you).

The short answer? Do something that your competitors don’t do… and it doesn’t have to be expensive!

Let me share a personal example. There are two McDonalds on my way home. I only go to one of them. At that drive-thru, all of the employees say thank you and flash a “Pepsodent Smile” every time! At the other McDonalds, I always felt like I was inconveniencing them when I stopped by to purchase dinner. How much did a “thank you and a smile” cost? Zero. How much money does it make for them? I am sure the answer is a lot!

In another case, a plumbing contractor who wanted to expand his business called my marketing firm. After our initial meeting, my marketing recommendation was simple and inexpensive: return EVERY call within one hour and promote this promise on his company truck. For the cost of a message on his truck and a simple courtesy (no additional cost if he or an employee returned the calls or a small cost for an answering service), he would gain the credibility to keep his current customers coming back and referring their friends. He did not choose to work with me because, “I don’t have time to call people back” and “If I’m busy, I don’t want more customers. If I don’t call them back, they will find someone else.” Instead he chose to work with another firm who charged him thousands of dollars to advertise that he was a plumber and his phone number. They failed to mention that he may or may not call you back.

Lagniappe is a French Creole word that means, “something given as a bonus or gift”. That bonus may be as simple and no-cost as a smile or a return phone call. It may be low-cost “gift with purchase”. It can, of course, be a larger investment, if that makes sense for your business.

What do you do that is different from your competitors? What is your lagniappe?

Let me hear from you!