These tips come from Anita Zinsmeister at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. These are outstanding and I am happy to promote Dale Carnegie and share them with you. [To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com]
In today’s competitive business environment, it is important to focus on building stronger relationships with existing clients. To help you in your efforts, we have compiled 9 tips that will turn your existing clients into proactive advocates for your business.
9 Tips To Help Improve Your Organization’s Customer Retention Efforts:
1. Ask Top Clients To Serve On Your Board – Assigning your top or most creative clients to your board will give you access to top-level thinking. They may come up with ideas that you never thought of or did not think were important enough to implement.
2. Before You Offer A New Product Or Service, Invite Clients To Test It (At A Discounted Price) – Clients want to have an influence on your business. Exclusive “invitation only” programs are an excellent way to give them that ability. As a bonus, such programs will save you time by acting as beta tests. Client feedback will help you either fine-tune the deliverables or decide to dismiss them all together.
3. Connect Clients Who Share Similar Interests – If you know a client who can fill another client’s need, put the two in touch. You will look like a hero and foster a sense of friendship and trust in the process.
4. Give Your Clients Added Value – Reward your clients on occasion by giving them something special, like 2-for-1 deals, dollar or percentage discounts, free or discounted design services and so on.
5. Investigate Your Own Company – Test your customer service by hiring a third party to pose as a prospective buyer. Afterwards, ask them about their experience. Their answers will help you refine your strategies for dealing with new clients.
6. Know Your Competition – If you forget to watch your competitors, you risk falling disastrously behind. Google your competition, visit their website and call them up as if you were a prospective buyer. What you learn will provide you with valuable information for your business.
7. Pay Attention To Existing Clients – Make a point every day of calling a client and asking them, “How can we improve your experience with us?” Also, spend more time with your clients via seminar, marketing workshops or special affairs. The more connected you are with your customer base, the more they will advocate for you.
8. Remember The Customer Is Always Right – Practicing this philosophy can be tough, especially with difficult customers. No matter what, work on making a client happy.
9. Send Your Clients Articles That Will Interest Them – Your clients like to know you have their best interest in mind. Make an effort to send them articles that are relevant to their business or industry. This simple gesture will help create a much more loyal customer base.
Executive Summary: Word-of-mouth advertising is the most powerful advertising there is. However, it will not exist for your business unless your clients trust and believe in you. Make sure your clients hold you in high esteem and they will not only tell people about you, but also buy from you repeatedly.
[To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com]