How do I retain customers?

There are many examples of companies that have lost existing customers because they took their business for granted while focusing on getting more new customers.  How can you avoid this happening in your company?

The first step is not to listen to consultants like me. We may have opinions and experience but we don’t have a magic bullet. It’s vital to know more about your own customers first. A good start point is to understanding why companies became your customers in the first place. This gives you a base of things to keep doing. You also need to understand more about how customers regard their relationship with you now.

Not Sales

The obvious function to gather this type of customer feedback are Sales but, they are also the worst people to do it.  They are too close to the action and have too much to lose from negative comments.  You could use Marketing or even employees in HR if they have the skills. If you don’t have the expertise in-house to both create the right questions and know what to do with answers you might just have to hire a consultant like me.

What do your  staff think?

Whatever your approach my advice is to ask your own staff how they think customers will rate their relationship with your company before talking to customers. When you have the results then go out and ask customers what they really think. Comparing the answers that staff thought customer would give to what customers actually said can prove very salutary. Perhaps more importantly it reinforces to your staff what customers really care about and they buy-in much more easily to any changes that have to be made because they have been part of the process.

These changes could both encourage existing customers to stay and buy more but in many cases they also presents opportunities to reduce cost by stopping doing things that customers do not value.  Get it right and your company will not only retain more customers but also find it easier to get new ones.


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