Today I want to talk a little bit about Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The single most important business partner you can have is your customer, and if you don’t nurture and manage your relationships with your customers, they may not come back.
In a previous post, One Simple Reason to Love Your Customers, I cited an example of an extremely happy customer based on some very positive customer service practices. In this post, I want to give you more examples of what you should do to keep your customers happy, therefore increasing the likelihood of them becoming repeat customers.
Why Should I Care About CRM?
Here are some reasons why you should care about losing your customers, found in the BusinessCoach.com article, “The high cost of losing a customer.” The statistics were provided by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs.
It costs about 5 times more to acquire a new customer then to keep an old one, so you are better off giving your customers a pleasant experience from the beginning than to simply focus on making the sale.
Eight to 16 people will hear about a single customer’s negative experience with the company. In general, people are far more likely to share negative experiences then positive ones, so be sure to keep customers as happy as possible.
For every customer that complains, 26 remain silently unsatisfied.
Of all your unhappy customers, 91% will never buy from you again.
How to Keep Your Current Customers
Now that I’ve hopefully got your attention as to why customer relationship management is so important, the following are some DO’s and DONT’s for how you can be sure that your customers have the ultimate buying experience and become a frequent repeat buye
DONT forget to mention extra charges for services. For example, a hotel I recently stayed out had a reasonable nightly rate, but failed to mention mandatory overnight parking fees, fees for internet access, a fee for the use of the vault in the room, etc.
DO offer discounts or coupons from those who have already purchased from you. If you follow up a customer order with a coupon or other promotion, it will encourage the habit of buying repeatedly from your company. For example, I was emailed a coupon for free shipping on my next order shortly after my purchase from an online site of a department store. The best part is that there was no minimum purchase in order to use this coupon.
DO pleasantly surprise your customer. Send your customer offers or promotions when they least expect it, such as during the checkout process. Perhaps upgrade their order to expediting shipping for no charge. Or reward them with 5% off the total of their next order after they have spent a certain amount on your products. This will encourage them to look forward to your emails, and opt to order from you rather than your competitor.
DO offer shipping discounts often. The lower the cost of shipping is, the more likely the customer is to purchase. Overstock’s low, all the time shipping price of $2.95 is an excellent example. If a competitor has a comparable price, but shipping costs more, I’d purchase from Overstock.
DO suggest related items available for purchase. Amazon does a great job of this, emailing its customers with automatically generated suggested products, based on past purchases and items viewed or added to the customer’s wish list or shopping cart. This works particularly well with books or games, as you will most likely be notified when a new book / game is released that fits well with the types of books/ games you are interested in.
DON’T suggest too often. Amazon is sometimes an example of this, as well.
DON’T forget about your customer service. Ensure that, if your customer service line is automated and asks you to “press 1 for this…”, there is an option for the person to go straight to an operator. Sometimes the customer’s situation will not fit in the neat categories of 1, 2, or 3. Train your customer service representatives to be calm and understanding. Instruct them to perhaps pass the call to a higher level manager if they become frustrated and close to becoming rude= i.e. “If it’s alright with you, I would like to refer you to my supervisor, who may be able to fulfill your requests more quickly.
DON’T restrict your customer service reps to ONLY say what’s in the scripts. Customers do not want to talk to machines. They sometimes need people.
DO offer good faith gestures if a customer is extremely unhappy. Allow customer service representatives to offer partial refunds or discounts for future purchases as a good faith gesture.
Pay attention to the little things in order to satisfy your customers and keep them coming back for more. Your customers will be happier, referring more customers and decreasing your need to use your own funds to acquire new customers to replace the ones who left you.
More Customer Service Suggestions
Do You Hate Your Customers– Seven Cardinal Customer Service Crimes posted on the Freelance Folder blog.
Killer Customer Service – The top retailers based on their customer service, as well as some good and bad customer service stories!
Marketing to New Clients– some great advice on how to specifically market to and keep your new clients coming back for more.
Do you have any suggestions for nurturing your customers? How do you keep your customers from leaning towards and/ or moving to your competitors? Leave a comment with your addition to the list!