I know a lot of you reading this are entrepreneurs and small business owners, so I want to focus this post on how to improve your business during this difficult upcoming year.
As the economy continues to struggle, 2009 is shaping up to be a tough year for entrepreneurs. There will be many hurdles to clear, but by sticking to the basics, we’ll be able to persevere. That’s why I want to talk about client retention. Sure, it’s a fairly basic concept to small business owners, but it’s something I believe will be of chief importance over the next year. Let’s face it: clients are looking to cut spending wherever they can. You need to make sure you aren’t left by the wayside as they slash their budgets.
One of the best ways to keep clients coming back is to market your services to them. After all, they already know who you are and they’ve worked with you before, so convincing them of your value shouldn’t be that hard. Of course, you might be tempted to scale back on your marketing during this recession. Don’t! Now is actually the best time for marketing. While many of your competitors shrink away, you can send your message loud and clear. Not only will it help keep you visible during this downturn, but it also sends the message that your company can be trusted to not cave during the toughest of circumstances.
Fulfill Your Promises
Is there anything more disappointing than someone who overpromises and under-delivers? Never make a promise you can’t keep. It damages your credibility, and it ruins your chances of retaining a client. This is Customer Service 101: if you tell your client you’re going to do something for them, do it.
Find New Ways to Connect with Your Customers
Why do some consumers stay married to brands for life? Sure, the quality of the product has something to do with it, but that’s far from the only thing that matters. It’s because they feel connected to the brand. Quality relationships are built when two parties connect on a personal level. That’s why it’s important for you to find ways to connect with your customers. The rise of social media presents an exciting new way to build relationships with your clientele. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are just a few of the simple ways to cultivate your consumer relationships. The stronger your bond is with a client, the likelier it is they’ll continue to purchase from you.
Value their Opinion
If a client feels appreciated, they’ll be more likely to become a loyal customer. One way to show your customers how much you value them is to solicit feedback from them. Ask them what you can do to improve your service to them. Have them rate the quality of your service and products so that you can understand where you need to improve. Showing your clients that you value their opinion can go a long way to improving your client retention.
As 2009 continues to bring tough times, what are you going to do to improve your client retention? Share your tips in the replies!