Memorable marketing solutions exclusively for small businesses in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire    Dec 2007

 

 

 

Keeping customers loyal ...

Precise figures vary by industry, but its seems generally accepted that it costs something like 7-10 times more to find and do business with a new customer than it does to do business with an existing one. 

Looks like building a customer retention programme should be top of your list of things to do!  Here's a couple of tips ...

Keep in touch

A good start point to building a customer retention programme is to look at communication.  How often (if at all) do you communicate with your existing customers? Is it regular or haphazard? What type of communication takes place? Is it you communicating with them or them communicating with you?

I ask many business people these type of questions and it never ceases to astound me how many only communicate with their customers through invoices!  You can just imagine how valued the customer feels.

Setting out a programme of communications to existing customers is not difficult.  It just takes a bit of time and some lateral thinking.  Once you've planned what type of communication is suitable and how often it can be used without being annoying, then you must absolutely stick to it.  I see many communication programmes created with the best of intentions lapse after only two or three months due to 'pressure of the day job'.

It's very rare that I meet people who complain that their suppliers over communicate ... though many do complain that suppliers miscommunicate, i.e. send irrelevant material.

A communication programme created with care for your customers will pay for itself many times over in incremental business.  Incremental business that doesn't cost the 7-10 times premium of finding a new customer.

Preferential service

Whilst keeping in touch with your customers is a great idea, in itself it's not enough to keep them loyal.

The biggest swinger in the customer loyalty stakes is the quality of product and service that you supply.  That's probably why they bought from you in the first place.

So why not make sure that your existing customers always get the very best service?  That's not to say that you should give new customers a poor service, but maybe you could offer something extra to existing ones.  How about extended payment terms? How about loyalty-based price discounts?  How about earlier access to new products?

There are lots of areas of preferential service that you could offer to existing customers that wouldn't make your offer to new customers uncompetitive.  And once the new customers buy regularly from you, they can then get offered the 'extras' too.

A warning though - beware of overt customer loyalty schemes.  These breed loyalty to the scheme rather than the supplier.  As soon as the scheme is retired, the loyalty evaporates and is often redirected to another supplier's scheme.

Consistently giving the best customer experience is the surest way to generate true customer loyalty.

Memorable marketing

Thinking and working pragmatically like this will help you to make your marketing work better for you in a more memorable way. This means that your target customers will be able to differentiate your products and services from those of your competitors and clearly see the value in buying from you.

If you would like some advice on memorable marketing techniques for your own business, or you know someone at another business who might need help, then please contact Adduce Marketing. The sooner you start, the sooner you will benefit.

 

Customer Loyalty

Download this handy guide which explains how to get the best from utilising Direct Mail in order to improve business effectiveness.

Written by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as part of their Directors' Briefing series, this document makes easy reading for business people of all experience levels.

 

Marketing Effectiveness Assessment

A free service to small businesses in the Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire area, the Marketing Effectiveness Assessment delivers a professional audit of how a business is using the tools of marketing to communicate to existing and potential customers. It also includes a series of simple and cost-effective marketing activities that the business can implement immediately and at low cost.

Download the factsheet now.

 

Useful Links ...

Adduce Marketing

Chartered Institute of Marketing

Marketing UK (information portal)