Finding new customers can be an expensive and time consuming process. You need to figure out where to advertise to reach them, build up brand awareness, and then persuade them to trust you enough that they’ll hand over their money to you. You could invest in thousands of ad impressions, get a lot of visitors and a fair few calls and emails, but end up seeing only a handful of sales for all your work. Depressing, isn’t it?
That’s why it’s so important to look after your existing customers. You’ve already built up brand awareness and trust with them, so they’re much more likely to buy your product, or hire your services again. What can you do to keep your existing customers happy?
Rewarding loyalty doesn’t have to mean starting your own loyalty card or points scheme, although you could do something like that if you run an online store that attracts a lot of smaller, repeat purchases. There are other things you can do. Offer a special discount to people who have purchased from you recently, or give your regular customers some little “added extras” with your next order. If you have a customer that has been buying from you regularly for a long time, send them a token gift to commemorate their 50th purchase. It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you show your customers that you appreciate them.
Prioritize Customer Service
Good customer service should be your top priority from the outset; not only because quality customer service is an important part of crisis prevention, but because the quality of your customer service will be noticed during good times too. People don’t always call customer service with a complaint – sometimes they call with a question, or even to leave a compliment. You don’t want to sour the tone of a happy customer by having their first interaction with your customer service department be 25 minutes of hold music.
Communicate When Things Go Wrong
No matter how carefully crafted your crisis prevention plan is, it’s inevitable that one day, something will go horribly wrong, and the effectiveness of your business crisis management skills will be tested. When that day comes, you want to make sure that you win your customers over. Most people will be understanding when they find out that there’s a problem – as long as you communicate effectively and work with your customer to fix the problem in the best way for both of you. Be open, honest, and flexible, and you could earn yourself a valuable ally thanks to your communication skills.
Dealing with faceless corporations is not pleasant. The simple act of being human, and treating your customers as humans (rather than entries in a CRM database) will inspire loyalty in a lot of people. It’s easy to get caught up in paperwork, invoices, spreadsheets, and crisis prevention plans when you’re running a business. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your customers are real people, and that sometimes a personal touch is appreciated.