September 25, 2017
What can you do to make sure your customers keep coming back?
You probably already know that the cost of attracting a new customer is many times higher than keeping an existing one.
But until you sit down and work it all out, it is hard to know the true costs.
Especially when you think about the time in marketing, chasing leads, providing quotes, explaining your services, building trust and rapport.
We know it costs us around 30 times more to get a new customer than to retain an existing one – that’s a very scary number.
It leads us to ask, how many customers are we losing each year?
This is one of those things that is hidden unless you make a conscious effort to track it.
It’s great when you are getting a lot of new customers, but not if most of them don’t come back. You are running the risk of being super busy while wondering why your business and bottom line aren’t growing.
For example: two companies looking to build up their annual boiler servicing and both increase their customers by 20 per cent in one year.
If the first company loses 20 per cent of its customers every year, in seven years’ time they will be exactly the same size.
If the second company loses 5 per cent of its customers a year, in seven years’ time they will have doubled their customer base.
I don’t know what the industry standards rates are, but for ourselves we have a renewal rate of 92%. And our goal is to take it to 98%.
For us, the solution hasn’t been just one thing but a number of small changes to our normal workflow.
There are things that any business can do:
Spend half a day calling ex-customers and asking them why they haven’t come back to you.
You might find that they just couldn’t remember your company name.
Create a good customer experience:
• Confirm your appointment and let the customer know when you will be there – ideally as specific a time as possible, not just between 9am and 5pm
• Send a text to let them know you are on your way
• Send a follow-up text or email after doing the job to make sure they are happy
• Send quotes, invoices and certificates quickly.
Give away stickers for boilers, fridge magnets, pens – anything cheap and fun that will stick around the house is good, and helps your customers remember you and find your details easily.
You could leave small gift – One of our supplier leaves a roll of Wine Gums – it’s a bit of fun that makes them really stand out.
Also, after a big job, you could send your customer some chocolates to say thank you for their business. They would definitely remember you and recommend you to others.
Send a monthly newsletter with helpful tips– for example, Five Reasons Why Your Radiator is Cold. You can send up to 2,000 emails to your contacts free using a automated marketing program such as Mailchimp.
Use a software package to remind both you and your customers that a service is due.
The flip side of this process is deciding which customers you want to retain.
You may be perfectly happy with the size of your business as it is. If that’s the case, you’re better off focusing on your best customers, finding out what they love about your service and anything else that would help them.
Over time, as you focus more and more on these customers, you will see the results both in your time and on your bottom line.
The method we have found the best for retaining customers is to provide so much value that they would be crazy to go anywhere else.
Originally Published in Registered Gas Engineer Magazine – Issue 102, September 2017
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