The current market is tumultuous. As businesses look to stabilize staffing, revenue, and partnerships as banks and markets falter, the best way to do that is to retain your existing customers. Studies have shown that, depending on your industry, acquiring new customers is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing customers. With the proliferation of solutions in the market, customers become much more transactional. If your solution looks like it has the same features as a bigger brand who has a larger SEO budget than you, you’ll likely lose the game—unless you can establish strong brand loyalty.
Improve customer relationships
Customer relationships should be founded on mutual respect and understanding. When customers feel like they are being sold to, they recognize it. Often, their first instinct is to run the other way.
Instead of looking to sell your customers, focus on building value for customers that solve their problems. You’ve already built a great solution. They know it (or else they wouldn't have purchased your product) and you know it. But in the middle of daily decisions, it can be difficult to remember why you entered into a partnership.
So how do you help customers remember how excited they were when they first purchased?
Focus on Shared Core Values
Your product initially stood out to your customer amongst a myriad of other solutions. Do they remember what those reasons were? How are you helping them understand why you aren’t just a good business choice, but also a key partner?
McKinsey has some great ideas on making sure your partnership succeeds; however, you need to maintain that relationship.When a relationship has plateaued, consider the following ways to strengthen your relationship:
- Create a shared social media campaign
- Plan a case study highlighting your product
- Create a product offering utilizing their complimentary skills
- Find another way to solve a key problem of the company
- Schedule a time to discuss the relationship
- Ask for or provide an introduction to another organization
- Be clear about your business goals and ask them to share theirs
Executing successfully on any one of these items will remind customers why your product is special, why your company is inspiring, and why your product adds value, even when other options are available.
Actively Solicit Feedback
Keeping a pulse on customers can be tricky. While NPS scores can be helpful in identifying general trends. Qualtrics reported that, “a good survey response rate ranges between 5% and 30%. An excellent response rate is 50% or higher.” Realize that when high percentages of customers fail to complete an NPS surveys, you are missing vital feedback. Choose instead to dig in with a personal invitation to ask questions on a call.
Given the opportunity to talk frankly with customers yields great insights—when you ask the right questions. SurveyMonkey recommends the following five questions to get the information you need:
- What can our company do to better serve your needs?
- How satisfied are you with our products/services?
- What value do we provide?
- What are your biggest challenges?
- Why did you choose us over the competition?
Asking to record the conversation can also pay off. These videos become helpful to share with teams. Hearing straight from a customer is much more impactful for teams than a synopsis of the issue. These can also be great for testimonials for your web site or social media.
Share Important Causes
The largest purchasing group in the market right now love cause-based purchases. Millennials purchase products that align with their personal views from companies that communicate their desire to make the world a better place. That trust must be constantly maintained. With millennials, it is not enough to make an initial claim. According to a 10 year study through the Case Foundation, 90% of millennials would stop giving to an organization if they begin distrusting it.
So how do you keep the attention of millennials? Speak about how your company helps social issues.
Spend some time thinking about social causes that you can influence. Peter Economy shared that “To a degree not seen in any previous generation, millennials see themselves in the shoes of others who don’t look like them, speak the same language, have the same education, or come from the same background—perhaps because of their high level of diversity.” If you are going to be successful, start thinking like a millennial.
Some ideas to consider include:
- Inclusivity: Do your solutions include others?
- Accessibility: Can people access information about your products and services easily?
- Human trafficking prevention: Do you donate to or help prevent trafficking in all its forms?
- Environmental and sustainability issues: Are your products truly green, or being greenwashed?
Sharing your stance on these types of issues is much more likely to increase your company’s bottom line than pumping extra dollars into generalized social media campaigns or commercials. When you give people opportunities to see what is important to you, it helps them create a relationship with you, even when you can’t have direct conversations with them.
If you need more inspiration, find one of the 17 UN goals and see if there is something meaningful your company can contribute towards these aims. Often, there are things you are already doing to support these goals—you just are sharing what actions you are taking.
So get out there! Use your influence to make the world a better place, and have a little fun along the way. Using your influence helps you build your brand, strengthen your relationships with customers and partners, and also find people to help you make a difference.
As always, including your customers in the conversation yields insights that can be transformational for your business. Any chance to understand the problems your customers have will help not only build a better relationship, but also a better product.
As you make these moves you may find that you need some assistance or inspiration. If you do, Liiingo will be here to help you share your story.