Customer service is key to client retention Email
Tuesday, May 26, 2015 08:00 PM


 Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.netYour company spends time, effort, and money to attract new clients to your business. Increasing your customer base is often a priority. But are you remembering to take care of the customers already in your portfolio?

It’s easier to keep a current client than it is to recruit a new one. We’ve all been asked at the check-out stand, “Do you need socks to go with those pants you’re buying?” or “Would you like fries with that?” Increasing business with your current customers can be a great way to grow your company.

According to The Chartered Institute of Marketing, it’s cheaper, too. Estimates vary, but acquiring a new customer can often cost more than four times the cost of customer retention (some estimates can be as high as 10 times).

When it comes to retaining customers, it’s about more than money—it’s about customer service. When asked why they changed vendors, more customers (83%) cited “poor customer service” over quality or price. They also named good customer service as the primary reason for loyalty to a company. In a survey by American Express, 78% of consumers admitted that they have abandoned a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.

A Harvard Business School study noted: “the high cost of acquiring customers renders many customer relationships unprofitable during their early years. Only in later years, when the cost of serving loyal customers falls and the volume of their purchases rises, do relationships generate big returns. The bottom line: Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%." The White House Office of Consumer Affairs goes so far as to say that loyal customers are worth, on average, up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.

So how do you keep customers and increase their business? Some recommended strategies include:

  1. Get to know your customer. Understand your customers’ needs so that you are offering them services they are more likely to purchase. Make notes about what you learn, so that when you contact them about future business, you can make appropriate recommendations and be a trustworthy expert on whom they can rely for the best advice for their landscape. Personalize your communications when possible—don’t offer them something they don’t need.
  2. Engage with customers. Whether you’re active on Facebook, sharing landscape ideas on Pinterest, or hosting a barbecue for current clients, it’s important to develop relationships. Speaking with customers—and, more importantly, listening to them—will help you get to know them and anticipate their needs (see item 1).
  3. Give them a reason to be loyal. Sometimes you have to give in order to get. Incentives such as referral rewards, coupons/discounts, or other freebies reward repeat customers for their business and make them feel appreciated.

It all comes down to relationships. Cultivate those you already have, and you’ll be rewarded with loyalty. You might even earn some new relationships based on valuable word-of-mouth.

Learn more about customer service and cultivating relationships at ALCC's CEO Exchange: Managing Customer Expectations. It takes place Friday, June 12 in Denver. Visit the ALCC events calendar for details or to register.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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