There are three types of existing customers:
- Customers who are thrilled with your product or service
- Customers who are indifferent towards how you performed
- Customers who would never like to do business with you again
The good thing about existing customers is you have already interacted with them, they have experienced, whether in a good manner or in a bad manner, the way you do business, and the initial distance has been eliminated. Retaining your existing customers is far easier than getting new customers for your business.
Take for instance, Apple. Most of its products are grabbed by its existing customers the moment they are released into the market. And these customers are not just buyers, there also evangelists for its products. The company values its existing customers to such an extent that in case there is a part that has broken or become dysfunctional, they immediately change the entire gadget. In the days of social media and social networking, it is your after sales service to your existing customers that gets you more customers rather than directly approaching new customers.
As listed above, there are three types of customers. The first category is always going to do business with you again and again unless you really piss them off or totally ignored them. So let us discuss the second and the third category.
Retaining customers who are indifferent to you
There might be many reasons for such an attitude among this category of customers. They might be indifferent due to their nature. They don’t believe in brand loyalty. They were neither happy nor disappointed with your product. How do you make these customers do business with you repeatedly?
- Be there when they need you: As already mentioned above, the way you deal with your customers after you have sold them something can go a long way in retaining existing customers. Customers all over the world have this impression that once they have become a customer, they are less attractive to the company. You have to dismantle this impression by providing prompt support and service whenever they need it. Make them feel as if they’re a part of the family, that they are always cared for. Since they have become your customers, they are very special to you.
- Offer additional products or services: Most customers that are indifferent to you see no difference in your product and someone else’s product (it can also be services, but for the sake of brevity, let us stick to products). Offer them something extra. Offer them something they cannot get from another vendor. If it is a restaurant, it can be the service or the ambiance you provide, or even some complimentary snacks. If you are a gadget seller, it can be the extra accessories that you can provide. Anything that makes them notice.
- Keep in touch with them: This should be done without annoying people. Wish them on their birthdays and anniversaries. There are many companies who send gifts on New Year or during local festivals to their customers. You can send them tips and tricks in case they have bought a smart phone from you. Occasionally ask them how you can improve your product and after sales service and what other features they would like in your product. This way they will feel involved.
Retaining customers who haven’t had a good experience with you
Under this category further there might be two more categories: customers were not going to like your business no matter what you do, and customers who somehow ended up having a negative experience with you.
In this category, chuck the customers of the first category out. It’s not worth it spending time and energy on them.
Under the second category, you should reach out to those customers and try to find out why they had a bad experience. Why they were unhappy? Was it something to do with the product, or the after sales service, or the delivery? If possible, deliver them something free of cost to show that you really value them. It is normally very difficult to have a negative feeling towards people or companies who give you something free of cost just to show their appreciation. The fact that they did business with you in the first place means it is nothing personal. They have developed a negative opinion because something negative happened.
New customers are important of course, especially when you want to expand your market and you aren’t going to launch new updates in the near future. But the more you can retain your existing customers, the better will be your customer base. Happy customers that feel cared for voluntarily promote your business.