Obtaining new customers is part of a successful business. And, as most business professionals know, it’s not always an easy task, often costing a significant amount of time and money. The price of direct mail, print/online advertisements, or a cold calling campaign can easily chip away thousands of dollars from your budget. In fact, according to Forbes, attracting new customers will cost your company five times more than keeping an existing customer. What companies often forget is how important their existing customers are to their organization. It is much less expensive and more efficient to sell products and services to existing customers with whom you have a relationship. Because you have earned their trust and loyalty, they will be more willing to try other products/services you have available. And, the more content they are with your services, the more likely they are to refer new customers to your institution.
But retaining your current customers must be a group effort, from you and your employees. You must make a collaborative effort to keep them happy in order to retain their business. Below are three simple tips that can help you build a lasting and fruitful relationship with your current customers.
1. Provide excellent customer service to your customers AND your employees.
Good leaders must lead by example. How well you treat your employees will have an effect, positive or negative, on how your employees treat your customers. If you strive to live each work day treating your employees with the respect that you expect them to provide to your customers, you will see that in the long run, your good example will show your employees how to handle everyday interactions with your customers. The cliché mantra of “the customer is always right” holds true when it comes to providing stellar customer service and maintaining customer relationships. Along with treating your employees with excellent customer service, you should also instill in your employees the importance and value of providing excellent customer service to each and every person who walks through your doors. If your customers see that you go above and beyond to ensure that their needs are being met, they will continue to do business with you.
2. Maintain credibility by promptly addressing complaints with sincerity.
When it comes to conflict resolution, sooner is always better than later. When a customer has a problem or complaint, don’t put the issue off. Rather, deal with the problem directly, promptly, and sincerely. Listen to your customers and strive to exceed their expectations. No institution is perfect, so when you receive negative feedback, turn it into a positive change. Your customers will recognize and appreciate the effort, due diligence, and energy that you put forth in resolving their issue. Additionally, remember that your resolution needs to be sincere; otherwise, you risk exaggerating the issue at hand. Demonstrating to your customers that you take their issues seriously enough to attend to them there and now will go a long way in helping to build lasting loyalty and trust.
3. Greet your customers by their name.
Consumers now have an endless number of choices about where to do business. This may not seem like something that matters, but acknowledging your customers by their name is one of the simplest ways to gain loyalty and retain their business. Now, more than ever, it is essential that your institution begin each interaction with a sincere, welcoming personal greeting in hopes of keeping your customers for life. Additionally, you should try remembering personal details about their lives—their kids’ names, birthdays, important milestones—to prove to them that they are valued and important to your financial institution. When someone feels valued and can identify with your employees on a more personal level, they are more likely to refer their friends and family to your financial institution.
While it is important to attract new customers and go after new business, remember that there is a cost associated with it. Don’t take your current customers for granted because they are the source of your income, and hopefully, the source of many referrals. By making a customer service oriented culture a top priority at your financial institution, you can earn the trust and loyalty of your customers, and keep them coming back time and time again for all of their financial needs.