Most marketing efforts are aimed at getting new customers. What are you doing to keep the customers you already have?
Many banks are actively encouraging customers to sign up for their online bill paying services. Some banks use this as a profit center, but others are offering the service free because they realize that customers who use online bill paying are less likely to change banks. Once you have set up all of the information for your payments, it is a hassle to move to another bank and do it all over again.
Making it inconvenient for customers to leave is one way to keep them. Here are a few ways that are more positive:
Reward frequent customers. Offer a discount or free item for a certain number or volume of purchases. The airlines may have started this with frequent flier miles, but now it seems that everyone from the local coffee shop to credit cards to parking lots have followed with their own programs.
Make customers feel valued by asking for their opinions. How can you improve service? What do they like best about your product or service? Are your hours convenient? Then, when you make changes, let them know it was because of feedback from customers.
Get personal. Ask for customers’ birthdates, and send a card to acknowledge them on their special days. Keep track of past purchases in order to make recommendations of other products they might enjoy. Let them know when something new is available.
Say thank you. It’s a simple thing, but it goes a long way. Send a brief handwritten note thanking them for their business. Keep a supply of post cards or note cards handy, and dash off at least a few every week to new or long-time customers.
It is usually less expensive to keep customers than to find new ones. Although it is always important to keep looking for new customers, keeping the ones you have gives your business stability over the long term.