5 Tips for Improving Customer Relations

It’s common knowledge that it’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than to win a new one. As a 2014 report from the Harvard Business Review shows, the cost of converting a new client ranges anywhere from five to 25 times the cost of keeping an old one. That’s why it’s also no surprise that a study by Bain & Company shows that simply increasing retention rates by 5% can increase profit from 25% to 95%.

If you want to improve existing customer relationships and profitability, here are five ways to do so:

Be consistently good
To put it simply, the biggest reason people go back to a business for a product or a service is consistency. If they experienced top-notch service one day then horrible treatment the next, don’t expect customers to return.

Deliver personalized service
No one wants to be treated as just another customer. That’s why a certain level of personalization is important. It can be as simple as using the customer’s name during a transaction or sending them a greeting card on their birthday.

Offer rewards or loyalty programs
While consistently good products or service are the main reasons customers patronize a shop, it’s also important to give them more reasons to return. That’s where rewards schemes and loyalty programs come in. Sometimes the promise of an additional freebie can make the difference, especially in an industry with stiff competition. For example, regular customers can expect free shipping if their purchase from your online store reaches a certain amount.Or they can get a free item on their tenth purchase from your store.

Be willing to take a hit just to retain business
Let’s say you run a fitness club/gym and one of your loyal clients broke a leg while on vacation. As a result, your client cannot use his membership for the last few months of his term, as his leg is currently in a cast. Instead of forcing him to renew once he gets back, you can always just extend his membership. While it technically costs you a few months’ worth of membership fees, it’s worth the investment; you’re banking on your client renewing his membership in the future as he gets back in good condition.

Be receptive to feedback and act on complaints ASAP
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to be consistently good, there would be bad days for your business. However, the true strength of a company can be seen during tough times; by responding the right way, customers may even give you a pass. For instance, if an order got damaged en route to the client, just apologize and issue a replacement right away.

You also have to listen to customer suggestions and see if you can implement them. Once you do, give a shout out to the client who suggested it; send a token of thanks.

With these five tips, your business won’t just keep customers. These existing customers may even tell their friends and family about their good experience, leading to more prospective business down the line.