Crab in hand

8 Rules of Customer Retention

Crabs caught in netHave you ever caught crabs?  Many people who catch crabs have no plan on what to do next.  Last time I caught crabs, I put them in a bucket but had no plan on cooking them.  So they ended up right back in the river from whence they came.

In business, many have no plan on what to do with a customer after he’s come through the door, either online or in person.  I had always learned as a Sales person that every time a customer buys from you he’s casting a vote of confidence for your business (whether product or service).  Of course, this means they trust and like you.

Do You Have a Customer Retention Plan?

So, do you have a customer retention plan [easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”188516730X” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XT97DEF5L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”entonthemov-20″ width=”105″]? Do you plan to keep the client updated on your latest products and services?  Do you plan to send them regular communiques?  This is a process that cannot be overlooked.  Your client is the easiest prospect for your new product or service, seeing he’s already trusting you with his money once before.
Large companies have CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software just to track the customers and understand not only what products they’re buying, but to regularly communicate with the customer and deal with their issues.
If your customers come and get one product or service and never to return, then your business is just a revolving door.  You need to devise a retention and customer growth plan.  Most have a customer acquisition plan, but no real customer growth plan.
Now a growth plan entails having some lever of Support.  Customer Care can make or break your business.  Let me explain.  Most new entrepreneurs focus on getting a new customer, and that’s understandable, especially since they’re new in their business.  However, a growth or retention plan will help your client acquire more of your products or services.

The Rules of Customer Retention

Crabs in BucketCustomers, by definition, are in the custom of buying from vendors.  Is it alright for them to develop that custom with you?  It better be!  They will be buying more and some vendors understand this very well.  Take the case of Amazon. Read the latest: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon  They understand the process.  Here’s a simple part of their plan:
  1. Acquire a customer – Make sure to retrieve the customer info; get their name, email, address, payment info.
  2. Connect with the customer – Have them connect to a portal with a password once they order their first product.
  3. Thank a customer – Send nice thank you notes for every purchase.
  4. Upsell/Cross-sell a customer – During the buying process, suggest related items to what the customer bought.  This can also be included in the email thank you notes.
  5. Keep a wish list – This is like a “lay-away” but it never leaves the door.  However, every time the customer returns they can see what they’d like to acquire.
  6. Maintain updated Shopping Cart – Just because you leave the site doesn’t mean they have to empty your shopping cart, and they’ll keep it stocked for up to 90 days!
  7. Send Updates on new products – Similar process with the Fire – Just go to Amazon’s site and see it ready for you to shop.
  8. Send Updates on new services – Most people signed up for Amazon Prime because they either received an email from Amazon or next time they went to the site it was prominently displayed.
If Amazon can do this, what about you?  Do you have simple steps related to customer retention?  If not, you should review the 8 rules above, and see which ones you need to implement immediately so your business is less of a revolving door.
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