The weight of competition that companies have to face on a daily basis can sometimes seem overwhelming. For a lot of businesses, avoiding the loss of customers is a major strategic goal. So, how exactly can you prevent losing part of your customer base to your rivals? How can you convince your customers to stay with you? Here are 4 pointers to answer these questions.
1- Retain your customers by offering differentiating products
A company is first and foremost defined by the products or services it markets, by what it has to offer. The quality of the products or range is what pushes a consumer to buy from company X, rather than company Y.
Then, beyond the quality of the products, the ratio between quality and price is what makes the difference. Consumers want quality at a low cost. You will notice that the term “value for money” is omnipresent amongst consumers, reflecting just how important this factor is.
To attract customers and convince them to stay with you, you must therefore meet these two conditions (the second being more important than the first):
- Offer a catalogue of quality products that stands out from the competition. The more unique your products are, the less likely your customers will be to buy elsewhere (because they will not find the same offer)
- Offer better value for money than your competitors.
The disadvantage is that this involves playing with your pricing policy and, more often than not, cutting into your margins. Which is why other areas need to be worked on too.
2- Retain your customers by meeting their real needs
The quality of a product is based on objective characteristics; the materials used, the production workforce’s know-how, the level of finishing, etc. But a product’s appeal is not only based on objective criteria.
A customer is satisfied with a product when it meets their needs and expectations. In order to satisfy your customers and convince them to stay with you, you must therefore seek to better understand their desires, needs and expectations.
Satisfaction is based upon subjective elements, far more than objective ones. A qualitative product’s intrinsic features may very well not satisfy your customers if the product is not of interest to them.
You must always ensure that your product range matches your customers’ needs. Satisfaction surveys enable you to know what your customers want. There are several high-performing, easy to use customer survey software programmes available today.
3- Improve customer retention by improving customer relations
Factors other than what you have to offer (the quality of your products, their compatibility with customer needs) also determine the act of buying and customer loyalty. Customers do not decide to stay with you simply because your products are unique and perfectly adapted to their needs. Which in many ways is fortunate, because it is sometimes difficult to offer something radically different than your competitors.
Customers also decide to stay with you because they are satisfied with your customer relations, your availability, and your after-sales service’s responsiveness. They know they can count on you if they have a problem. The importance of customer relations needs no further proof today.
The quality of customer relations largely determines, or certainly far more than we believe, loyal behaviour. A customer is fully satisfied when, in addition to meeting their needs, you have established a relationship of trust. Your customers need to feel that they are important to you.
To improve your customer relationship, discover the 7 keys to offer best customer service.
4- Prioritise retention actions for dissatisfied or very satisfied customers
Your customers are not all equal. Some are dissatisfied, others moderately satisfied, other quite satisfied, others very satisfied. You should pay particular attention to the two extremes, i.e. the dissatisfied customers and the very satisfied customers.
Firstly, the dissatisfied customers, because they can cause greater harm than you may think. Few customers will tell you that they are not satisfied. However, it is highly likely that they will share this information with those around them. It is important to manage dissatisfied customers to avoid them damaging your company’s brand image and scaring away other customers.
You must also capitalise on your very satisfied customers. You should seek to reward them in some way, by offering exclusive deals, vouchers, invitations, partnerships, etc. Very satisfied customers are likely to become ambassadors for your brand.
To summarise, here are the 4 areas to act on in order to increase your customer retention:
✔️ Differentiate yourself from the competition by offering quality, good value for money products
✔️ Retain your customers by meeting their expectations. Customer surveys are excellent tools to listen to what they have to say
✔️ Provide impeccable customer service
✔️ Prioritise your retention actions for dissatisfied or very satisfied customers