The buying cycle has completely changed over the past decade, and the companies that are now just realizing this are losing both revenue and market share. A recent CEB study of more than 1,400 B2B customers found that 57 % of purchase decisions are made BEFORE a customer even talks to a sales rep. Buyers are now, more than ever, truly connected to information like never before, making the competitive landscape even fiercer.
Building a Loyal Customer Base is Essential for the Survival of your Business
For small and medium sized businesses, building a loyal customer base has always been important. However, many business owners are so invested in the search for new business, they sometimes lose sight of what’s really important and are left to deal with an eroding customer base.
As a manager or owner of a small or medium sized organization, you can lose customers simply by not picking up the phone. If your customer support is hard to find, is rude, or is incompetent, you risk losing even more. A bad customer experience can not only turn customers away, it can also hurt future business with poor online reviews or negative feedback that could be shared with friends.
A study conducted by the Gartner Group revealed that SMBs can earn 80% of their future business just by retaining 20% of their existing customers (The famous 80/20 rule). For a business, new customers ensure short term profitability while repeat business ensures long term sustainability.
So Why Ditch Marketing?
With the tremendous amount of noise that floods consumers ears each and every second of the day, small and medium sized organizations would be better off investing in building up their customer support agents to become internal product and customer champions. When looking to buy a product or acquire a service, customers simply ignore the constant advertisements and instead look to speak to their peers for recommendations through social media. If you provide excellent customer support, you will be recommended, which will be much more beneficial to your business than any ad could ever provide you.
Here are a few tips on how you can retain customers through improved customer service:
Train your Employees:
Train your employees, arrange workshops and/or training sessions, and let them know the importance of customer retention. Create product experts.
Identify your Best Customers and Reward them
You may reward customer loyalty through discount packages and/or gifts. This tactic not only gets you repeat business; it helps you retain your top customers.
Interact with your Customers
Customer service is all about interaction. Whether you do it through the phone, through a social networking site, or through your website, your customers must have a way to reach you and you must be there when they do. A multi-channel help desk solution, like Cayzu, will help you stay organized so that customers are answered no matter if their support request came in from the phone, email, your web site or even your Facebook or Twitter page!
Do you think customer service is more important than marketing? Share your thoughts and opinions with us through the comments section.