In dynamic industries too often entrepreneurs focus on bringing in the attention of new clients – over retaining the old. It has been proven by applying efforts to retention keeping an old customer can actually bring greater financial rewards.
According to Gartner Group, 80% of future profits will come from 20% of your existing customers. Specifically when considering the loss of customers – by increasing retention by just 5% profits increase between 25-95%. These figures are compelling enough but the logic also makes sense. Within your existing customer base you have identified clients with a need for your service/product, defined a relationship with set expectations, and developed an understanding. There is the opportunity to grow this client relationship – this is far easier when the connection has already been formed.
How can startups employ strategies to make sure they retain customers, and show those valued customers how important they are. It doesn’t take huge budgets. In fact, the online shoe store Zappos.com is world famous for its customer service – and it actually spends less on this support than most companies – just 2% of its revenue. The difference is in their attitude.
For a new company starting off a defined strategy is essential. A smaller company has the luxury of fewer clients to maintain – as they grow finding the balance between a scalable solution and a personal touch is vital. How much time should startups give to their existing customer base? Considering the above it really should be a priority, so how can this be achieved?
4 Startup Founders Share Their Key Strategies For Keeping Their Customers Happy And Committed
1. Listen To The Customer
“We show customers appreciation by giving them our time. We believe listening is incredibly important, so we do a lot of listening and we try to drive our product growth straight from the feedback of our engaged customers.”
- Ali Benmoussa, Searchub
2. Talk To The Customer
“There are a lot of ways to show customers that you appreciate them. But the most genuine and most personal ways are always the most effective. After all, customers are smart and recognize an automatic email when they see it. We like to speak with every new user to get to know them better and to walk them through our customer interface. This is something that most people don’t expect from a free service. But it means a lot to us, and we think it means a lot to them.”
- Jon Stolmeier, HappAppily
3. Maintain Regular Contact
“Keep in constant regular contact with them. Sending them a thank you written letter at the end of the year or a welcome package also really helps. We have started giving Starbucks e-gift cards at the start of a project, and have also extended this to our employees as well.”
- Jason Hamilton-Mascioli, Testlauncher
4. Keep It Personal
“The best thing is to personalize customer service, they know when they are being served by robots and when a real human being is listening to their concerns.”
- Sergio Torres, Blackartel
As a company grows the focus is inevitably on future projects and innovations. Startups need to also look to past learnings. Maintaining good contact with key customers will mean that as a company evolves it remains connected to its market, the demand. Without demand you will have no business, and who better to learn from than your valued customers with whom you already share a connection.
Be creative with your clients, if it means a surprise Starbucks once in a while, or a catchup chat you might be surprised how much you will learn, and how effective this can be in forming solid commitments.
Cover photo credit: Sharon Drummond / Flickr