customer retention strategies

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30 05, 2014

Strategies are Nice but Results are Better

By |2017-03-03T12:06:55-05:00May 30th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Customer Retention Strategies|Tags: , , |1 Comment

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According to Nunes and Dreze, the head start loyalty card helped customers mentally reframe the completion process; the fact that they didn’t have to start something from scratch played a huge role in their motivation to complete the card.

Everyone says customer retention is a critical part of their business, but few actually follow through. Customers who continue to come back and refer friends are better than any advertisement you could run in your local newspaper.  Unfortunately, most businesses are focused on new acquisition and usually ignore customer retention.

Here is an interesting statistic on customer retention:

According to Bain and Co., a 10 percent increase in customer retention results in a 30% increase in the value of the company.  Wow, only 10%?

How will you get your customer retention moving forward? Here are a few strategies to make it happen.

Stay connected to sold customers. This can be done with newsletters, special officers and events. You know the expression: out of sight out of mind. A happy customer is likely to refer a friend.

Find ways to reward your sold customers– often. The other day I saw an ad for my cable carrier; the introductory price for new customers was really cheap. It’s a lot lower than what I’m paying. What do I have to do, opt out and go back in as a new customer?

Customer service is a marketing function. Marketing should look at all of their programs and make sure they are staying focused on sold customer. It’s been written that poor customer service accounts for 70 percent of customer loss. Customer service strategies should be pervasive throughout the entire company not just sales and customer service staff. Typically poor customer retention stems from bad leadership. If the owner doesn’t think, it’s important, why would anyone else? Customer service should be an ongoing conversation.

Quit talking and start listening! Try to tune into what your customers are saying daily.   This way, you can stop problems before they begin.

I was buying paint at The Local Paint Store this morning. Lyle, the paint maven, told me not to worry about the age of my paint; as long as the paint wasn’t frozen it would still work. Wow, I said, I thought I would have to throw it out.

The paint maven said, “It looks and smells good to me!”  I didn’t know the smell had anything to do with it; nice to know that someone cares about my pocketbook.

We are in the “participation economy: and we need to take our service to another level and constantly look for ways to be innovative. Consider finding ways to bring your customers together so they can share experiences with one another.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been providing business coaching for businesses for the past twenty years.  Her new book, “50 Events to Drive Traffic to Your Store” will be available on Amazon in June 2014. To have Lisbeth to provide training in your store, reach her at [email protected] or 518-495-5380.

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8 05, 2014

7 Ways to Deal With Customer Complaints

By |2017-03-03T12:06:55-05:00May 8th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Customer Retention Strategies|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on 7 Ways to Deal With Customer Complaints

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Every business exists for their customers.

Dealing with customers is really an art. Dealing with customer complaints is even more difficult. There are certain rules that apply that will help you, and make your customers feel better. Happy customers should be part of your customer retention strategies.

Dealing with complaints effectively will help improve your reputation. Every company has problems, being good at handling them will go a long way in keeping customers.

  1. Acknowledge the customer’s anger. While you’re listening to the customer, write down their concerns. Writing will keep your focus and help you remember  what the customer is saying.  It will also give you more  time to think about a solution.
  2. Thank the customer for their complaint. Have you ever heard that a complaint is a gift?  Instead of trying to explain away the problem, assume the customer has a valid point and thank them for sharing it with you. Unless you know what’s bothering them, how will you fix it?
  3. Empathize with the customer. Understanding the customer’s problem doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s just good to be heard without interruption.
  4. Don’t be afraid to say you will look into it. Not everything can be solved immediately. Tell the customer you will get back to them and give them a date and a time. Being consistent with your word will go a long way.
  5. Learn how to apologize. You’ll be surprised how apologizing will change the customer’s attitude. Telling someone you’re sorry also acknowledges that you realize that what happened is a problem for the person. Think about it; what’s better than a sincere apology?
  6. If they’re yelling at you and blaming you personally, try to stay calm. Reassure the customer you will get on it and will come up with some solutions. Just because they say it’s your fault doesn’t mean it’s so!
  7. The last thing to do is to act. You don’t have to take responsibility for the problem, but you can take responsibility for getting something done.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses to build loyal customers for the last twenty years. To have her speak to your company or schedule a consultation, reach her at [email protected] or check out her web site, www.lisbethcalandrino.com.

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26 03, 2014

Will Your Salespeople Make The Cut?

By |2017-03-03T12:06:55-05:00March 26th, 2014|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Will Your Salespeople Make The Cut?

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Salesperson must be knowledgeable about people.

The new millennium has brought numerous changes that are affecting your business and your sales. Many of these we could have never predicted, which makes them even more intrusive. We have entered a new age of selling and a way to do business. Selling, marketing and buying seem to have melded together. What used to be our competitive advantages are slowly eradicating making businesses vulnerable.
With change comes conflict and opportunity. For global organizations this will continue to intensify and shrink as markets get larger.
If your’ organization is engaged in sales, and who isn’t, these changes will call for an overhaul of your sales force and their duties. Those stores that make the cut will survive those that don’t will fall behind their competitors and eventually fall off the radar screen. In order to make changes in your selling system, here are some trends that simply can’t be ignored.
# 1. Never forget that customers are smarter than ever.
This is the age of the customer not the age of technology. The consumer has disrupted how we do business and how they want to relate to your salesperson. By the time the customer gets to your store, she is more than 50% though the buying process and has a pretty good idea how to solve her own problem. This means your selling system has to change.

#2. Selling is quicker than ever.
This is because consumer’s expectations are increasing and out of hand. If your business can’t keep up the pace, you’re off the grid. Customers know about new products and what’s changing in your world. Your job is to keep up and learn more—quickly.
#3. It’s becoming impossible to have the better mousetrap.
We used to talk about competitive advantage; it’s harder than ever to keep one for very long. Instead, your company needs to be imaginative.

According to Peggy Noonan in a 2011 Forbes Article, “Why Businesses Die“, she notes that half a century ago the life expectancy of a firm in the Fortune 500 was around 75 years. Now it’s less than 15 years and declining even further. How long do brilliant ideas last? About 15 nano seconds!

#4. Look out, generation Y is on the move.
By 2025, the majority of the workforce will be these tech-savvy workers who not only think differently than your veteran sales force but interact differently. Combining them with your present workforce will present challenges. Training will be more important than ever especially team building for this inharmonious grouping.

Consider scheduling some team building.
#5 Start planning to make your business a destination, or you will be history.
Shopping is not what is used to be; by 2025, 50 % of the malls will be closed. Only those that come up with a new reason to exist will make it. Jose de Jesus Legaspi and his Plaza Fiesta Malls has changed the malls into a destination for Hispanic families. His malls contain great food, doctors and dental services and entertainment.
How will you make it? Future success will be predicated on rethinking how your organization functions—and making serious changes. Some of these changes will have to be radical. Over the next few weeks, I will talk about what might be on the horizon for you.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps business build Loyal Customers through Customer Retention Sales and Marketing. To have her speak at your business, call her at 518.495.5380, EST.

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19 03, 2014

3 Things You Can Do To Improve Employee Customer Engagement

By |2017-03-03T12:06:56-05:00March 19th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Customer Retention Strategies|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on 3 Things You Can Do To Improve Employee Customer Engagement

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Customer engagement is all about deepening your relationship with your current customers and establishing new, high-value customer relationships.

Remember the Carnival cruise ship Triumph? If I were a crew member, I’d probably also flip out, though the crew of the Carnival Triumph has been praised in the media and by guests, for remaining attentive, friendly, and professional.  This is not something you might expect from a massively diverse group of underpaid and standard overworked employees. How did it happen? It happened because the crew was engaged and understood the Disney mission.

An often-cited Gallup study from 2011 showed that only 30 percent of U.S. workers employed full- or part-time are engaged in their work and workplace, while approximately half is not engaged. Nearly one in five was actively disengaged. What does this really mean?

Your salespeople are on overdrive and not really engaged with their customers. How do you know? They don’t ask for emails, send customers thank-you notes,  or follow through with customers who don’t buy.  If you have a type of loyalty program, they don’t take the time to explain it to the customer or don’t know how it works. Remember 85% of your business comes from referrals so everyone in your store is important. Referrals don’t just come from past buyers. They come from anyone who has been in your store and had a great experience. How many times have you been in a store, unhappy about the salesperson and then tell your friends, “Don’t go there.”

Everyone who is connected to your business is part of your brand promotion and connected to your customer’s loyalty. Often times these front line people are in the lower pay bands and may not be very happy with their jobs. Their attitude is carried over to your customers. I say your customers because this group doesn’t see them as “their” customers.

In an interview with LoyaltyTruth, Paul Hebert, a lead consultant with Symbolist and an expert in the behavioral arts and employee engagement, believes it’s unrealistic to aim for fully engaged staffs, but feels stores should “begin measuring — with whatever tool you find helpful — and then start working to move the needle.”

Instead of trying to constantly “engage” employees, first you must find out why they are “disengaged.” If you’re not sure what’s going on in your store, have someone “mystery shop” the areas where customers have the most contact. Salespeople are one part, but in their case, niceness pays off. Most stores have many employees aren’t paid for being nice; they get paid for doing their job. There’s a difference.

In order to be engaged with customers, employees need to understand how it works and the payoff to the company.  If you want better engagement, here are a few things to consider.

  1. Reward employees who show make exception contributions to your customers. Things like saying “please” and “thank you, ” and offering to do something extra for the customer like carry a package to the customer’s car.
  2. Build job structures for all employees and a career ladder. Many companies consider some jobs “dead-end” in their business, so they assume people are going to quit. If they were smart, they would realize that an employee, who does their job successful and considers their job important, is a candidate for a job promotion. It’s hard to judge honest with a new employee; it’s easier if one has “shown” loyalty.
  3. 3.    Teach employees new job skills. Job skills can be taught to most people; why not teach them to people who have a good track record with you. This will improve their self-esteem and make them better at their job.

 

Helping employees understand how to engage drive’s results to your bottom line.

Lisbeth Calandrino develops training programs that teaches employees how to provide better engagement with their customers. She can be reached at 518.495.5380 or [email protected]

 

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