Your customer has successfully overcome all the objections, and the sale of your product or service took place - what next, how to turn him into a regular customer? How to build a system of long-term and trusting relationship where the customer will come back to you over and over?
In recent years the very effective model of interaction with a potential customer in the world economy has been molded. This model is based on the personal relationship with each customer. For any business, the priority will be the development of mutually beneficial and long-term relationships with its customers. This also triggered the complete shift of business to interests and purchasing expectations of potential customers.
The current practice shows that it is much more efficient to work on retaining old customers than constantly attracting new ones. Once the first transaction took place - what should be done to keep the customer and transfer him into the category of regular customers? The following are the best practices that will help you to increase the number of regular and most important loyal customers of your company.
The deal is closed - How to keep the customer:
A more personal contact with the customer - try to make contact with the client as personal as possible. The professional sales person must feel when in conversation, a formal appeal can be changed to a friendly one. It should be taken into account that there is a category of people who are categorically against any friendly relationships. In case of facing a client of such type, it is suggested to keep the official tone;
Attentiveness when interacting with the clients - try to not only listen to the client carefully but also to hear his concerns and problems. In other words, try to understand exactly what worries him and what he's trying to tell you.
Unfortunately, the common reason for a customer leaving to competitors is the clear inattention of sales personnel. The sales person should make every effort to hear all the wishes of the client, including the implicit ones, during a conversation. It's not as hard as it may seem. It is sufficient to ask the customer a few simple questions, such as whether the customer has suggestions to improve the service provided, whether he is happy with the relationship with the staff, whether he feels uncomfortable when communicating with your company, etc.
The great help to collect information about potential clients are the various surveys and questionnaires. For example, if you have the Quality Control Department monitoring quality of service, it can arrange a social survey of customers. A collection of information helps to identify fragile areas at every stage of interaction with the customer and take appropriate precautionary measures.
Another important point is that the sales personnel must always remain at the same level with the new and regular client. Even with a vast knowledge of the products offered, they should not show the consumer their superiority, as well as not to belittle themselves in the eyes of the customer.
Patience and restraint about the customer - the sales person must always be restrained and patient to his clients. Even with the most capricious and quarrelsome customers, it is necessary to maintain goodwill and friendliness. It is better to consider the customer’s negative reaction as a reason to replicate on your behavior. What could have resulted such a negative reaction, what went wrong? Remember, patience is truly the invaluable contribution to the future financial success of your company;
The loyalty of your regular customers - the company must, in all possible ways, to win the trust relationship of its clients. Loyalty and trust are the key factors of building profitable long-term relationships with clients.
The process of the gaining of consumer confidence is long enough, which can last months and years. For customers to really trust your company, you may need more than one year of hard work. Trust relationships are built on the confidence that you will not deceive the customer and fulfill all your obligations. That is why for staff directly interacting with new and regular customers, the requirement is the preservation of the business reputation and the preventing its discredit.
If at a certain stage of interaction with the client an unexpected situation has occurred (change of pricing policy, product delivery delay and so on.), you must inform the customer immediately and in person. Only if you honestly tell the customer about the difficulties, you can count on his understanding. Justifying and creating non-existent reasons, you will only aggravate the situation, and your client will go forever to your competitors.
Having a professional team - at every stage of interaction with the client, your company must have competent people. A team of professionals will provide maximum performance at every stage of the work with potential customers.
Regardless of the specifics of the business and focus on commercial activities, all companies interact with their end consumers through the relevant staff. As for the sales division, it is sales managers.
In turn, each manager should feel being part of the team, aimed at success. In this team, all the staff members actively collaborate in the quest to increase sales, and consequently profits.
Demonstrations of humanity and customer care - humanity here refers not only care and strict adherence to corporate regulations, but also to the ordinary human attentiveness. To increase customer loyalty to your business, there is no necessity to do great deeds or persuade him with gifts, it is just sufficient, for example, to congratulate him on his birthday. You have to understand, if you're not attentive and caring your customers, they will get such missing attention from your competitors.
Establishing a permanent contact with the new and regular customer – is another key factor in building a long-term mutually beneficial relationship. As for sales - long interruptions in communication with clients are unacceptable. In other words, the salesperson must keep in touch with clients. Your customers need to be sure that they can always get in touch with you. To do this, you must determine the point of frequent communication: telephone communications, sending SMS mail, correspondence through various messengers -Skype, Viber, Whats’App e-mail, etc.
Quality of Service is the main indicator of success and factor to keep regular customers with you
It is not well known that the human memory tends to quickly forget the good things and remember the bad ones for years. That is why most people tell their families and loved ones all bad things that had happened to them. As a result of these features of human psychology, quality and decent service are perceived by the buyer for granted. On the other hand, incompetence or negligence of staff or a relatively low service is always perceived very negatively. If your company relies on long-term and forward-looking relations with the client, it is not recommended to save on the service segment.
Why the client does not wish to continue cooperation
Rejection of the client, regardless of its indicators, is always unpleasant for the seller. It is especially frustrating when your regular customer leaves you. To prevent such leaving to the competitors and get back your potential client is possible only by knowledge of reasons for his leaving. As for the causes of customer exodus, there are several valid reasons, in particular:
- Inadequate level of comfort - the customer may not like his managers’ service or is not entirely satisfied with your operation. To identify these reasons, you can use key questions. Ask the client why he made such a decision. If you can determine the cause and change the terms of interaction with the client, he may take a different decision and stay with you;
- Carelessness or lack of involvement of the sales manager - often sales persons do not listen to their clients because they believe that in this matter they are more competent and therefore know exactly what the customer wants;
- The deception of the customer – being dishonest to a client or taking unfulfilled obligations can lead to the fact that a customer can completely lose confidence in your company;
- The lack of personal contact with the customer - only strong personal relationships is able to retain the client for a long time. Practice shows that the contacts built exclusively on the business relationship are very difficult to maintain for a long time. Accordingly, after a certain period, the customer must be turned by the sales person into a good friend, otherwise co-operation may be stopped at any time;
- The backlog of business from current market trends – in order for a customer to demonstrate the keen interest in your company for a long time, the company is required to constantly update the product offered. Your products must always meet the requirements of the existing trend. To maintain the customer base, you should not only pay attention to competitiveness but also explore new areas and organize new projects;
- Relatively low activity in the interaction with the customer - if your sales persons who are in interaction with the customer do not show proper activity, you can be sure, competitors will poach your clients. Remember, there is always a rival company, which is ready to give clients more effort and time.
How not to lose a client, who has already made a decision about leaving your company
To identify the reasons for the leaving of your customers it is necessary to conduct a thorough analysis of the whole process of interaction with them. Often these reasons are just on the surface and do not require a lot of work to be done. By the analysis, the clear plan to eliminate the identified causes and customer retention is drawn up. Once the plan is outlined, developed and approved, it is necessary to appoint the persons responsible for its implementation.
Sometimes, to rectify the current situation, a change of sales person’s attitude to the potential customer can help. If the sales personnel can find interesting points in a customer, it will be easy to find the factors and reasons for his retention.
A potential or existing regular customer should be confident that your company is his reliable partner and supporter. Moreover, it will remain so even when he seeks the help of your competitors. In this situation, if the client does not find understanding or will not solve his problem from your competitors, he will return to you. His return is possible, but only under the condition that he is confident in your willingness to productive cooperation.
If the sales manager knows that his main task is the satisfaction of consumer expectations of the client, it will be easier to develop long-term and mutually beneficial relationships.
Long-term cooperation as the most valuable resource
The whole system of re-sales should be viewed not as a post-sales customer service support, but as the actual sales. Because such after-sales service is the basis for profitable, long-term, and most importantly, stable relationship with the client.
Your sales system must clearly define all the stages of interaction with the client, from the generation of a new stream of clients, and ending with the feedback support with regular customers. It is worth noting that for customer retention of considerable importance is the quality of the products or services offered. If your services or products is of low or, what is even worse, of disputed quality, no genius sales person would be able to retain customers for a long time.
With clients who have repeatedly made a purchase, you need to work even more actively. They need to persistently encourage and provide proper attention through a variety of nice bonuses (discounts, promotions, special conditions for loyal regular customers, etc.). This client must feel his exclusivity and value to for company. Remember, it is always easier to keep a few old customers than to find and attract new ones.
For further details please visit the respective section on our page on customer satisfaction and loyalty courses.