It’s commonly accepted business wisdom that retaining existing customers is cheaper than attracting and onboarding new ones.
“According to ‘Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance’, the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70& while the chances of selling to a new one are between 5% and 20%,” says Euphoria Telecom CEO John Woollam. “This means it’s worthwhile for SMEs to investigate and implement customer retention strategies.”
Below, he outlines three customer retention strategies that local SMEs can consider.
Refine your customer experience
The better you understand your customers’ experience of your business, the better you can tailor that experience to suit their needs. Do they find your call centre options confusing? Is the information you publish about your products and services clear? And does it make sense to someone who knows nothing about your offering?
“People tend to approach these things from their perspective, as people who know and understand the business and its products and services. To truly deliver a great customer experience you need to move out of that mindset and approach your business as an outsider would,” says Woollam.
Service is king
According to Zendesk’s 2022 Customer Experience Trends Report, the pandemic made customers more discerning, with 61% likely to leave a provider after one bad experience.
“Ensure your customer support teams are trained not just to deal with customer queries, but also to do so in a way that makes your customers feel heard and cared for,” says Woollam. “Customers that don’t feel valued as individuals, not just numbers in a queue, will leave.”
Make sure your technology is enabling, rather than inhibiting, this approach. CRM and support desk systems that integrate with your telephony systems will give your support agents the information they need so that your customers do not need to repeat themselves (a major customer bugbear) and can receive the personalised service they want.
If you can see your customer is getting unhappy and frustrated with back and forth, says Woollam, “go back to basics”. Pick up the phone, give them a call, listen to their concerns and frustrations, and work out how to fix that. “People miss that personal touch and a brief conversation is often the easiest way to resolve an issue,” he clarifies.
Get to know your customers
Build a relationship with your customers – it makes them substantially less likely to leave your business for a competitor. Depending on the size of your business, says Woollam, getting to know your customers can be as simple as calling them monthly to chat and connect or as complex as instituting a full account-based marketing approach that takes customers from interest through purchase and post-purchase.
“Whatever building relationships with your customers looks like,” he says, “make sure you understand what is needed to implement it successfully. Be consistent and, most importantly, take the feedback you get from your customers and act on it as far as is appropriate.”
Listen to the feedback your customers give you when they deal with your receptionist, your sales teams, your call centre, your accounts department and your support staff to gather the clues you need to identify where things could be improved. Get everyone in the business involved in delivering that feedback to you, not just the obvious sources like your support agents.
“Customers’ desire for personalised, tailored offerings that exactly meet their needs will only increase,” says Woollam. “You need to know and understand your customers, and what is important to them. Know how your business can support their goals and make sure you’re working hand in hand with them so that they understand it too. Implementing customer retention strategies now is critical for businesses to retain increasingly demanding and savvy customers. Taking a personal approach is a key element of that.”
By Euphoria Telecom CEO John Woollam
About Euphoria Telecom
Euphoria Telecom is a leading provider of an innovative, cloud-based, cost effective, business telephone service that offers unprecedented control and automated operational efficiency. The solution offers any business a truly simple approach to managing communications across an increasingly decentralised and mobile workforce. Seamless integration and automation make it simple for businesses to access insights, reports and efficacy of communications.
The company has earned a reputation as a customer-centric business, decreasing customer telephony costs by up to 50% and maintaining excellent customer service. Established in 2010, the company now proudly hosts over 4 000 business customers in South Africa and continues to grow rapidly. The company was founded by George Golding, Conrad de Wet and Rafal Janik, and is managed by John Woollam and Nic Laschinger.
Since 2009, WhichVoIP.co.za has helped thousands of South African businesses to make better buying decisions for phone systems, VoIP, and connectivity. During this time, we’ve facilitated the connection of 45 000+ users through our network of 500+ telecom providers in our directory.