It’s natural that business owners are always looking on the horizon for new clients and fresh opportunities. It can be dangerous to get too comfortable with existing customers because turnover is natural — clients come and go. In fact, according to Ron Segura, Segura & Associates, a big problem some building service contractors have is that for every two new clients coming in the door, one leaves.
But there are benefits to holding ground, too. Instead of always looking for the next best client, focus on maintaining current customers. There can be significant benefits to doing so.
Statistics prove it is much cheaper to keep customers than to acquire new ones, say Contracting Profits reports. According to Harvard Business Reviews, getting new customers can be between five and 25 times more expensive than keeping existing ones. Additionally, increasing customer retention by just 5 percent can boost profits by as much as 25 percent, according to invespcro.com.
To build your business and make it stronger, slow down that revolving door. One way to accomplish this is through outstanding customer service. Good customer service won’t do — it must be outstanding customer service.
To enhance customer retention, Segura recommends these top five golden rules when it comes to customer service:
Listen. Active listening and giving a customer your undivided attention is crucial. In a meeting, focus on them. Listen to their words and watch their body language. Don’t make assumptions and don’t interrupt.
Say Yes We Can. When dealing with customer issues, the client may ask if something can be performed a certain way, or changed. If this will make them happier, and the request is reasonable, the answer should always be, “yes, we can.” The word “yes” has power and can quell many challenges when working with clients.
Learn how to apologize. Mistakes are going to happen, and issues are going to arise in any business relationship. If you or your staff have made a mistake, apologize once and then move on. Studies have shown that once the apology is made, the client is now more focused on solutions. Many contractors focus on the apology far too long.
Give more, when possible. There’s an old expression, under promise and overproduce. Most contractors really cannot under promise, but they can overproduce. Customer relations is far easier to handle when the client knows they are getting an excellent service.
Solicit feedback from customers. One cleaning contractor had someone in his office check-in with every customer every month. Over time, two things happened: First, any issues that needed addressing could be handled quickly before they became more acute. Second, his customers grew to like this office staffer, and the contractor was told that repeatedly. The feedback and the personal relationship that evolved turned many of his customers into keepers.