Without customers, a business would cease to exist, so how do we go about attracting this heart and soul of our business? Then once we have piqued their interest, how do we retain them long-term? In theory, it’s a simple equation, entice them to use your service, then make them use your service again, but in reality, it’s far from that easy.
The key lays in 2 principal aspects, both of which contain fixed fundamentals, but differ in implementation for each business:
1) Targeting the ‘correct’ audience
2) Consistently delivering ‘value’
It comes as part and parcel that if you attract the right target audience, your product will fulfil their needs and create a bond naturally. One of the most effective ways to attract the correct audience is to apply the Top-Down Funnel Approach: A large opening at the top to draw in ‘potential’ customers through marketing and social media, then as you travel down the narrowing funnel, you align your communication at each subsequent stage to weed out irrelevant prospects, eventually concentrating the ‘hard sell’ at the narrowest point of the bottom, here you will find your true target audience, ready to be converted into customers.
Through incisive market research, you can develop a deep understanding of your target audience, in a bid to anticipate and satisfy their needs by becoming the solution they are seeking, this is a valuable component of an effective funnel approach, preventing miscommunication through the stages.
Having established a connection to your ‘target audience’, the next step is customer retention, this also indicates customer satisfaction. Customer retention can sometimes form naturally out of convenience, but most often it is earned through exceeding service expectations, some examples include superior quality over competitors, competitive prices, and loyalty rewards. But one of the easiest and most effective customer retention methods remains a courtesy follow-up, a simple value-adding phone call or email to understand the service, then either receive positive feedback or rectify unsatisfied customers.
A useful tool to measure and manage customer retention is the faithful CRM (see our article on Improving Efficiency), this also identifies the churn rate of one-time customers, indicating a problem to address. Through efficient management and successful retention of your customers, you can expand profitability through upselling other services provided, or organically through customer referrals, all supporting steady business growth.
The primary objective for service providers is customer satisfaction, this creates great importance on identifying and fulfilling their needs. Attracting customers comes in many forms, with countless new customers on the horizon, but the lifeline for survive long-term is through customer retention, understanding, nurturing, and consistently delivering to your customers.