In the initial phases of business, it’s all about catching the eye of new customers. It’s about introducing them to your brand, making them want to try you, hoping they will tell their friends if they have a positive experience. All of your advertising and focus is geared towards capturing new minds, new people, new buyers — new money in your business coffers.
That’s all well and good, but as time passes, the lifeblood of your business is unlikely to come from new customers. Yes, there will always be a need for first-time users who discover your company for the first time – but for the most part, you will be sustained by returning customers. Customers that come back for more are the ones that you can rely on year after year; their loyalty should never be something that you take for granted.
Of course, no customer is going to stick around unless they have reason to do so. In fact, they are more likely to take flight for greener pastures if they are no longer satisfied with the service they are receiving from you. If you’re still learning to master the art of keeping your existing customers happy then let’s examine some of the key mistakes you may make that could be costing you customers.
1. Limiting New Offers to New Customers
If you run an offer that’s only available to new customers, how do you think that makes your existing, loyal customers feel? If you answered “taken for granted”, then you get 10 points! Oh, you do lose customers though. Sorry about that.
Always make offers apply to both new and existing customers or you could end up with no customers at all.
2. Standards Slipping
The bigger a company gets, the harder it can be to have your finger on the pulse all the time. You might not even notice standards slipping, but your customers will. If they want to ask about an order and your company is stuck waiting for your IT Support to fix an issue with your software; or no one has replied to their emails in a week — well, customers are not going to be forgiving.
Your company needs to run as smoothly as ever no matter how busy you get. So be careful, make sure you have adequate backup when it comes to your tech and contact systems, and try to stay as on-the-ball as you ever have been. If your existing customers feel like you’ve lost your touch and the standards are bottoming out, that could be the last you ever see of them.
3. Changes for the Sake of Changes
It’s often said that change is a necessity; something that no good business can live without. That’s not entirely accurate, though. If you make the mistake of changing a fundamental part of your business to try to attract new customers, then you could risk alienating the people who have been with you from the start.
The only reason you should make significant changes to the way you do business is if it’s necessary from a structural or profit point of view – otherwise, if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.