Imagine if you never lost a customer
by Larry Galler If you never lost a customer, aside from those who move away, each of your customers would come back to you year after year and, at the same time, if you kept attracting new customers at your current new-customer-rate, then your sales and profits would explode off the charts.
I know many cleaners and, without exception, they tell me that the bulk of their business comes from repeat customers.
This led me to assume their businesses were growing astronomically - but I was surprised to find their growth rate was fairly modest.
So why aren’t they experiencing and enjoying explosive growth? I believe it is because these businesspeople are not actually getting the number of repeat customers they think (or hope) they are getting.
When I ask them a few probing questions I find that very few keep records that track customer frequency or have a system to retain their customers.
In other words, they are pursuing a reactive business model figuring that their satisfied customers will come back when they again notice that they need the carpet cleaned and when that satisfied customer calls with another job the carpet cleaner reacts.
Satisfied customers are not good enough. A reactive business model is a slow-growth strategy.
The reactive business model looks like this:
1. Attract new customers2. Impress them with your work3. Hope they remember your good efforts the next time they want or need your services. You might even leave a bottle of spotter or a magnet to help them remember you.4. When your customer calls with another job you react – you do the work and hope the cycle repeats.This is the classic approach used by most carpet cleaners.
It is reasonably successful in that it keeps them in business, able to pay their bills, and make a decent living. But it only goes so far.Growth using this classic method is slow, methodical, and frustrating. It is also the same method used by the majority of your competitors.
Please realize that, if this is your business model, you are giving control for the future of your business, your future earnings and your personal future to your customer.
If you are happy with your growth and don’t mind being like a ship at sea without a rudder, that’s fine. Stop reading this now. But if you want to take control of your future, leave the reactive model and become proactive.
Think ahead and be proactive
A proactive customer retention system, nurtures the relationship, gets them to buy more of your services, and to buy your services with increased frequency.
A proactive program that is designed to accelerate growth by building a company based on active repeat customer looks like this:
1. Attract them the first time2. Enter them into your database3. Impress them with your work4. Engage them immediately after your work is done5. Entice them to return6. Use your database to advantage7. Inform them constantly and reinforce their awareness8. Promote special events9. Appeal to people with special needs10. Reward them for their loyalty and referralsCreating your proactive, systemized customer retention system starts after you have impressed them with your work.
Your first step is to imprint the customer’s memory with the fact that you are their carpet cleaner. Don’t just expect them to remember you – it is up to you to imprint your name into their memory!
I remember the florist I use. They know when my mother’s birthday is and I rely on them to remind me.
I remember my mechanic. They know the work done on my car and inform me when the next service is due.
My pet’s veterinarian lets me know when it is time for a check-up, but I honestly don’t remember the last company that changed my oil (I don’t use my mechanic for oil changes), the tree service I used, or the name of the heating and air conditioning company that last tuned my furnace.
They all did the job I wanted done, but none of them took the time or effort to insure I remembered them. None of them were outstanding.
But I guarantee you that each of them thinks that I will use them next time I need an oil change, a tree trimmed, or my furnace repaired.
What can you do to capture a part of your customer’s memory so they think of you as "my carpet cleaner?"
What can you do to increase the number of jobs you get from each customer?
What can you do to get your customers to use your services more often?
The answer is not, "do a good job and they will have me back!" Please look again at the list above. Read items #4 through #10 again.
That list is your answer to increased retention, increased sales volume per customer, and increased frequency from each customer.
The process in that list can best be described as a customer retention system – a methodical and regular series of customer connection activities to keep your customers informed of your services.
It gives them reasons to buy your services, buy more of your services, to refer you to others, and to purchase from you more often.
Is creating a customer retention system easy? It’s a little time consuming, but it isn’t hard.
All you need to do it is a pencil, a pad of paper, a calendar, a little time, a little gumption, and a little imagination.
Imagine if you never lost a customer… then smile… and get started designing your customer retention system! http://advantagecleaningteam.com/ or http://www.janiservu.com/