customerIn difficult economic times it’s important to recognize where you can achieve the most value with your business. Retaining existing customers is important during the good times, in the bad times it’s vital. It costs more to win and service a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer happy and grow their relationship. Here are some key drivers to reduce churn in your organization.

Customer Service is the Bottom Line

The way you serve and support your customers is key to your overall business strategy. Customer service should be represented at boardroom level, and not as a subsection of sales. In a market where everyone is chasing a smaller pot – it’s absolutely essential to protect what you already have.

Customer Service Really Matters

Over 70% of clients rate customer service as the single most important factor in doing business. They place it above sales, marketing, brand, everything. Over 80% place after care for a major purchase as the determining point for future loyalty.

Your Customers Must Come First

When times are tight, people are more ready to switch suppliers or providers than ever before. Nearly 50% of consumers say that they would consider making a move if the benefits were right.

Cost Cutting Is Not The Priority

It’s easy to focus on new revenue streams and tighten care budgets, after all – sales are what count right? Wrong. Your existing customers spend more money than your new clients in most instances and serving them is cheaper than winning over new clients. Don’t slash care budgets to chase rainbows.

Well Trained Employees Deliver the Goods

If you want to have a reputation for the best customer care, then make sure your people are well prepared to deliver it. Invest in motivating, training and empowering your service staff – their level of professional competence translates directly into the customer experience. Happy clients means more money.

Engage with your customers and empathize with them

Remember your clients if you meet face to face, keep key details to make dealing with you more rewarding – on CRM systems. Use social media to broaden your reach. Make it easy for your customers to reach you, and make it easier to serve them.

Monitor Feedback and Complaints

Each complaint is potentially lost revenue, turning a complaint around successfully can bring enormous financial benefits to your business. Make sure you have the appropriate systems in place to track problems all the way through to resolution. Make sure you can analyze the data and use it to prevent some problems from occurring again in the future. In short be proactive for your customers, and don’t wait for a disaster before doing something positive.

Be Creative and Strategic

That means make sure that every point of contact is consistent in its approach and that customer delight (not satisfaction) is at the heart of what you do.

A downturn in the economy can still bring plenty of opportunities to the customer savvy business. Don’t waste that moment – go after perfection while your competitors are licking their wounds. Make your company the single best in your field, and listen to your customers tell the world about it.