When it comes to getting customers to stick around, Todd Eby knows what it takes. This self-described “anti-consultant” launched in 2016 to help small businesses get big results. Now, after nearly 25 years in the customer success space, Todd has plenty of practical, effective tips on how to build a loyal client base.
Why you should focus on return customers
When you work for yourself, you spend a lot of time thinking about how to get new customers through the door. But Todd reminds us getting existing clients to stick around is just as important as finding new ones—and not just because it’s more cost-effective. “Retention matters as much, if not more, than acquisition, so make sure it’s a focus.”
“Don’t assume your business will be successful just because you’re acquiring new customers. If you can’t keep bringing them back, you’re more likely to fail.” When you’re solely focused on the acquisition, eventually you’ll reach market saturation, and bringing in new business suddenly gets a whole lot harder.
Want an easy first-step into customer retention? Just reach out to past clients you haven’t been in touch with recently. Announce a new service, offer a special discount or simply say a friendly “hello”.
Get your customer journey spot on
It’s easy to assume we’re providing a totally positive experience when customers engage with our business, either in person on online. But Todd warns us to be careful. Instead of simply trusting the journey is smooth, map it out. “On a piece of paper, build an engagement model to look at each one of the touchpoints in depth”, he suggests. Your map should include the first moment a customer becomes aware of your company, right up until a sale is completed. Even the smallest interactions - such as seeing an ad or liking a Tweet—count.
Why chart every single opportunity for customer engagement or interaction? Because each moment represents a chance for you to win the heart (and pounds) of a new client and secure repeat business for the future. “Once you’ve mapped out every engagement, you can start to see where you might be missing opportunities”, Todd explains.
Talk to your customers
When was the last time you talked—really talked—with your customers about how you’re doing? Chances are, it wasn’t recent enough. Todd reminds us that “small business owners have to remember to talk to their customers and never assume they’re doing a good job”.
We often learn more from customers who leave than from those who stay. “Find out where you fell short of expectations and then fix it”, Todd suggests. Here are 2 tips for getting the most from customer feedback:
Close the sale, then stay in touch
Small business owners often miss the opportunity to communicate with a customer after they’ve made a sale. Yet this “post-purchase” period is a critical time for outreach.
For example, you might send an email to 1-time customers about how to best use their new product or service. Such “lifecycle” marketing is a great way to stay engaged. Another approach: determine what repeat customers have in common and use that knowledge to inspire similar purchasing behaviour. The goal, Todd says, is to “stay top of mind and be helpful so that the next time customers have a need, they will think of you”.
Start a blog
Another great way to stay engaged with customers is to provide helpful, relevant information on a blog or in an email newsletter. Both allow you to communicate with customers while remaining relevant and top of mind. “Blogs are particularly successful if you are helping people solve day-to-day problems related to the services you offer”, Todd explains. If writing a post or an article is daunting or too time-consuming, think about hiring a writer or brand strategist to help you share your ideas with the world.
Before you go
Todd has shared some great, specific ideas for retaining customers. What strategies are *you* going to try from this list? If you’ve got another trick up your sleeve, please share it in the comments below!
Want to join the conversation? But not yet a QB Community member? Click HERE to sign up in a flash!
A great post, @EmilyCowan awesome tips!
My blog is run by myself but my readers are the ones who make everything possible. They're my purpose and they help me create relevant content for my platform. I reach out to my followers/customers as friends, I chat with them regularly and I ask them for content creation ideas. User-generated content means they're happy and it means I am reaching my target of views and engagements! Amongst many other tips, that's my favourite.
Hey, @PS1967, how do you keep your customer's loyal fans of your coffee shop? I am sure the coffee does the talking for you :smileyvery-happy: but how important is customer service to you?
Hi, ParkwayInc !
I hope you're well! I am sure your customers are at the top of your list and good customer service is a priority for you. How do you keep your customers happy with your services? Do you have any awesome tips you could share with the U.K Community?
Hope you have had a great weekend! :smileyhappy:
I see that you are a hair and make-up artist, so handy to know! Also, have you got any customer service tips you can provide? How do you keep clients and returning time and time again? - I would love to know! Especially with the nature of your line of work.
I think we keep our clients here at PJCO as loyal fans by offering them a bespoke service that is second to none. By having a personal point of contact for clients this allows us to build strong relationships with all of our clients and means we have knowledge of how they run their business and how they like to keep their books. With our expertise we can help take the stress of bookkeeping away and I think many business owners would agree that anyone that promises to do this would become their Number 1 fan!
Happy Friday - hope you're looking forward to the weekend :smileyvery-happy:
I completely agree, offering a bespoke service that continues to deliver and exceed expectations is a great way of gaining customer loyalty. Do you have testimonials that you use from customers? If so, do you use these for any marketing that you do? :)
We solely use QuickBooks Find an Accountant for all of our client testimonials.
You can find my reviews here: Emily Mockett Reviews.
At PJCO we have 5 of the top 10 pro-advisors my rating.
We are in the process of creating our new website where we have incorporated many of our QuickBooks clients reviews into specific industry pages. Having reviews displayed from industry specific sectors e.g. cafes and restaurants means that potential clients are confident in knowing that we have extensive knowledge in their sector of business and can recommend third party apps that will benefit their company going forward into the world of cloud accounting and going digital!
We also do every now and then share the reviews on our social media channels - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I would love to see the new website when it's all finished. I bet that will look great! :) Testimonials are a great way of advertising your services as well as allowing your brand to look more personable.
Also, it's really nice when a customer/client volunteers and creates a testimonial without any encouragement, it's really rewarding!
I hope you're having a wonderful week so far :)
How is everything? Have you done any yoga this week? :smileyvery-happy:
Also, how do you ensure your clients have a great customer experience? Do you have any tips and tricks you could share?
I agreed about having a blog, I use the popular wordpress platform which as a non-coder is very easy to use and there are a huge number of plugins doing just about anything I can think of.
The great thing with it is if I post long content, by that I mean posts with 1,000-2,000 words my traffic seems to rise nicely. Short posts don't seem to get much tractions, I've now taken to using images and videos a lot, weaving them in to my posts and that seems to be the most helpful of all.