Staying successful: How to keep the customer  
Despite the billions big name brands spend on marketing to new customers every year, the real profit is to be found not in bagging new business but in retaining old business. This makes the statistics that the majority of companies lose half their existing customers every five years all the more frightening. So, rather than chasing after every potential customer who is yet to know about your brand, why not take the time this year to zero in on the ones already on board.
Here are three key steps to retaining business.
Get honest opinions from your customers
While the internet might lead you to believe that people only open their mouths to complain, in fact the opposite is true. The majority of time, if you ask a customer their opinion of your service or product, they will say nice things, regardless of how they really feel. If asked their opinion by an independent third party, however, they are likely to open up in a far more honest manner. Do your market research anonymously, mixing questions on your brand in with questions on other brands. You will be likely to get a much broader, clearer and more honest picture.
Get to know your customers
It is amazing the number of business people who hold only a vague notion of the kind of person at whom their product is aimed. This kind of fuzzy thinking translates to lost revenue and lost custom. Consider not just the spending patterns of your core base but also their lifestyles, the places they live and the outlook they have on life in general. Then, consider strategies based on this information.
Offer discounts to the right people at the right times
The difference between a customer staying and going can often be nothing more than a good offer that appears just before they were about to switch. Does this mean it's all about luck? Not at all. In reality, it is about timing. If you take a proactive interest in the behaviour of your core base, you will be able to time product-releases, discount offers and incentives that will keep them on board for the longest possible term.
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