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February 21, 2014 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Mike Lambert, Wyoming Market Research Center manager
“I’m doing OK at finding new customers, but how can I keep them?” Amber, Jackson
The key to a successful business is not only in finding customers, but in keeping the customers you have happy so they’ll keep coming back.
In today’s world, customer relationships are key. Karl Wirth, writing for MarketingProfs.com, feels that the “7 P’s of Marketing” can be adapted to customer retention. Here are his tips:
-- People: This is the most important “P.” In order to retain a customer, you have to build a relationship with that person. You must treat him or her as a person, not a customer and, to do this, you have to hire people who can show that they care about others. Even people who don’t deal with the public should be focused on customers.
-- Product: Without a good product or service, the best people in the world can only do so much. Products that aid in customer retention provide a quick time to value, continued value over time and high quality. High-quality packaging is part of the product.
-- Place: This is vital when you have customers in store, but it’s also important if you are online. Where do you communicate with your customers? Being able to online chat with a person, having questions answered quickly and having issues dealt with promptly all require that you pay attention to the “place” where customer interactions occur.
-- Price: Price is important in maintaining relationships. Do you have special deals for your best customers? Do you add features without adding to the price? These types of things translate into taking care of your customers and showing them that they are valued.
-- Promotion: You should promote to your returning customers differently than for prospective customers. With returning customers, you should know something about them (what they have purchased, how much they spend). Use this information to target offers that appeal directly to the person.
-- Processes: In order to retain customers, you really have to pay close attention to your processes. Are you monitoring social media and engaging customers there? Are you reacting and correcting based on positive and negative feedback? If not, then look out. Your competition that does may be stealing your customers away.
-- Positioning: If you want to keep customers, you need to know who you are and make sure that you communicate that clearly and consistently. If you say you are a customer-focused company, then all of your actions -- including the people you hire, the products you offer, the prices and promotions you provide, and the processes you use -- all should reflect who you are.
By following the 7 P’s, you can keep your customers and help ensure your success as a business.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://wyen.biz/blog1/.
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.