How to Grow your Customer Base and Retain Them Through a Transition
“Under New Ownership” can be three scary words for a business to go through. When your business is built on your own work and your connections, your customers know you by name and face, and that’s a huge part of what makes your business go.
So how can you guarantee they’ll stick around through a big transition like a change in ownership? It’s definitely not as scary as it sounds, and there are simple things you can do now to make sure your customers stay loyal to your business, no matter who’s at the helm.
Whether you’re thinking about selling or just getting prepared for the future, here are things you can do right now to grow your customer base today, and put yourself in a stronger position for potential growth and transition.
Improve Your Customer Service
Customer service isn’t just about you and your clients. It’s about the entire experience with every aspect of your business. In fact, the less that customer service experience has to do with you personally, the better able your business will be to transition.
Of course, on a simple level, improving your customer service is a major way to grow your customer base in the first place. Research has shown that a massive percentage of customers – 60% or more – have stopped doing business with a brand because of a bad customer service experience.
Improving your own customer service skills is great, but making it an expectation at every level of your company is key to making new loyal customers and retaining the existing ones. And remember that you don’t necessarily need that service to be “above and beyond” every time – it’s enough just to make sure that your staff can resolve most problems quickly and painlessly.
Solicit Customer Opinions
A good business can use the opinions of satisfied customers as a selling point to attract new customers. But a great business can use the opinions of unsatisfied customers to generate insights into how to get better.
Put simply, it matters what your customers think of you. Even your regular, most loyal customers may have certain complaints or friction points when they work with you. And they might just assume that dealing with those inconveniences is just part of doing business with you, so they’ll never bring it up unless you ask them.
Getting a good handle on what your customers want – both what they’re happy with, and what they’re lacking – means identifying where your room for improvement is. And if you’re improving your customers’ experiences, you’re going to make it that much easier to bring new customers in via word-of-mouth, and keep them in with a great experience.
Once your customer base knows that great service is what they can expect from you no matter what, they’ll be ready for any transition that comes their way.
Customer Loyalty and Customer Success Programs
Providing a good product and great service is obviously a go-to strategy no matter what it is you want to do with your business. Transition or no, those are things to strive for all the time, and the effects will be even stronger when changes are coming.
But what about some specific, targeted methods of bringing in and keeping your customer base around?
These may be more on the “gimmicky” side of things, but there’s no question that loyalty programs work. In fact, one study shows that when choosing a brand, 69% of customers are influenced by whether they have a customer loyalty program.
What that program looks like is up to you (free products, discounts, and special offers are all fair game), but if you want customers to keep coming back, a good way to do that is giving them a tangible reason to.
Customer success programs are a bit different, but they can really go the extra distance in showing your customers you truly care about them.
A customer success program is different from the usual customer service because it is a proactive approach to keeping in contact with your customers past the initial purchase. By keeping continuous contact and offering support and solutions to potential problems before they even occur, you create a strong relationship of trust with your customers, while also decreasing customer acquisition cost.
These also offer prime up-selling and cross-selling opportunities with people who have already purchased from you.
Happy, Respected Customers are Loyal Customers
These are just a few suggestions for ways to prepare your customer base for a transition, and it should all sound pretty familiar.
If you make sure your customers are happy and make sure they can expect excellent service no matter what, they’ll be ready for any changes or transitions you can throw at them, because they’ll know that excellent service is a constant.
To find out more about how Tsetserra works to make sure your customers are taken care of after a change, have a look at our flexible transition options and unique approach to business sales here.