Bristol, United Kingdom (PressExposure) April 07, 2009 -- In these challenging economic conditions, marketing experts are urging people running smaller businesses to focus on customer care as the need to retain loyal customers is greater than ever.
Small enterprises that want to survive the recession need to hang on to their long-standing customers. Thatâs the message from marketing experts such as Darren Young, business development director at Customer Service Network and expert contributor to the new one-stop source of marketing information and resources, Marketing Donut.
âCustomer loyalty is important for any organisation, but it is probably more important during difficult economic times than at any other time,â says Young. âIt costs far, far more â between six and 20 times, depending on the research you look at â to find new customers than to keep the ones you have.â
With increased competition and widespread price-cutting, how do small firms retain the loyalty of their customers? âThe secret is to have a relationship based on trust and communication,â says Young. âCustomers donât give up guaranteed service excellence.â
In fact, says Young, size can be an advantage. âSmaller outfits can build much stronger customer relationships, but they will also find themselves at risk from competitors who can provide lower cost deals. Therefore, keeping in touch with the customer, checking they are happy with the product and the service, asking for feedback, dealing with any problems or complaints immediately and thanking customers more will develop a stronger bond.â
Openness and honesty about pricing, changes and new products is essential, says Young. âNo customer wants to only hear from someone when itâs time to renew a contract or pay an invoice. Newsletters and email updates can help.â
SMEs need to aim for excellence when it comes to customer care, he says. âAll the research shows that customers who receive good service are only 20-30 per cent certain to remain as a customer, whereas 70-80 per cent will do so if they receive excellent service. It means going that bit further to ensure the customer has a great experience.â
There are many ways that firms can improve customer retention, says Young, including loyalty schemes and preferential payment terms for loyal customers. âSaying thank you is free and easy,â he adds. âYou can also offer increased product benefits for long-term customers such as free upgrades.â
Become a Marketing Donut expert by visiting the blog http://marketingdonutblog.co.uk/contributors/ Find out how to join Marketing Donut here http://marketingdonutblog.co.uk/join/ Find out more about Customer Service Network here http://www.customernet.com/
Contact: Mick Dickinson BHP Information Solutions Ltd Bristol, UK 0117-904-2224 firstname.lastname@example.org [http://www.bhpinfosolutions.co.uk]