1) Referrals from your good customers
- Do you actually ask them for referral business? This may sound too simple, but does the ‘ask’ happen in a systematic way? Or only when you think of about it?
- Do you thank current customers for referrals when you get them?
- Do you act like you want more business? When you give the impression you are too busy to handle more customers, your existing customers won’t refer business. Why would they if you are struggling with the customers you have now?
2) Retention and return of existing customers
- Do you know when customers ‘drop off’ your customer list? We all know the marketing costs to get an existing customer to return is a lot less than finding a new customer, but are will still focused on this basic strategy?
- Do you calculate your ‘attrition rate’? This is the number of customers that stop doing business with you over a certain period. If you have 1,000 customers at the start of the year and only 800 of these customers are left at the end of the year, then the 200 that left represents a 20% attrition rate.
- Reducing your attrition rate by one customer is better than adding a new customer because there are marketing and other costs of acquisition.
The basics still work. I have a chance to look inside a large number of small businesses and I operate one myself. I have never found a business that doesn’t have room for improvement in this area.
Sure we all know we should be doing it, but in the difference between perfection and reality, there is still a lot of low hanging fruit that can be picked.
← Soft Skills for Business A Technology Prediction for 2013 →