LCT OOY winner Bill Atkins offers some points on the old adage: It costs far more to get a new customer than to keep one you already have. In today’s climate, customer retention is the key to success.
RED BANK, N.J. — Here's a few tips that you can use:
1) Respond to emails within 15 minutes: In the immediate world that we live in people expect you to be there and answer right away. Ever call a repair man only to have no call back? Frustrated customers don't call back.
2) Surprise them with the unexpected. Call two customers each day. Not your biggest or best, just 2 random customers. Tell then you have no agenda or looking to sell anything and let them know "I just called to see how you are doing?". Then listen. Remember, this is not a sales call. Do you think your customer will remember that call and tell some of their friends?
3) Walk and talk like a pro: People like doing business with professionals. Every interaction is an ongoing interview where the customer is judging you and seeing if you are consistent. Be the authority in your area. Not in an obnoxious way, but rather confident and well informed.
4) Give to your local community: Be known as the person and company that gives back to your community. It's amazing, but if you give some, you will get a lot in return.
5) End every conversation with the two words "Thank you." We are a service business. Never forget to let your customers and employees know that you really appreciate them and tell them so. With so few businesses remembering these two words, you will really stand out.
You need to do a great job first before you can expect a referral. Otherwise you haven't yet earned the right to ask for a referral.
Bill Atkins is the owner of Red Bank Limo in Red Bank, N.J., and the 2010 LCT Operator Of The Year Winner in the 1-10 vehicles category.