GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: Customer retention is everything

Growing your businessby Dan Beaulieu
Business consultant

Did you know that it cost 12 times more to get a new customer than it does to keep one? Here’s a story I came across the other day.

This man died and met with Saint Peter. To his surprise the first saint told him that it was his lucky day, he was going to get to choose whether he wanted to go to heaven or the other place. He first took a look at heaven and it was a very lovely place filled with people walking around with beautiful smiles on their faces, all in white robes playing small harps and looking contented. “Not bad, but not terribly exciting.” he thought. So, he asked to see the other place expecting to see what he’d always heard about it. But much to his surprise, it was beautiful. It was like the best resort in the world with a long sandy beach, blue water, wonderful climate and best of all a lot of beautiful people walking around in bathing suits while sipping exotic looking drinks.

“This is for me!” he thought excitedly. And he told St. Peter that he had chosen the other place. The old saint smiled and waved him in.

But once he got there the man saw that it was just as he had been told. There was fire and brimstone, and screaming, moaning and gnashing of teeth. He was, of course, disappointed, so he walked up to the devil to ask him what had happened.

And with that devilish grin the devil happily told him, “before you were a prospect, now you’re a customer.”

Now this is more than a funny little story, there is a serious message here. Most of us in business spend almost all of our time trying to acquire customers. We advertise, we offer first time offers, we give two for one deals and super introductory offers just about anything to win new customers.

But then what do we do once those prospects become customers? Think about it. It’s not much different for our customers than it is for that poor guy who chose the other place.

That is why we need to focus on giving our customers great service. We have to do everything we can to not only satisfy our customers, but also delight them into sticking around.

Here is what exceptional customer service can mean for your company:

  • First of all, happy customers will tell other people about how happy they are with you and thus, you will get new customers.
  • Increased retention means increased profits.
  • Happy customer will buy more from you.
  • You will have a happier business environment. Employees are much happier delivering great customer service.
  • And distinct competitive advantage.

And one more thing: Customers will focus on the service they received much longer than the price they paid. – Kelly Henry.

And that’s the best way to grow your business.

Note to reader: This column was influenced by Kelly Henry’s excellent book Define and Deliver Exceptional Customer Service


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