Business growth is often equated with customer acquisition. The more new customers = more growth. Organizations implement more metrics to track this growth. But what about specific B2B customer retention strategies? During growth, it becomes even more important to track what not only gains you new customers, but what helps you keep the ones you have.
1. Focus on Behavior
Customers, especially when dealing with people, are apt to tell you one thing and behave another. Watch how your customers are behaving. Are they renewing contracts? Are they adding to their orders? Use these objective measurements as guideposts in the relationship. Don’t treat a customer relationship as “set it and forget it.” Watch these behaviors for indications of how loyal they truly are.
2. Send a Survey
Surveys are a huge part of any customer feedback program in B2C companies, and they should be utilized as appropriate for B2B. During growth stages, be sure to ask questions around specific changes that have occurred as part of growth. For example, if you have added staff rapidly, ask about that in the survey through questions about how well-informed the new people are or if customers are getting what they want faster, thanks to the additional personnel. Watch that feedback carefully to adjust business training programs, who deals directly with clients, etc.
3. Pick a Customer a Day, Week, Month
During growth phases, everyone has too much to do. It’s VERY easy to overlook those easy-going, long-term clients. They are not the squeaky wheels. Status quo works…until it doesn’t. Don’t take those clients for granted. Pick a client or customer to focus on randomly each day, week, or month. Ask your team to brainstorm about ways to make them feel appreciated. Reach out and say thank you. Help your clients maintain their loyalty when others come knocking on their door by treating them as the valued partners they are.
4. Create Customer Loyalty Through Innovation
Innovation is a favorite topic of mine. Remember how you first felt as a customer when you picked up an iPod or another gadget for the first time? Remember how you couldn’t believe how ingenious it was? That’s what you can create for your clients through innovation. Proactive improvement of the processes or products helps them move past that feeling of stagnation when everything is working just fine. Invest in the time and resources needed to stay ahead.
5. Track Emotional Metrics
Sales and staff meetings often include reviews of sales, marketing and revenue numbers. Start asking your team to track how they feel their clients feel on a scale from 1 to 5. Hospitals use the smiley face pain chart because they found it was an easier way to track feelings. Don’t shy away from this side of things. Business leaders often hear too late when clients are so unhappy they are walking away. Track these emotional indicators often to avoid that horrible question after departure: Is there anything we could’ve done?
Customer retention strategies during growth stages can help build a bigger business. Loyal customers don’t only bring their repeat business to you, they help you understand how to grow in the best ways. Let’s raise the profile of current customers and ask our teams to do the same.