In the last ten years, I have learned numerous lessons managing my own businesses and also by consulting to my customers and by far the single most vital lesson is ensuring that customers stay happy. The logic for this is irrefutable.

Marketing consultants will advise you it costs between more to win a new customer than maintain an existing one. According to some, reducing customer defections by as little as 5% may result in an increased profit of between 25% and 125%.When times are flourishing and sales are buoyant, it is generally easier to fill gaps left by a departing client.

There’s also less free time to identify the reasons why the former client left or do something to prevent it. As ever, it takes a major downturn like the one that we’re in to prompt all businesses how importnat it is to care for your clients and keep them loyal and happy.

Challenging times are already perhaps forcing your customers to reduce costs and seek ways they can save.  Creating a solid, trusting association with them can decrease the probability of your company being first on the list of cost reductions.

Talking with your clients on a regular basis will help retain customers.  Find out what they need and how your service could be bettered.

To avert being pushy, it’s always polite to ask them where and how they’d like to be approached and how frequently.

As soon as you grabbed their attention, be ready to talk openly about everything that concerns them.  Given the present predicament, this may perhaps involve anything from the difficult matter of a possible reduction in price to other ways of working.

But it may well also highlight other areas of improvement not related to the recession, such as how well your sales and marketing people are performing or another way in which the customer’s account could be handled.

Companies need to think differently if they are to emerge from this recession. Large or small, we’re in this downturn together, so it makes common sense to act in partnership with customers and suppliers to guarantee survival.

At Business Advsiory Accounting & Tax Services, for example, it’s not solely our direct clients that we take into account as partners but also the businesses which supply us with our hardware; software, stationery etc. We might pass on any valuable information to them on managing the effects of the recession, for example, and they to us. The benefits of this are that we realize where they’re coming from and what they’re doing to reduce risk in a recession, and vice versa.

While all this is going on, your service delivery must be be excellent so work vigorously to keep up an outstanding customer experience with clients, new and old. Enhance and improve every aspect of your offering from how you manage to the quality of your products or services.

By pulling out the stops to serve old customers, you’ll not just keep them on board but they’ll also spread the word about and facilitate you secure new ones. And don’t overlook to reward them for their loyalty: smaller businesses may not be able to stretch to the outlay of a loyalty card system but there are several small gestures you can render to keep them happy.

Spending a small amount of money on your current clients now will be advisable in the longer term when this recession picks up.

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