Working with small-business owners across London is the forte of Tax Agility. Over the years, we’ve helped a large number of small businesses grow and expand, many from a one-person proprietorship to having multiple offices across the country. Growing a business requires a multifaceted approach, which is why we are sharing ideas, insights and practical tips through a series of blog posts with the aim of helping you grow your business.
This week we’re looking at ways to approach, build and manage customer relationships.
Retain your customers
The media often reports how consumers can save by switching brands and the same is true for business clients. Numerous reports have mentioned that it costs five times more money to acquire a new customer than to retain one, yet many business owners still focus on acquiring new customers and have the tendency to take existing customers for granted, mistakenly thinking that they won’t leave.
When it comes to customer retention, giving discounts is not the only option. The online fashion retailer ASOS realised that many customers are worried about returning items, so they designed their packaging to be easily re-used for returns, building confidence in their brand. When the bar chain Be At One launched, they focused on greeting every customer within 30 seconds of arrival because a simple gesture like that will make the customers feel welcome and they are unlikely to leave even if the venue is packed. Learn from these big companies and build a strong bond with your existing customers by offering them conflict-free services, speaking to them one-on-one, and welcoming feedback. Indeed, there are many customer retention strategies which you can employ. .
When you have customers that have been with you for years and the bond is solid, you know that these people will become your brand advocates. They will happily refer other customers to you, subconsciously doing your marketing and sales, without any extra effort from the business. This is the ultimate reward for retaining your customers.
Will a CRM help?
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are tools that store information about your clients, leads and communications. Although CRM systems help large corporations keep track of customers, they are suitable for any company; in fact, the fastest-growing group of CRM users are small- and mid-sized businesses. One-third of companies that adopt a CRM system has fewer than 100 customers.
As a small business owner, your time is precious, and you may not have the staff to manage all your customer data. Some common functions of CRM can help your business to:
- Follow up on leads and clients
- Analyse buying patterns
- Manage quotes
- Provide efficient customer service
- Monitor social media activity
Some CRM systems are fairly simple and can help you keep track of who you have spoken to and when, which is useful for everyday communications. Other systems are intended for optimising sales by tracking and analysing customer habits. Most CRMs are cloud-based, which means they can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection – particularly useful if you are on the move.
One issue to consider with CRM systems is that storing and analysing personal data on a large scale requires extra care in regards to GDPR. You will need to make sure that your customers know exactly what data you are storing and what you intend to use it for. Although CRM is great, keep in mind that it shouldn’t replace personal customer service.
Keep communication genuine
No-one wants to read a one-size-fits-all email or listen to a rehearsed phone call. Before you send a message, ask yourself if it can help to foster a connection between you and the recipient and if they are likely to remember your message afterwards. Avoid templates as much as possible, and most importantly, double-check everything before you click ‘send’. Many people have made the mistake of sending out an incomplete template, typing the wrong name, or accidentally sharing the whole mailing list with hundreds of people.
Personalising your communications might require effort, but it will also create stronger connections and help you retain customers long-term. Reward good customers, respond promptly to any problems or concerns and treat every person as someone who is vital to your business.
Build an online community
Social media is a useful tool to reach potential and existing customers. For many people, the internet – particularly social media sites – is their preferred platform for leaving reviews and comments. If you are not monitoring your online presence, you may be missing out on opportunities to talk to your customers and build meaningful relationships.
On social media sites, make sure that you are looking at comments, direct messages and retweets. Respond to every comment, whether positive or negative. Also take advantage of social media to share your content and post good reviews from your customers regularly. Next week, we will expand on how to build and improve your online presence.
Business growth advice from Tax Agility
Tax Agility has created and maintained strong relationships with numerous clients over the years, and watched them go from strength to strength. We are specialist small business accountants and know that every business has different accounting needs. To find out how Tax Agility can help your start-up or small business, call us at 020 8108 0090 or use our Online Enquiry Form.