Here's What You Should Do to Ensure You are Not Losing Out on Customers After acquiring customers, the struggle lies in retaining them and making sure that they don't go opting for other players in the field
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As a start-up goes live, it's the thrill to acquire customers that drives entrepreneurs. They go all out with their marketing activities to ensure that new customers are downloading their app or using their services. From social media to outdoor advertising, they try everything to bring more customers on board.
But the difficult part begins after acquiring customers, the struggle to retain them and make sure that they don't go opting for other players in the field. So, a customer retention strategy is required for entrepreneurs to keep a check on their revenue as well as the number of downloads or consumers actively using their product.
Entrepreneur India caught up with experts who shared tips on how keep your customers with you.
The Key Lies in Continuous Engagement
Companies put together various engagement activities which makes customers excited about their product. A classic example of this is e-commerce websites making way for sales and discounts like Flipkart's Big Billion Days. But what one notices is a surge of downloads during those days and then the customer becomes inactive.
The trick to retaining customers lies in keeping them continuously engaged said Sri Charan Lakkaraju, founder of Stumagz, which is a platform for students. "You need to let your consumers know that you are listening and that you care. In our case, since we interact with students, we keep organising community events to make our presence felt," said Charan and added that instead of going for yearly activities one should organise engagement activities more often so that the customers are always around.
Agreeing with Lakkaraju is Ambud Sharma, founder of Escaro Royale Luxury. According to Sharma, with a plethora of brands competing for a finite set of customers in the Indian market, it has become difficult to not only acquire customers but to retain them. "The most logical and long-term way to retain consumers while keeping up healthy profits is through customer engagement. Brands have to be envisioned as living entities with their own persona that connects it to consumers, who can further relate to the brand," said Sharma.
Understand Your Customer
This is an important point to keep in mind not just for customer retention but also acquisition. The entrepreneur needs to understand his/her target audience and reach out to them. Sharma believes that given India's diverse market, each brand should be able to recognize the aspirations of the targeted customer and deliver customized product offerings. "When this happens, the bond between the brand and customers grows exponentially – leading to brand loyalty and long-term retention," said Sharma.
Don't Be in Denial Mode
Start-ups need to understand that sometimes beyond their capabilities, they might just goof up. In such a scenario instead of denying the mistake it"s better to come clean. Gaurav Gupta, Founder and Director, SquareBoat Solutions Private Limited, believes that there are two factors that ensure a customer keeps coming back to you – the quality of services and quality of engagement. The quality of engagement, he believes, can improve by being transparent about your work. "Inform the customers in case you goofed up, and avoid the same mistakes twice. Follow a schedule which both parties have agreed to and make sure the customers know exactly what you are doing and when are you doing it," said Gupta.
When it comes to B2B start-ups, it is important to make your customer feel comfortable. "Put a smile on your face whenever you meet your customers. Think about your customers' business before yours, if their business grows yours will too," said Gupta.
Keep Them Happy
It all boils down to this. No matter what you do or how your operations are, you cannot afford to make your customers unhappy. While it differs from business to business, the execution of your product delivery to the customer is what makes the difference said Subramanya SV. "If it's an e-commerce start-up, it all depends upon how quick is the delivery, how easy is the refund or collection process etc. You need to be able to meet, if not beat, the customer's expectations," he said.
It's essential to collect constant feedback from your customers and incorporate them, believes Subramanya. "There should always be room for improvement," he said.
When it comes to service start-ups, it's all about the brand and how it looks to the consumer believes Sharma. Right from the pre-sales demeanour to the service at the checkout counter, all of it matters. "Constant & consistent communication, connection to the customers' emotional quotient and the after-sales-service to support the quality that was promised, all of this help brands to get repeat customers while instilling a feeling of trust in them," he said.