Are you alienating customers as you scale?
Business growth is often considered relative to customer acquisition. More new customers = more growth. Growing businesses 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 attracts new customers, but what helps you retain the customers you have.
Our infographic shows how easy it is to lose sight of real customers and their needs as you scale your business.
Don't just grow, grow with your customers.
When scaling any business, there are likely to be changes some customers simply will not care for, and you're bound to lose a few of them along the way. But there are ways to make sure you'll have a better chance at keeping those customers while gaining some valuable insight as you move forward.
Here are 5 B2B customer retention strategies to implement during growth:
1. Pay attention to how customers behave.
Customers, especially when interacting with other people, are apt to behave in ways that are contrary to what they have told you. Watch how your customers are behaving. Are they renewing contracts? Are they upgrading their services? Use these objective measurements as guideposts in the relationship. A “set it and forget it” attitude towards existing customers will not help with retention. Watch these behaviors closely as they often indicate how loyal they truly are.
2. Send out a survey.
Surveys are widely implemented 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 resulted from your growth. For example, if you have added team members rapidly, ask about that in the survey through questions about how knowledgeable the new people are or if customers are being helped faster, thanks to increase in staff. Review that feedback carefully to adjust business training initiatives, decide who interacts directly with clients, etc.
3. Regularly focus on individual customers.
While actively scaling a business, everyone tends to be overwhelmed. It’s VERY easy to forget about the customers who made you what you are today. Those easy-going, long-term clients are not the squeaky wheels. Status quo works…until it doesn’t. Tweet this! Don’t take them for granted! Pick a client or customer to focus on randomly each day, week, or month. Ask your employees to brainstorm about creative ways to make them feel more appreciated. Reach out to say hello and thank you. Help your clients stay loyal by treating them as the valued partners they are and they'll remember why they chose you over the competition.
4. Growth periods are great for innovating around changing needs.
I love talking about innovation. Remember how you first felt as a customer when you picked up a smart phone or another gadget for the first time? Remember how you couldn’t believe how ingenious it was? You can create that feeling for your clients through innovation. Proactive improvements in the processes and services help them move past the feeling of stagnation that sets in when things have been working just fine. The time and resources needed to stay ahead are things you can't afford NOT to invest in.
5. Track customer-centric metrics.
Staff meetings often revolve around reviews of sales, marketing and revenue. Start asking your team record how they think clients feel on a scale from 1 to 5. Health care professionals use the smiley face pain chart because it's an easier way to track feelings. Don’t shy away from the emotional side of things. Business leaders often hear about it when clients are so unhappy they are leaving, and by then it's too late. Track these emotional indicators often. Find out how to make happy customers happier. Asking "Is there something we could’ve done to make you happy?" will not help you stay ahead.
You can build a bigger, more solid business when using customer retention strategies during your growth stages. Loyal customers don’t only bring their repeat business to you, they help you understand how to tailor your growth to keep rock-solid relationships. The customers who stay with you through these uncertain periods will become more loyal, or even become brand advocates. Let’s make our existing customers a key influence in how we grow and teach our teams how to do the same.A version of this post originally appeared on the 360Connext blog.