Customer retention should be in focus for any company, but especially for B2B companies like your plastic fabrication company. One reason for this is that you are operating on a small market, compared to B2C companies. The other is that customer acquisition is more expensive for you than for companies selling consumer goods and services.
How Important Is Customer Retention, Really?
According to a market research study performed by Invesp, the costs for keeping an existing customer loyal are 5 times less than those for acquiring a new customer. Also, according to an article published by Harvard Business Review, 84% of all corporate purchases start with a referral.
And who is likely to give your company a referral? That’s right, a satisfied customer. Thus, customer retention is worth more than having a constant flow of orders. Through your customers, you may get new business coming in, as well.
What Is the Role of Marketing in Customer Retention?
Marketing is like the central hub of a wheel uniting all the other departments that work with customers: post sale support, account management, financial and operations. These departments will execute the plan, but it has to come from the marketing specialists.
Why? Because the marketing team has access to core data: analytics, sales, CRM. By combining these data and extracting relevant conclusions, the marketing team can create action plans and customer loyalty programmes that really work.
Here are a few simple ways in which your can increase customer retention:
1. Have a Dedicated Account Manager with In-Depth Knowledge about the Client
Personalisation and a customer centric approach are the key to success in customer retention. And the person at the core of these activities is the account manager. This person should know everything about the client’s business.
For instance, they should know when the client likely to supplement their orders (for Black Friday, Christmas sales, on other occasions when their plastic fabricated items are in high demand). Also, the account manager must be familiar with the client’s corporate culture, so that communication flows smoothly in both directions.
2. Keep Creating Content for Your Clients
Content marketing is not the prerogative of customer acquisition. It must extend to current clients, as well. So, keep sending them informative and helpful newsletter. Surprise them every once in a while with a free e-book. Invite them to attend a webinar on topics of interest to them.
Customer retention means having a constant dialogue with your clients and providing more than just a service, but an entire support network that solves ever aspect of their plastic fabrication needs.
3. Be Present Whenever You Are Needed
When a B2B customer sends an email or makes a phone call to their trusted supplier, it is because they have something important or urgent to discuss. This is why your customer support department should work like a fine tuned Swiss watch: always precise, always on time.
Ideally, you should not even have the annoying electronic version of the Moonlight Sonata as on-hold tone, or any on-hold music at all. However, if a client has to be put on hold, it should be for the briefest of time – not long enough to recognise the background music.
4. Organise or Attend Events that Matter for Your Customers
Taking part in business event, either as host or as guest, is a great way to strengthen relations with your customers. These are great opportunities for one-on-one meetings, delivering insightful keynote speeches and finding ways to improve your services and account management work.
Not all these events should be business related. Many companies attend charity events as part of their CSR efforts. By attending them, as well, you demonstrate that you share their corporate values and business culture.
5. Deal with Complaints without Delay
Everyone hates complaints. Or do they? A complaint from a customer is a sign that they are willing to give you a chance to set things right. Otherwise, you would get a notification for the termination of the contract.
Every complaint is an opportunity to retain a customer, to show them that you are willing to go the extra mile to satisfy their needs and solve their grievances. Do not brush any complaint under the rug. It will cost you both the current client and future ones, as well.