Winning that new customer is only half the battle. Once they’ve bought from you for the first time, you face a whole new challenge in ensuring they do it again and again. So how can you drive greater customer retention in your print business? Here’s the Soyang guide.
Why Does Customer Retention Matter?
According to Harvard Business Review, acquiring a new customer is between five and 25 times more expensive than keeping hold of an existing one. That’s a pretty wide range, but wherever your business sits on that spectrum, the inescapable conclusion is that your print business will be a lot more profitable when it focuses on keeping existing customers happy rather than having to constantly search for new ones.
Is Customer Retention Hard?
Not especially. It’s harder when you don’t deal with customers face to face, so an online print shop will often have more of a challenge to build customer relationships than a print company that talks directly to clients every day.
And it’s harder when you face lots of competition, because inevitably there’ll always be someone trying to muscle in on your territory. The flip side to that, though, is that the stronger the bonds you build with your customers, the less likely they are to even consider using somebody else.
Essentially, the success of customer retention comes down to giving it the attention it deserves. Give it your focus, and you’ll find fewer customers wander off.
What Is My Customer Retention Rate?
Before we look at how to improve your ability to keep customers loyal, you’ll want to know what your customer retention rate (CRR) is now.
To do that, let’s apply the following steps to your last trading year:
- Take the number of customers on your books at the end of the year
- Subtract the number of new customers you acquired in the same period
- Divide the result by the number of customers on your books at the start of the year
- Multiply the result by 100 to get your % CRR
So, let’s assume you ended the year with 50 customers.
Ten of those came in the past 12 months.
At the start of the year you had 44 customers.
Using the above process, the calculation would be as follows:
(50-10) / 44 x 100 = 91% retention
Every industry has its own typical retention rates but cross industry the average CRR is 73%, while the average for the media sector (of which print is a part) is higher at 84%.
So how do you ensure your print business achieves customer retention rates closer to — or better than — industry averages?
Customer Retention Strategies for Your Print Shop
Generally speaking, customer retention strategies for printers are no different to customer retention strategies for any other industry. We can summarise them as follows:
1. Be easy to work with
Say ‘yes’ more. Can I have that job yesterday? Can you deliver it express? Can I pay you in a couple of instalments? There’s a limit for every business, but the more accommodating you can be, the more appreciative your customers will be.
2. Act like a human being
When you answer the phone, answer it in person rather than leaving it to an automated system. Write the emails that you send rather than leaving it to automation, and while it’s perfectly fine to work with templates, always check them to make sure every email is personal and customised in some way.
If you deal with customers in person, make sure they know your first name, make sure you know theirs, and make a point of remembering the little details (family names, where they last holidayed etc) from previous conversations that help build rapport and deepen relationships.
3. Go the extra mile (without being asked)
Say thank you in a way that gets people talking (see below). Offer the occasional gift. Reward a recommendation with a discount. If someone has a complaint, make sure you make the resolution of it surprisingly pain free for them.
4. Be utterly dependable
Meet deadlines every time. Always deliver the spec the client expects. Always be ready to handle the last-minute rush job so that you become the printer your customers know they can rely on.
5. Be part of the community
This is all part of sharing your customers’ values. Support your local hospice and get some of your clients involved too. Sponsor the local sports team or champion a local cause. And if your business is a more online, less geographically-based affair, use social media to talk about the causes you believe in and hold a vote to drive engagement over the things you choose to support.
Print Tactics for Customer Retention
As a print business, you’re in a unique position to build customer retention while simultaneously showcasing your print capabilities and sharing ideas that can turn into sales.
So whether you’re saying thank you for repeat business by offering a discount off the next purchase, including a comp slip with an order or sending out Christmas cards, take the opportunity to get creative.
It’s your opportunity to showcase new products and techniques. It’s a great way to inspire customers to increase spend with you. But most importantly, it’s a powerful way of protecting relationships and retaining more of your customers.
If your customer retention tactics are bringing lots more business your way, you’ll need the print materials to help you deliver. Talk to us now.