Gain a Customer, Retain a Customer
Which is harder, gaining new customers or keeping old ones? It is a tricky balance beam to cross, managing to do both well. Here are some things to remember about doing both:
- Acquiring new customers costs nearly 5 times what keeping customers does. Not only is that an incentive for keeping a customer’s loyalty, the fact that customers become more profitable to artists’ endeavors the longer you retain them.
- Most customers change organizations because they are unhappy with the product or service, not the costs.
- Fewer than 10 percent of customers leave because they just want to try someone new.
- Remember that people remember the negative. Make sure that your customer is satisfied every time. If you leave a customer unhappy just one time, they are likely to tell that experience to others and leave out the many times they were satisfied with your work.
- Listen to your clients. If you love a design using birds, but they absolutely hate birds since they saw Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, ditch the bird design. Listen to your clients’ stories, likes, and dislikes, and learn from them.
- Don’t just be the head of the design team or the artist, be the client’s trusted advisor. Give them advice about what will look good and what will work. Relationships with clients is just as important as artistic ability.
- Let your client base get to know you. Start a blog or invite potential clients to subscribe to your Youtube channel. Let your best work and your best self be revealed to people in these forums.
- Be active on social media. Communicate with potential clients frequently. Keep yourself in the forefront of their mind.
- Go that next step with clients. Don’t just get the proofs to the client the day you promised them, but get them to them a day or so sooner than promised. Don’t show them just one sketch, but show them two. That extra mile means customers who are committed to you.
- Don’t just expect clients to complain if they do not like something. Continuously ask for feedback on your projects and service.
- While you may think that identifying your target market is only for large firms, that is not so. Know what customers you want to reach, and frame your conversations and advertising around their needs.
- Make sure they you keep reminding customers of the benefits you provide with your business. Remind them that you know what they like and can deliver it.
- Communicate with your client. If you find that there is no way to get a job finished on time, tell the client as soon as possible. Hiding the possible delay until the last moment hurts the trust that the client has in you.
- Keep it personal! Small, inexpensive gestures can pay off in the long run in a big way. Write a note thanking the customer for their business, send them a birthday card on that special day, give a small extra along with the contracted work.
Keeping customers is cheaper than gaining them!