The most important customers are “those that come back consistently and invite their friends,” according to Michael Barnard, General Manager of consultancy firm Customology. A speaker at the Beyond Workforce Success Conference 2018, he specializes in creating customers for life. And there’s a very good reason for that: it costs 10 times as much to obtain a new customer as it does to retain an existing customer.

Consider also the fact that a 5% increase in returning customers can translate to a profit growth of 150%. This exponential growth will not be possible without a strong foundation that keeps them coming back. And because they share your product to their network, they can also determine how many new customers you will attract. In short, by taking care of the customers you already have, you will be able to secure your business, and even expand to new markets.

Ready to create customers for life? Here’s Barnard’s step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Get out of the dark and know who they are

The first step is getting to know your customers. Knowing precisely the kind of customers you attract with your current marketing strategies will tell you who you should cater to. Segment your current customers according to age, gender, income bracket, and other indicators you might find useful. If you can, indicate what kind of purchases they make, and when they do so. All of this information will help you strategize for your customer programs.

Find out what your customers value

Not all customers value the same things. Sometimes, it isn’t even about the price of the product or service, but the needs they address. This is where the concept of “value” comes in. Products and services address four kinds of needs, namely, functional, emotional, life-changing, and social impact. Your brand will be judged based on the need you address, and the value you add. Finding out what your customers value will help you create for, and market to, them.

Coming up next on Workforce Success: Tapping Into what Customers Value with Customology’s Michael Barnard

Develop an effective customer program

Any good retention strategy involves customer programs. But don’t just focus on price, convenience, or service! Instead, take a customer-centric approach to communication and engagement. Take the data you have and put it to good use. Look at who they are and what kind of purchases they make. This will help you figure out what problems they may be trying to address. Solve your customers’ problems and they will keep coming back to you.

Coming up next on Workforce Success: Creating Customer Programs with Customology’s Michael Barnard

Capture the right data and learn from it

When capturing data about your clients, find a single point of truth that can be your basis for analysis. Generally, information is gathered from three areas: Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Point-of-Sale (POS), and product data from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. The single point of truth prevents data overload and reconciles different sources of data. It then allows you to see the overall picture and reconfigure your strategies towards better sales.

Keep the customer promise

Finally, creating customers for life means keeping your promises. Whether you’re selling ready-to-wear fashion or providing technical services, always deliver what you said you would.

Keeping the customer promise often involves the little things. Answering the phone promptly and courteously every time it rings goes a long way in creating a bond with customer. And so does going out of your way to find an item the customer is looking for.

_Read more: _ How to Serve 200 Customers Daily in an 8-seat Restaurant

To make all this happen, invest in your people and truly make them a part of your company. Allow them to understand what the company stands for, and encourage them to take ownership of their work. Every staff member is a brand ambassador. Often, they are what your customers will remember about you. When your staff is equipped with everything they need to perform well, they are better able to make decisions that would satisfy both the customer and your bottom line.

Indeed, empowering staff can help your business succeed in more ways than one. But in the everyday grind, it’s easy to lose track of your workforce. Scheduling shifts to match peak hours, and optimizing staff to reach their full potential, all take time, effort, and expertise. Luckily, Tanda has developed a way to do just that, at a fraction of the cost. To find out more about how you too can achieve workforce success, request a demo here.

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