01793 493468         Email us
SME Resource

Customer acquisition and retention

Having a customer strategy is becoming increasingly important. E-commerce and social media have dramatically changed the competitive battle ground for small companies. With e-commerce driving prices down and online referrals becoming an increasingly important tick box in a customer’s purchasing process, it is becoming even more difficult for some businesses to keep hold of their customers.

It is more important than ever that small businesses know who their target customer is, what they want, and what it takes to keep them; answers to these questions are what makes up a successful customer strategy. We have a number of different services designed to help you better target and retain your most valuable and loyal customers.
Customer research to underpin your customer strategy
Targeted insight into your customers, their needs, and their buying habits can help you sell more effectively and outperform your competitors in the battle for wallet-share. Similarly, analysing your customer experience and loyalty from your customer’s perspective can help to uncover gaps in your service provision that when addressed can deliver significant improvements in your ability to retain longstanding customers and attract new ones.

Customers who are made to feel valued, begin to form an emotional bond with your company and are willing to recommend your products or services, prompted or unprompted. These ‘word of mouth referrals’ can be more fruitful than any expensive marketing campaign, and this is particularly important for SMEs whose access to large marketing budgets may be restricted.

Here at SME Resource, we take time to understand the gaps in your customer insight and to determine the most appropriate and cost effective method of obtaining greater insight. Surveys, Interviews, Focus groups, Observation, and Mystery shopping are just some of the methods we deploy to enhance your customer knowledge and bolster your customer strategy.
Customer research underpins a good customer strategy

“Market research gives you a great chance to know your most important stakeholder all the better. Having a great product is not enough in an age of information and digital capability as competitors will always find ways to steal your market share. Focus on really getting to know your consumers – what they want, when they want it and how they want it.”
British Library

Customer loyalty and retention
A winning customer strategy focuses on acquisition and retention strategies

“Once upon a time the customer journey was a linear progression from identification of the need, through consideration, information gathering, trial/review and decision-making to purchase. Now, the traditional purchase funnel is a complex cobweb across multiple channels, making it extremely difficult to identify when and where a customer was won or lost, or to understand the influence of touchpoints along the way.”
MyCustomer

An increase of just 5% in customer retention can lead to an increase in profit of some 25-95% (Bain & Co); and the probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60 and 70% compared to just 5-20% to a new prospect (Marketing Metrics). With such startling and impressive statistics, why do companies remain focused on providing compelling incentives to prospects whilst often leaving existing customers to flounder aimlessly in an ocean of poor service?

When you have huge marketing departments and budgets at your disposal, customer churn can be camouflaged by high customer acquisition rates. However when every penny counts, resource is limited, and customer acquisition costs are high, you absolutely must have a concrete strategy to retain your existing and valuable customers.

SME Resource can help you devise a customer retention strategy based on a deep understanding of your customers’ needs and expectations. Amongst other criteria, we will look at how you can correctly set customer expectations, how you can assume “expert” or “trusted advisor status” and build more trusting relationships with your customers. We will also examine how you can implement a more proactive / anticipatory service, which KPIs you could be using, and how you could make better use of automation and online functionality. Ultimately we will be examining ways in which you could “go the extra mile” for your customers and stand out from your competitors for doing so.
Customer experience
Successful companies are those that have a customer strategy, they continuously concern themselves with what is important to their customers, how they can serve them better, how they can deliver greater value to them, how they can engage better with them, etc. They are also companies that realise the crucial role engaged, motivated and customer focused employees play in delivering those all-important memorable and differentiated customer experiences that in turn contribute to superb business performance.

Here at SME Resource we help you define “real value” from your customer’s perspective and incorporate this into your company’s brand positioning. We then help you assess and determine the gap between your customers’ expectation and your capabilities. Finally we work with you in the implementation of targeted change initiatives that will serve to ensure that every aspect of your operation is optimally aligned to consistently delight your customers and deliver against your brand promise.
A good customer strategy requires a good grasp of your customer experience

“The small business is regularly put forward as the place where excellent customer service can be delivered. Small, agile, nimble and close to the customer; so unlike the big giant monoliths with their layers of management and out-of-touch head offices.”
Customer Experience Magazine

“Customers are no longer buying products and services – they are buying experiences delivered via the products and services.”
Customer Experience IQ

Customer Journey Mapping (CJM)
Customer journey maps are an important part of customer strategy design

“Once upon a time the customer journey was a linear progression from identification of the need, through consideration, information gathering, trial/review and decision-making to purchase. Now, the traditional purchase funnel is a complex cobweb across multiple channels, making it extremely difficult to identify when and where a customer was won or lost, or to understand the influence of touchpoints along the way.”
MyCustomer

Customer journey maps are an essential part of a good customer strategy. They are tremendous tools to help you understand and improve the experiences you deliver to your customers. Importantly, a detailed map will document your customer experience from your “customer’s perspective”, and will:
  • illustrate how your customers interact with you (their preferred communication channels, times, etc.);
  • capture areas of importance for them (where you can apply more effort to create memorable “wow” moments);
  • highlight your company’s key enabling requirements i.e. what skills, data, processes, measures etc. need to be in place at each point in the customer journey.
SME Resource runs CJM workshops for companies who are looking to better understand the experience of different customer groups; improve efficiency or remove inconsistencies in the customer experience; or design a new customer experience.

Our workshops incorporate different staff members and other potential stakeholders (like trusted customers for example), and are designed to help you “take a walk in your customers’ shoes”. We dig deep into the customer journey and identify areas in which the company can make improvement in order to enrich the customer experience, deliver additional value, and ultimately increase customer loyalty.