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Crisis Survival Kit: 6 Ways To Keep The Customers You Have

When frugality and caution are the watchwords of the day, maintaining strong relationships with your customers is more important than ever. Loyal customers may reduce their spending, but they'll keep coming back to you for the things they need -- and keep the revenue you need coming in the door.
When frugality and caution are the watchwords of the day, maintaining strong relationships with your customers is more important than ever. Loyal customers may reduce their spending, but they'll keep coming back to you for the things they need -- and keep the revenue you need coming in the door.Conventional wisdom holds that acquiring new customers costs twice as much as keeping the customers you already have. And new customers are scare right now. Neile King, vice president of software developer Smart Online suggests the following 6 ways you can strengthen the bond with your existing customers:

  1. Provide A Progress Report -- Show your customer or client the work you've been doing and the results you've achieved. By giving them something they can read and react to, you answer their questions and ease any lurking suspicions. Not to mention, you may prompt them to recognize they need more work from you.
  2. Meet Face-to-Face -- If you deal mostly over the phone, make a point of holding face-to-face meetings periodically. Meeting in person sends the message that you're interested your customer's business and it gives you an opportunity to literally see things that you can help address.
  3. Avoid Jargon -- Every business has its own verbal shorthand. When you speak with a customer, check the jargon at the door and use terms they can readily understand; they'll feel more comfortable and sense you're working with them as a team.
  4. Ask For Feedback -- Never assume your customer is satisfied. Throughout the work process, ask your customer how they feel about what you're doing and show them by word and deed that their comments are taken seriously.
  5. Tune Your Offering -- As proud as you may be about your product, remember that you're making it for the customer. Make certain you know exactly what they wants, when they need it, and don't stop there -- refine, refine, refine.
  6. Be Open To Change -- Customers change their processes for a host of reasons, from terms and conditions to purchase orders to accounts payable to just about anything. Customers will know that you value them if you demonstrate that you're willing to work with them by adapting and adjusting to their needs -- meet them where they are.

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