It's 10x easier to retain existing customers.
That is a stat that we have often come up against in a consumer industry where they preach customer retention as it is so much easier to hold onto people that you already have than to convince somebody to leave what they know to join you.
There are plenty reasons behind this but at the very top of the list is the fact that we are all creatures of habit. We like to see the same people, eat the same things, know what we are up to and are comfortable in our surroundings.
Change can be scary and people like to feel safe in the knowledge of where they are and what they are doing. That is why people don't tend to change their path if they are even reasonably happy with where they are. It takes something bigger to either push them away or pull them towards something new.
That is why most start up business find it so hard to survive their initial opening period as they take time to build up a customer base and create enough income to cover their initial outlay. Most start-ups fail and it can be due to lack of money or lack of staying power by the owners.
If you can survive long enough you will add more people. The biggest question then is how to hold them. How to give them enough that they won't need to leave for greener pastures.
Once they have made that decision to come to you there needs to be a big focus on how to keep these people as it takes so long to get them in the first place.
Once you have them, they are now familiar with your brand, your product, your methods and are willing to be a part of that system. As long as you can meet their needs then they will have no reason to go anywhere else unless something changes.
Either you fail them as a business or somebody can give them a lot more in what they are looking for.
In either case you will have let them down by not being able to keep them as customers and meet their needs.
The best way to stop this from happening is to listen to what they want and to make sure that whatever you are providing, that you are doing it very well. If you can give the best experience for that customer then they will have no reason to leave or to look at other options. Brand recognition is huge in business and once people are happy with the brand that you have created it will take a lot for them to leave.
Focus on keeping your old customers and new ones will follow over time.
Word of mouth plays a big part in growth and if that is positive it will lead others to find you.
That is one of the most important lessons that I have learnt over the past 15 years in business.
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