How Not to Retain Your Key Customers

December 2, 2008 at 7:00 pm 4 comments

After seeing several advertisements over the last couple of weeks and speaking to a number of business owners it seems that many chase new customers as a priority. This can be at the potential cost of losing business with key customers.

For example, a company was offering a good deal for new customers, including a 3 month trial of a product in their range at no cost. This offer it should be noted was not available to current loyal customers; they had to pay.

As a loyal customer I thought the company actually did not care about my business as I was already a subscriber and their focus was on wooing new customers. They did not seem to realise that they could have made easy sales with their own customers with less money spent on marketing. All they had to do was give the same offer to us and I bet many would have gone on to buy the product.

The point is that with small business marketing it seems there is a continuing emphasis on getting new customers and forgetting that it can be more cost effective marketing your range of products and services to your current key customers.

Marketing Tips to Gain More Business and Retain Your Key Customers

  • If you are having a drive to get new customers consider doing a promotion etc with your current customers
  • If you are offering something extra to new customers, check your database to see if the offer could also be made to current customers
  • Go through your database or list of customers and see what additional products and services in your range could be offered based on their needs
  • See which customers have not bought your product or service in a while and develop an offer that you would normally use to attract new customers
  • Don’t leave it up to your key customers to take the initiative to buy the range of product or services that you sell
  • If you are giving away free samples to new customers also give the samples to current customers if they do not already buy the product or service.

Gaining new customers are important; however don’t forget those who are already loyal customers.

What do you do to gain more business with your current key customers?

Posted by Susan Oakes


Entry filed under: Customer Behaviour. Tags: , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Retaining Your Current Customer Base  |  December 3, 2008 at 6:04 am

    […] Marketing Blog, that has crossed my own mind on more than one occasion.   In her article, “How Not To Retain Your Key Customers“, Susan questions why companies focus marketing on obtaining new customers instead of making […]

  • 2. Anita Campbell  |  December 3, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Hi Susan, this is so important today when marketing budgets may need to shrink a little. Focusing on existing customers is much more cost effective.

    Me, I am looking at technology to make it easier, swifter and cheaper to stay in touch with existing customers. That’s a start. Right now, communicating is so “one-off” that it’s hard to think about getting more sales from existing customers, because the effort is labor intensive.


  • 3. gopalshenoy  |  December 3, 2008 at 9:11 am


    Great article. I have always had this problem with Boston Globe and my cable company Charter. They want to offer new customers a hefty discount and want to charge me double the rate though I have been a loyal customer for close to 10 years with the Globe and 2 years with Charter.

    Everytime Globe tries to fleece me, I threaten to stop the subscription and go to Boston Herald and they give me 50% discount rate for 12 weeks and then I have to remember to call them, threaten them again to continue getting the discount. Not sure why I stick around still – but I like reading my newspaper with my morning coffee.

    Charter is the same story – they had an awesome deal that I found out about, but when I called them they said it is only for brand new customers. It was not free, but deeply discounted rates. For some reason, companies don’t seem to understand the acquisition cost of a new customer vs. keeping an existing customer happy.

  • 4. Susan Oakes  |  December 3, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Learning from big businesses is usually so helpful for all of us in small business, but I think this one area that small businesses can shine.
    You are right about the acquisition costs and maybe this is why there is always talk about the Churn rate of customers.


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