“People move and die every year, so a 100% customer retention rate simply isn’t realistic,” said Rick Rivers, of A Floral Boutique in Ormond Beach, Florida, during Canadian Florist’s annual Business Forum May 30. “The goal to hit is 75%.”
During his presentation, Rivers shared his strategies for keeping customers satisfied. “The average lifetime of a customer is just about 20 years,” he said of the potential windfall of disappointing one.
- Know your best customers. “My top 25 customers all have my cell phone number,” Rivers said. “These are the people who love you, tell your friends about you and help put your kids through college. You should do anything (legal) they ask you to do!”
- Consider all types of customers. There’s nothing wrong with flaunting your high-end designs in your showroom and website, but don’t be so snobby that you can’t put together something for $20 for the auto mechanic who wants something for his girlfriend. “I guarantee you, he will be utterly appreciative and will never forget what you did for him,” Rivers said. Similarly, don’t dismiss DIY brides. “Easy money,” he said, sharing the story of a recent $1,100 sale. “I bought $400 from my wholesaler, ripped off their labels, put on ours, gave her a care and handling sheet and said, ‘Have a nice day!'”
- Always ask if the customer has used you before. “If you have a repeat customer, you have a very valuable tool at your disposable: your POS,” Rivers said. It tracks customer information and buying history. “Let it lead you to an appropriate sale. Plus customers LOVE convenience.”
- “Materials in hand, let the dog hunt.” Rivers considers his delivery drivers his greatest advertisers. He sends his off with tri-folds and magnetic business cards, requiring them to leave three around town every day. “If they’re delivering to a dentist office in a strip mall, they might go next door to a salon and say, ‘Hi, I was just delivering flowers to your neighbor and thought I’d leave our brochure with you in case you ever need us.’ That sends the message that we are good enough for this other business so they should want us too.”
- Be consistent. “Random marketing has no cumulative value,” Rivers said. “If you want it to work, you have to invest a small amount of time consistently.” He does social networking three times. He believes in a multi-touch marketing system (social media, e-mail, text messages, fliers) that hits customers 26 times a year.
- Don’t shatter the glass ceiling. “You can’t continually raise prices and expect customers to just swallow them,” he said. “At a certain point, they will notice and they will disappear.”