Pat Henneberry is president of consulting and sales training company The Jewelry Coach. Reach her at pat@thejewelrycoach.com.

Would you like to improve your company’s profits this year? What a question; of course you would!

It might surprise you, however, to learn that to reach that objective, you don’t have to chase new customers.

In fact, you don’t even need a single new customer.

According to research cited in a 2014 Harvard Business School article called “The Value of Keeping the Right Customers,” you can improve profitability by 25 to 95 percent by improving your customer retention rate by just 5 percent.

While this might seem implausible, the numbers make sense when you consider the high costs of customer acquisition. According to that same article, it costs at least five times more to land a new customer than to keep a current one.

The key here is to slow customer turn and nurture growth. I’ve come up with three tips to get you on your way.

1. Reinvent Your Customer Service
More than ever, it’s time to be proactive and stay in touch with your customer.

First, consider whether there are any obstacles to your customer realizing full value from her or his purchase. Your job is to remove any hurdles.

Plan a post-purchase call around the time when you think new customers might need your help. Ask how the item she or he purchased is working.

While you might be able to answer questions in a phone call, it’s also useful to have some quick online tips to which you can refer a customer or … invite she or he back to the store.

Also, explore further what your customers want to accomplish and ensure they’ve discovered the product features that can help them.

In addition to calling customers, you can use email or conduct your own jewelry-focused podcast (yep, you read that correctly.) Or publish a newsletter that links to informative blog posts. Or offer webinars.

The point is, by communicating with current customers, you’ll educate them, demonstrate your company’s expertise and build trust.

Remember: the more value your customers gain from your product, the more loyal they will be. Stay top-of-mind and value the customers you have.

2. Ask Questions
You don’t know what you don’t know. You can’t assume that customers are loyal just because they continue to buy from you.

You need to survey your customers to really understand what they are thinking.

A good question to include is: How likely would you be to recommend the store to your friends? A recommendation demonstrates a high level of loyalty.

If you structure your survey correctly, you’ll gain insights that enable you to improve your store and service. And as you track loyalty over time, you can see whether you’re moving in the right direction.

3. Get Social
Further to No. 1, it’s important to communicate with your customers where they are already conversing. Today, many of them are on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and online discussion forums.

Encourage communication with your customers on these platforms. Doing so enables customers to learn from your subject matter expertise as well as others who are using your store. Plus, it builds your relationship.

Ask the brands you carry for help with this. They can share posts and exciting news about, for example, new styles or education about a diamond.

Also, use online social interactions to listen to customers and identify needs and opportunities. Are there any changes you should make to your store or service?
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Finally, try to identify whom your store advocates are and whether they are influential in your market. An influencer is someone who creates content and has a following online (and sometimes offline as well).

Build your relationship with these individuals by liking, sharing and commenting on their content. Find out if you can collaborate with them, and leverage the trust and influence they’ve built. For instance, you might want to interview the influencer for a post on your store’s blog.

To summarize: increase customer retention and growth by treating customers like the center of your universe after the sale, monitoring their loyalty, making necessary adjustments to your store and service to improve satisfaction, and maintaining strong relationships with customers online and off.

Enhancing loyalty is worthwhile because, remember, if you raise retention by just 5 percent, you could increase profitability by 25 percent or more.

It’s much easier to take care of the customers you have than to constantly hunt for new customers. It’s not that you shouldn’t generate new customers; just start looking at the resources you are putting into it and cost balance.

I believe we all can do a better job at taking care of the customers we have.

Make it the best sales day ever!


Pat Henneberry is president of consulting and sales training company The Jewelry Coach and an advocate for natural diamonds. Reach her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 512-203-3414, or on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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