Putting Customer Retention Into Real Terms

About once a month, the local vicar used to come to our school and give an assembly.  One day, he chose a volunteer (and I’m sure the experience has never left Trevor), gave him a rose and asked him to take it apart.

It took Trevor a while to come to terms with the fact that Mr Cadnam really did want him to destroy the rose.  Then he sat on the floor and completely dissected it.  It took him about 30 seconds to turn the rose into a pile of petals, a few thorns and a stem.

“Great – thank you,” said Mr Cadnam.  “And now here’s a tube of glue.  Please stick it back together again.”

Trevor looked from Mr Cadnam, to the glue, to the rose and back to Mr Cadnam’s calm, kind face.  Then he sat back down on the floor and for the next 30 minutes tried to stick the rose back together.

Trust – so easily destroyed, but so long and complicated to restore.  And you’ll never get it quite as good as it was.

Your website can be a powerful tool in building and maintaining customer trust – a key factor in a customer’s choice about what businesses to use.  You can use your website to build that trust.  It’s the “shop window” of your business – and they’ll base their opinion of your company on what they find.  So make sure your website is:

Easy to use – be consistent and put me in control
Clear, honest and up-front – for example, delivery charges and times, and whether VAT is included in the prices displayed, product descriptions
Accurate, with attention to detail – particularly when describing products or services
Up-to-date – still got your summer offer up?  It’s time to replace it.

Then, make sure you don’t destroy their trust:

Keep your promises – I know you know this, but it’s so important that if you’ve said you’ll call them back, you do.  Even if you’ve no update.
Admit mistakes – and put them right as soon as possible
Be responsive – try to respond to customer queries within 24 hours
Be diligent – answer all their questions (not just the first one), think about what other information they might need that they may not have explicitly asked for

Because no matter how much time and effort it takes, it’s easier to keep a customer, than try to get one back.


Don’t agree?  Something I’ve missed?  Leave a comment below…