Retain and Grow Your Customer Base


Getting customers is one of the most difficult aspects of running a business, so it is important to retain the ones you have, sell more to them and continually look for new ones.

This guide explains how to get to know your customers and understand your market so you can increase sales and develop your business. It explains how to use sales data, customer care systems and your databases to develop a strategy for keeping customers.

It also explains how to identify your most valuable customers, and how to maximise this value. The guide also explains how to use diversification as a means of growing your business.

Get to know your customers

The more you know about your customers and their needs, the easier it is to sell to them and target them with appropriate offers. You can use the information you know about them to improve your business’ efficiency and customer service by tailoring product offers and providing personalised treatment.

The right information will let you build up a useful profile of your customers. This typically includes:

  • Who they are – the age and gender of individual consumers, or industry and business size for corporate customers
  • What they think and believe, what interests them, and their opinion of you and your product
  • Their purchasing behaviour – which products they buy, where and when they buy them, and how they pay

Profiling your customers in this way helps you group them into different segments, each of which can be approached separately.

There are a number of ways that you can gather this information on your customers – eg using customer surveys, or if you sell online, using your website to capture information automatically. For more information, see nibusinessinfo’s guide to market research and market reports.

If you have just a few important customers, it’s worth getting more detailed feedback from them. Keeping a central record of customer details and sales reduces errors and speeds up transactions, while making it easier to identify and resolve any problems.

You can use specific IT software to help you collect and analyse your data. For example, linking customer records to your accounting system makes it easier to see how profitable different customers are.

Linking customer management to buying can also improve profitability. For more details, see nibusinessinfo’s guide on how to manage your customer database.

You must make sure that you meet data protection rules for any personal information on existing and potential customers that you collect, keep or use. There are also specific rules for e-commerce. See nibusinessinfo’s guides on how to comply with data protection legislation and privacy and data protection in direct marketing.

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