Retention of custom is no doubt trickier in today's market, quite simply due to the fact that most buying decisions, including repurchases, start with a simple shop around online. Come to think of it, nearly every purchasing decision that I make over the value of about £20 starts with an online search.
This is certainly true in the B2B space, where often a company's chief differentiator is their expert knowledge of their niche. Mike Maynard of Napier makes a good point here in saying that we must delight both new and existing clients. The latter is something I know I should work more on and this piece has proved a valuable reminder. Quite apart from anything else, it's easier to convert returning customers into brand advocates, which usually helps to ease the process of acquiring new business anyway.
Buyers are even more empowered today, information is everywhere and is much easier to find, which means retaining customers can be tougher. In order to stay ahead you need to deliver the goods, provide excellent customer service AND stay top of mind for all the right reasons.