How to find, build and retain customers?

Followup to the part 1 of the article: How to build a strong team: (by Prasanna Dhungel and Ujwal Thapa)

Part 2: How to find, build and retain customers?

Lets say you have built a strong team, the next logical question is how to find or build customers?
First list out your potential customers . Look from all angles.

 Lets take an example of an online travel booking provider for local motels in the trekking routes of Nepal.

Your potential customers could be:

Customer 1: Local Hotel / Motel owners: (whose place you book)

Customer 2: Guides / Porters (affiliates who guide customers to you)

Customer 3: Travel Agencies (Affiliate and customer both)

Customer 4: Trekkers/ Travelers (direct customer)

Customer 5: Banks ? financial transaction carrying institutions ? (a good ally to process online transaction and serve as a trusted ally to convince your local motel owners)

Now how do you build customers ?

Here are some challenges to answer that question:

Who do you target first ?

The hotel owner because if they don’t use our service, we cannot book the place.  Then maybe trekkers. Travel agencies could use your service while being a competitor by driving hard bargains or figure out their own systems of booking (through mobiles)

Know who influences your customer?

politics/ society/ guides/porters/ online reviewers/ past experiences

How do you build trust among the community ?

word of mouth, a guarantee for travelers, a safety net for hotel owners that money will be duly and surely transferred, safety, security and positive fear that if they don’t use your service they will lose money, status etc.

What kind of product to build?

Smooth Booking to your hotel from online Travel Booking Software,

secure and safe, and with a guarantee.

How do you get feedback and what to do with it ?  

Get feedbacks from each motel in time. Feedbacks can be social media/ online/email too. How you use this to build a better product is the pivotal question. Your customers love you for a product that gets them what they want. And your product improves as you know inside out what your customers want. It is also your responsibility to predict intuitively what your customers would love.

How do you turn each of your customer into a revenue generating mechanism?

How to use your satisfied customers as affiliates, providing respect, thanks, and deals to them to use the service again is extremely important. Repeat customers are best customers.

What value added service can you add to your core -booking system to help your customers?

Maybe turn from booking to even other transactions (buying local goods etc) somehow. A some form of emergency services option also built in ? say if client needs that service and s/he doesn’t have enough cash, s/he can use our service as a guarantee ?

Remember travelers don’t always carry enough money on treks or run out of it.

How to retain customers ?

By doing the things mentioned above consistently.

Do read part 1 of the article: How to build a strong team: