During a recession retaining your core customer base is priority #1.
Step one is to stack rank your customers in order of revenue and profit contribution. Then segment them into categories or levels based on their order in your ranking.
In step two analyze your current customer retention efforts. You need to understand what your current outreach program looks like. What are your customer "touch points?" Are they receiving daily, weekly, quarterly or just spotty personal contact? What percent of the revenue generated by your top customers are you reinvesting back into customer retention programs targeted at these top customers? Are all customers treated the same or do the most profitable customers get a different level of attention?Step three is to evaluate the effectiveness of your retention programs. The best way to do this is to step into your customer’s shoes. Would your outreach programs make you want to buy more from your company? Would you feel like your company really cared about you as a customer?
With step four you will determine the optimal level of outreach for customers based on revenue and profit contribution. Decide the frequency, impact and types of touch points you want for each level or category of customer. Determine what percentage of revenue you're willing to reinvest to show customers that you truly care.
Finally in step five develop your customer retention program based on what you learned from your analysis in steps 1-4. Then execute your plan. If you don't have internal resources who have bandwidth or the right expertise, outsource it. Retaining your customers is too important to put off another day and the quality of your program is critical.