Retaining customers is one of the most cost-effective ways for a business to ensure a profit. We'll provide ideas here.
It’s common for new companies to focus all their energy and budget on acquiring new customers. For some reason, customer retention is pushed aside until it’s too late, despite being critical for any business hoping to grow.
But experienced business owners will tell you that retention is often more cost-effective and yields a higher ROI than acquisition.
Why do businesses put retention on the back burner? It can be challenging, and sometimes the results of your efforts are as immediate as when you attract new customers.
But with the right strategies in place, you can set your small business up to maximize your revenue by encouraging repeat business. Hoist wants to show you how.
Most business owners understand the importance of making business deals to retain customers. The problem is that it's not always an easy process.
For one, it's tempting to treat potential customers better than existing customers because it draws new people in.
However, customers may not stick around if you don't foster relationships, leaving your company in a continuous acquisition cycle.
Another challenge in retaining repeat clients is the necessity of understanding your customers deeply and regularly making changes.
For example, if your products and services do not evolve to keep customers happy, you will struggle to encourage long-term loyalty. You can be sure your competitors will adapt — even if you don't.
Let's talk about seven ways you can encourage repeat business:
Create a loyalty program to turn many of your existing customers into repeat customers. Customers want to feel valued and connected to a brand, and loyalty programs can accomplish that. Harnessing the power of a loyalty program can help your business motivate your customers to purchase more.
Be sure to offer attractive rewards. Remember that your customers likely have other reward programs to choose from, and you want yours to stand out. As your customers make more purchases and earn more rewards, it's a win-win for your business and customers alike.
Instead of starting your customers off with zero points, give them a head start to make them feel like they can score big with only a few more purchases. Offering welcome points is also a sign of good faith, and it can quickly garner more repeat customers for your company.
Remember that your competitors probably offer high-quality loyalty programs, meaning your business should provide a unique and interesting program. Think of ways to inject creativity and gamification into your program. In other words, make it fun!
Ultimately, you need to give your customers a reason to return, and providing future-use coupons is an excellent way to do that. Many customers will come in search of a specific product or service. Once they find it, they may not be obliged to come back.
But a coupon they can apply to a future purchase from your business will give them a good reason.
Think of other discounts and incentives you can offer repeat customers as well. You may not want to provide steep discounts if your margins are tight. However, you can encourage new customers to return by giving them a discount code or special offer after their first purchase.
You could even provide exclusive discounts, free shipping, and other incentives during the onboarding process.
Every company and its customer base is unique. You might need to experiment with various offers to see which ones impact customer retention and prove most profitable for your business.
If you want to drive repeat business, work to stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds. They should remember you after making a purchase. To retain customers’ interest, many companies offer promotional materials. You might be surprised by how impactful a branded calendar, pen, or T-shirt can prove for your business.
Remember that customers like to feel valued, and having a supply of freebies to give to folks who purchase from you is a great way to make that happen.
A simple item with your logo on it can keep your business in the forefront of customers' minds while getting your name out there at the same time.
People like to be treated as more than just customers when visiting a store or buying from a business. You can encourage repeat business by getting to know your customers and tailoring your customer service to fit their needs.
The quality and level of service that your customers experience will ultimately determine their perception of your brand. Personalizing their experience and giving each customer special attention does wonders for building positive rapport and, eventually, repeat business.
There are also other ways to boost your company's customer experience. For example, you can provide live demos and training to help customers feel comfortable using your products.
You could record training videos, but a better approach is to video chat with any customers who have questions or concerns. You can clarify any confusion with your product and leave the person highly satisfied.
Live chat is another way to encourage customer satisfaction and repeat business. It only takes one bad experience to drive customers to your competitors. With personalized live chat support, it’s possible to prevent those bad experiences.
Timely responses are a key aspect of providing top-notch customer service.
Customers will take their business elsewhere if their questions are not answered quickly. That's why it's critical to have around-the-clock customer support.
To avoid a bad customer experience, consider using chatbots to offer 24/7 automated customer service. A high-quality chatbot can answer many of your customers' queries before involving an employee.
Using chatbots means that your customer service is available to people in different time zones. Also, you may have many customers who prefer not to speak to a live person.
You can even build a customized chatbot for your products or services. You can gradually make changes, so your chatbots provide more resolutions to issues and queries. The results? Higher customer satisfaction and more retention.
It is next to impossible to improve customer experience without customer feedback. After all, you need to know what your customers want and need from your brand!
Think about how you can proactively seek customer feedback. Customers will rarely reach out to explain which extra features and services would make your company more appealing. Instead, approach your customers regularly so that you know how to upgrade your offering.
You can send out online surveys through email or use in-app messaging, live chat, and chatbots to get feedback. Once you have gathered data from your customers, you will need to analyze it and find common patterns.
For example, maybe some of your customers think you should include an add-on service or a specific feature to your products. Armed with valuable feedback data, you can create a strategy for making the necessary upgrades so that your products and services appeal to your existing customers.
In addition, make sure to notify customers of the improvements you make based on their feedback.
If you run a B2B business, approach your clients about any services you could trade. For example, you could offer a discounted rate for your commercial maintenance services to an IT company in exchange for lower rates on new software installations.
Business deals like these tend to be a win-win scenario for both parties and can ensure the working relationship continues for many years to come.
Moreover, if you are buying a turnkey business, be sure to maintain any existing relationships to avoid losing an advantage.
Here are a few other techniques that can help you retain clients:
Customers and clients like to be in the loop.
You can make your clients feel like they belong on the team by notifying them of new developments, such as company milestones, new partnerships, and new products or services. The simplest way to keep in touch with your customer base is to send out a newsletter.
One of the worst things for your customer retention efforts is for clients to experience a nasty surprise with your brand.
Communicate what your customers should expect from your products or services and deliver on your promises. With that said, not all surprises are bad — surprising your customers by exceeding their expectations could work in your favor!
While many different strategies and tools can help you drive repeat business, it all comes down to making your customers happy. When someone has a good experience with your brand, they are more likely to return and send others your way.
Your team should always serve your customers with smiles and friendly attitudes. You might be surprised by how far consistent service can go in helping you reach your goals.
Customer acquisition is expensive, but customer retention is cheap.
Since encouraging repeat business is an excellent way to boost profits, it makes sense to take steps to maximize your retention efforts.
Consider the tips above for encouraging customers to return to your business for more purchases. Visit Hoist today for more information and advice on building your small business.
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