Returning customers is crucial to a business’s success. It’s important to draw in new customers but if you can’t keep them coming back, then they’ll eventually run out. Maintained growth needs to be maintained by consumers.
Customer retention should be a key part of your commercial business strategy. Loyal customers are cheaper to generate leads from, open to bigger sales, and are useful marketing tools themselves. These 5 tips will help you understand what your business could do to improve its customer retention
1. Understand your churn
Churn is the rate of customers disengaging from your business. It’s important to know where you lose customers if you want to keep them. An example would be analysing which pages people leave your website from. Using your data is a powerful tool to update your strategy through digital transformation.
As well as being a barrier to new customers, the issues behind these high churn points can dissuade return customers from coming back. If they fought through a slow or awkward website once, they’re less likely to try and use it again if a competitor can do it more smoothly.
2. Keep up communications
Make sure your customers don’t forget you by talking to them even after they’ve completed a sale. This could include asking for their feedback once they’ve had time to try their purchase out or sending them a monthly newsletter.
You don’t want to spam them with obvious marketing emails that they’ll just filter out, and no one likes getting an advert for something they just bought, especially if it’s a clear one off purchase.
Try and personalise their messaging and don’t do it too often. You’ll need to find the right balance for your business, something expert support can help you achieve.
3. Build their trust
Brand loyalty is built on trust. If a customer knows you’ve delivered for them once, they’re more likely to come back to you for future problems. There are a few ways to build a relationship of trust between you and your customer
- Excellent customer service – the importance of them feeling comfortable that you’ll be there if something goes wrong can’t be understated. Friendly, easy to use customer service prevents them from being put off by minor issues and improves customer retention.
- Listen to feedback – a customer will trust you more when it feels reciprocated. Making it easy for them to provide feedback implies you trust their opinion as well as being useful to your development. When you act on feedback, make it known that it was because of them so that all those customers feel vindicated.
- Communicate with honesty – mistakes happen and things go wrong. No one can avoid this forever, and when problems get passed onto the consumer make sure they know why they happened. Keeping them in the loop reduces their dissatisfaction and again helps them feel valued.
Remember, the main way to earn trust is to be worthy of it. Treating your customers well, being transparent and not unfairly exploiting them will go much further for a small business than just paying lip service in marketing.
4. Reward their loyalty
You need your customer’s loyalty, so let them know you appreciate it. There are many kinds of loyalty schemes out there, from 10th drink free cards to collecting points for purchases, so consider the right model for your business.
Giving more than strictly necessary rewards them for choosing you. It also means that when they’re thinking of switching to a competitor, they have to consider the benefits they would be losing by leaving you.
5. Engage your customer community
Most products or services are attached to some form of community. Like-minded people will gather together. If you can make your business what they have in common, they’ll maintain their own loyalty.
Collecting your customers into one place makes it easier for you to communicate with groups while making it feel personal and friendly. Great examples of this can be seen by looking at many big brand’s social media presences. They get involved in discussions with their customers, spark interactions off and act like people, not corporations.
This comes with the added benefit of customers doing your work for you. Communities can provide customer support, marketing and sales services just because they like you and want to share the impact your business has had in their life.
Customer retention is about making your customer feel important and cared for, while eliminating problems that could damage your relationship. If they think you see them as more than just a source of revenue, but as people you genuinely want to help, then they’ll be happy to keep coming back.
If you think your business’s customer retention could do with boosting, a Part-time Commercial Director could be what you need. They can use their expertise and experience to help you work on your commercial strategy and processes on a budget that suits you.