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7 Customer retention strategies for small businesses :
If you own or manage a small business, you know that your customers are your bread and butter. Predictably, your focus is on getting as many customers as possible in the door. But it’s equally important to ask this question — what do you do once you get them there?
Smart business owners know how to keep customers. They understand the value of repeat business and how it affects their bottom line. Returning ecommerce customers, for instance, spend almost twice as much money as new customers, according to a study by Monetate.
So, let’s look at seven customer retention strategies that can help drive your further success.
- Know Your Customers
One necessary element of any successful customer retention strategy is to know who your customers are. That might sound simple, but it can actually be quite complex. Customers don’t always buy rationally. Often, they’re motivated by emotions, by the experience you provide as much as the product or service you supply. What’s the need behind their purchase? What other items are associated with the purchase? Are there other similar needs that are unmet? What made them choose your business – location, convenience, price, value? Understand exactly what it is you’re offering customers, and strategically plan ways to reach them on an ongoing basis.
- Offer Quality
It goes without saying that customers want quality. One bad product or one service gone awry can sour a client on your company forever. Stay on top of quality control measures to keep your customers happy. And if something should go wrong, make it right – as quickly as you possibly can.
- Create a Predictable Experience
Customers want familiarity. Whether your business is a brick and mortar establishment or a virtual one, customers want to be able to recognize your brand and feel comfortable spending their dollars at your business. Don’t be afraid to let the personality of your business show. Be transparent and build trust.
- Involve Your Employees
If you have employees who interface with customers, you no doubt know how important employee feedback is to keeping customers coming back for more. Involving employees in evaluating the customer experience can pay big dividends. It can make customers happier, and employees will feel more like a valued part of your business.
- Capture Feedback in Real Time
You could just assume your customers are satisfied. Or, better yet, you could ask them. Capture feedback in real time by delivering email or telephone surveys to customers immediately after the transaction has taken place. If possible, have customers identify the employee who assisted them with the purchase or who provided the service. Then follow up with praise for work well done or corrections for issues that might have arisen.
- Use Social Media
Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool available to any small business. Social media lets you reach out with timely information about your products or services, while also allowing customers to provide feedback on their experience. If a customer post is less than positive, make sure you respond with courtesy, a ready apology, and a way to remedy any issue the customer expresses.
- Focus on Loyalty
In the end, what you’re always trying to do is to generate customer loyalty. Offer returning customers special deals, exclusive sales, discounts, coupons, reward items, or customer appreciation events. Doing so will go a long way toward making customers feel special and will encourage them to keep doing business with you.
For more than 60 years, California Bank & Trust has been helping California businesses grow and prosper. We help lead them to brighter and financially sound futures. Today, we’re one of California’s most dynamic and admired banks, offering guidance, collaboration, and customized options simply not found at other banks. Contact us today for more information on how you can make California Bank & Trust work for the success of your business.
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