You have a new business, and you want to market it. You want to attract as many visitors to your website as you can and have them become paying customers. Yet, that’s not the only goal you should focus on. Sure, getting new customers is important, but getting them to return for seconds is just as vital for your business. You want to pull as many new buyers in as you can while keeping the older ones. In other words, you must cultivate good customer retention.

Sounds like a common sense approach to doing business, right? Well, it undoubtedly is, but most business owners avoid paying attention to it. Econsultancy commissioned a report which showed that as many as 82% of businesses see customer retention as less costly than customer acquisition. The problem is that only 15% of these businesses actually focus on retaining their customers. About 45% maintained a balance between the two, though.

As you can see, customer retention matters. You ought to focus on it if you want repeated business and a somewhat constant cash flow. Not to mention that well-maintained customer retention means fewer customers lost to your competitors. The customers you already have know what your product is like, and they will keep coming back to you if they’ve had a decent experience with it.

We won’t lie, improving retention is no easy task. Every customer has their specific needs when it comes to a service or a product, and your constant buyers are no exception. Therefore, you ought to be flexible and offer changes when you feel you need to.

How to Improve Customer Retention?

This article will provide you with five proven strategies to improve your customer retention. Read on and employ them, and customers will come back to you for more than just seconds.

1. Provide Your Customers Great Support

Marketing experts, such as BestEssays’ Elijah Merck, claim that their retention rates went up by almost half when they provided a 24/7 support option to the customers. A customer will always appreciate non-stop support from their preferred business. In fact, he or she will be so satisfied that there will be no need to visit a competing company. Again, that’s a 50% retention rate increase. That’s a lot!

However, let’s use another example, so you can have a clearer picture as to how important retention is. Nearly everyone today has at least one smartphone, and each smartphone uses apps. You install an app, and for whatever reason, it begins to bug or even downright crash. What do you do?

Simple. You delete it and download a similar app from a different software developer.

But imagine if you had a working support team behind that app. If you have a problem, you don’t need to delete the app – simply ask the team to help you with it. That way you can continue to use it, despite its problems, and you’ll have no need to get a different app.

What to do, then?

Apply this knowledge to your own brand. Invest some time and money in a decent support system that customers can rely on in their time of need. Make it easy for them to use the system. If they have issues with your product, the team ought to be as close as a single click away, at all times. The fun part of it all is that you have many options to choose from. For example, you can put a live chat software directly on your main web page. However, if you don’t have the money, simply set up a contact email feature. Next, hire a specialized team to reply to your customers when they have problems.

Live chat and an email address are just two steps. Social media is where it’s at, though. You will benefit from hiring a team to deal with every social media channel you have, be it YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Most users will post their messages on one of these platforms anyway, so why not use it? Naturally, you ought to offer the same level of support on ALL platforms, not just your website and email address. Furthermore, don’t wait too long to answer your clients. The faster you reply, the more likely it is that they will stay with your brand.

2. Your VIP Customers Are Important; Treat Them as Such

Most businessmen will tell you that business isn’t just sales and money, and they are absolutely right. Sales data is crucial to your brand’s growth. Therefore, you must research it and pay attention to how customers behave. If you do, you will find out who your VIP customers are. Usually, they are people who spend more money on the services and products you offer. Other than spending more, they will also come back to you more often than other customers. You must keep in mind that even these loyal customers can leave if you don’t try to retain them.

The first step is to observe what these VIP customers do. Pay close attention to how they use your product, what their trade patterns are, how often they ask for your company’s support, etc. Tracking this is difficult, but not impossible. You can use something called a customer relationship management software or CRM. Note everything they say or do when it comes to your product. The minute you see something is off, move in and get things back in order. Otherwise, you’ll lose loyal buyers quickly.

Make sure you have an up-to-date VIP customer list. Then observe their shopping patterns for about half a year. If they haven’t bought a single thing, send them a discount. Use an automated message when doing this and make sure it sounds natural enough to get them back to shopping. If you remind your customer how important they are to your business, they will be happy and return to shop for your products.

There is, of course, much more you can do for your customers than mere automated “Come back!” messages. The next strategy will let you know about that in more detail.

3. Make Sure Your Customers Get Special Offers

You now have the sales data of your customers. This gives you ample opportunities to customize their future experience. Looking at their user history is great for this, as you can craft other purchases to mirror the old ones. Let’s say you sell pet food. A customer then buys one particular brand of dog biscuits. The next thing you must do is create a special offer based on that product. Offer that customer everything that can potentially go with those dog biscuits. You can offer a dog bowl, a different flavor, maybe even a leash to match the color of the biscuit brand. Tailor the order for the customer in such a way that they will want to buy your product again, as well as risk buying new products.

Naturally, you cannot do random offers. You ought to make them reflect what the customer wants or needs. But don’t forget those VIP customers either! Whenever you can, offer them free products or services with each following purchase. Consider throwing in some free branded items, like promotional pens or something they will use everyday. That way they will know your business works for them and will come back to it and even suggest it to other potential customers.

4. Social Proof Makes for Powerful Marketing

Social media is everywhere, and businesses worldwide know how much it helps with getting new customers. Of course, it goes without saying that it also helps with customer retention. Positive social proof can cement your brand at the top, and people will flock to it. Negative social proof, on the other hand, will give your customers an impression that you’re slowly “losing your touch.” In other words, even your VIPs will leave the moment they see poor social media responses to your business.

It’s extremely important that you try to provide lots of positive social media proof. VIP customers will stay more easily with a product that consistently does well with shoppers. Of course, as mentioned earlier, they will even further promote you. You must use that to your benefit.

But how will you get positive social proof, you ask? The key lies in working hard on your social media platforms. Remember, the users will most likely review you on Yelp, Google+, Facebook, or any other similar platform online. Read the comments and respond as often as possible, especially if it’s a negative review. If your customers feel they’ve been wronged, offer replacements, refunds or compensations. Customers will appreciate you working hard to do the right thing for them, and their reviews will reflect that.

5. Testimonials Are Your Friend

Yes, there are times when people just don’t feel like doing a survey or giving out testimonials. But don’t be fooled – they often do. In fact, if a customer is pleased with a service, they will share that with as many people as they can. On the other hand, they can also talk about what they didn’t like, or what they think can be changed. Pay close attention to both.

Did you pay attention? Excellent. The next step is to send all customers a brief survey. This survey ought to have simple, direct questions: “What did you like about the product?”, “What did you hate about it?”, and “What would you like to improve?” etc. Be sure to take a good, long look at the complaints. They can let you know what the customer expected, but didn’t get with your product or service. Once you know this, you can work on the issues and improve your business.

The moment your customers fill in the survey, keep them posted regularly. Let them know what you improved or enhanced about your services or products. Moreover, give them info about any upcoming discount or offer. You want to be the businessperson that listens because it’s those businesspeople that retain their customers.

A Few Final Thoughts

How can you sum up successful customer retention? It all comes down to listening to your customers and constantly improving your product or service based on what they say. Hopefully, the five methods you’ve just read can help you achieve that.

 

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