May 9, 2013 Leave a comment
When you’re running a small business, no matter the industry, customer service is essential to your reputation and growth. So many businesses initially focus on customer acquisition to build their company and quickly overlook customer retention. Once you’ve established some customers and had some success it is easy to want to increase the marketing to draw in new prospective customers. This is valuable, however, pausing and examining your current customer base and identifying ways to retain these customers can be more valuable for your business growth in the long run.
Failing to attend to and develop customer relationships can account for significant losses to a business. Constantly chasing new customer leads and ignoring current customer needs can actually stifle your growth and, in the worst case, give your business a bad reputation for customer service. To avoid this scenario, here are a few easy customer retention tips to implement in your small business.
Building the initial relationship is sometimes the easy part. Keeping the customer and maintaining communication to sustain that relationship can take a lot more work. Just because you made a sale doesn’t mean the relationship is over. Ensuring that the customer is happy with the purchase and encouraging communication and feedback about the product and experience can make customers feel validated in the transaction and more receptive to continuing to do business with your company.
If someone made a purchase from your company in the past, it is worth making contact with them to reignite their interest. A lot of resources need to be invested in generating new customers, so why not save some hassle and reach out to past customers? Often, generating an email newsletter to send out and offering promotional discounts to previous customers can spark interest and get people shopping again. Sometimes just making that extra effort to demonstrate that you care about a customer’s experience and their continued business can be enough to retain their interest.
If you don’t already have a method for providing correspondence with your customers, start one. Everything from email newsletters, automatic thank you cards, promotional offers, loyalty programs, and ordinary follow-ups after purchase will go a long way to retaining customers. Personalizing the experience as much as possible and giving people a way to engage with your company are excellent ways to build positive relationships. Social media and blogs are also great for this since it allow customers to better get to know your brand and share informative and relevant information with others. Maintaining an active but not desperate degree of communication with customers is a highly valuable long term retention strategy.
Provide Amazing Service
This is the simplest and most obvious, but is the tip that is so frequently ignored and forgotten. If you give bad service or are inattentive, rude, or too rigid with your policies, your business will develop a reputation and people will avoid dealing with you. Of course, providing amazing service is easy said than done. This also comes back to communication. Being responsive, polite, and accommodating to customers is the foundation of quality service. After this, having a quality product at a fair price with flexible policies can contribute to more customer trust and, eventually, better sales.
by Ben Vaughn
Ben Vaughn writes on small business development strategies, qualities of customer friendly contractors, and effective marketing. He writes for restoration companies across North America, such as ACR Restoration and Al-Care DKC.