Keeping your customers happy—and therefore loyal—is key to any long-term business success. It takes much less time, effort and resources for you to encourage repeat business than to try and cultivate new customers.
But what are the best ways to increase customer retention? Let’s look at some of the best ways to keep your customers intrigued, engaged and, most importantly, patronizing your business.
1. Offer them something for free
It’s no secret that everyone likes free stuff. It may seem like a costly proposition to give things away, but it doesn’t have to be a product or service. Are there vendors or other colleagues you can partner with to give your clients something extra? Maybe a free webinar on a key aspect of business or a coupon code for savings off their next purchase; these things can be relatively cost-effective and encourage more business.
2. Check in with your customers often
The best judge of the happiness of your customers is your customers. Make sure you routinely speak with your customers and your client-facing employees to gain an understanding of their current satisfaction levels with your business. It is very important to take the temperature of your clients regularly so that you can address any problems when they arise and maintain a high level of customer satisfaction.
3. Make it personal
Your customers like to know that you not only understand their business but understand them as well. Focus on making your interactions with each of your clients as individual as possible. For example, when launching a new product line, you’ll probably want to spread the word to all of your customers. However, identify some of your top prospects, and reach out to them one-on-one. Give them more than just a boilerplate description of the product, and address how it specifically would impact them and their business.
4. Listen closely
At the end of the day, your clients face many of the same struggles that you do. Offering them a willing ear serves a double purpose: on one hand, it will generate feelings of goodwill for you with your client, and secondly, you’ll find out what types of issues they’re having and how you might be able to address them. Listening has always been a key technique of strong salespeople, but it’s just as important with long-term customers too.
5. Always make it about quality
No matter what, your clients care about quality. Even more so than speed or cost, your clients will remain loyal if you consistently provide them with quality products and services. Keep in mind that even though your competitors may offer similar products or services at a lower rate (which may attract more customers initially), quality will keep them there. This is very helpful in increasing customer retention.
6. Offer terrific customer service
This may seem like an easy one, but too many businesses forget that what happens after a sale is almost as important as what happens before it. Make sure that you have a dedicated and competent customer service team ready to help clients as they begin to use your products or services. If a problem arises, make it right. If many customers report a similar issue, take steps to correct it in future iterations of your product. To increase customer retention, keep your customer service staff motivated and well-trained so that they can confidently deal with issues as they encounter them.
Depending on the size and scope of your business, you might want to invest in the customer service software. This software can aid you in tracking issues, flagging problems and delegating tasks to different members of the customer service team. It also creates a wonderfully easy-to-search historical database of your products and a knowledge base for employees as they come aboard.
If you are planning to increase customer retention, you should know that your business is unique, and so are your customers. By treating them as more than numbers in a ledger, you’ll be able to offer them a truly singular experience that will enable them to see the value in working with you and your team. Make it about the customer, and it’ll keep them coming back.