7 Effective Customer Retention Strategies That Actually Work

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Retaining your customers has never been more important than now. While there is no harm in grabbing the attention of prospects, in the time of crisis it is best to cater to your existing customer base.

Various studies have proven that customer retention helps improve a business’s overall profit. It implies that customers are willing to place repeat orders with companies offering excellent customer service.

Effective customer retention can be a game-changer for your business, especially during a pandemic? Here are seven customer retention strategies that you can start implementing today.

1. Incorporate small gestures of gratitude

Appreciation is a key aspect of building customer loyalty. Your customer could spend their money with any of your competitors, but if you make them feel welcome more than anyone else, they’re more likely to stick around.

Small gestures go a long way. For example, send a personalized thank you note, especially for a new customer’s first purchase. They’ll feel special knowing that you took the time to acknowledge them.

Another small gesture is to send small freebies once in a while. Discounts are great, but branded pens, magnets, and other promotional items are unexpected, so customers love to get them.

Not only do these gestures make customers feel appreciated and noticed, but they make customers view you as a person instead of a faceless corporation.

2. Be accessible

No matter how strong your communication is, customers will have questions and needs from time to time. It helps to overcommunicate especially during uncertain times. They’ll base their future loyalty on how you handle their needs during tough times.

When a customer reaches out, ensure the service representative responds quickly. 33% of customers expect a response within one hour when they contact a business. According to the same study, if six hours go by without a response, 51% of consumers will move on to your competitors.

In addition to being responsive, you want to make it easy for customers to contact you. Set up several ways for them to reach you, such as an online chat, an email address, a phone number, and even a texting line. It’s common for customers to reach out via social media, too, so be sure to keep an eye on all your accounts.

3. Have consistently reliable customer service

The biggest reason a customer will return to you is if your customer service is truly exceptional. The key here is to listen to the customer and provide relevant solutions. Optimizing your customer service process as and when you learn about new issues is a must. This way, the customer is assured that his issues will be effectively handled by your team.

For example, create a page such as www.brand.online/customerservice and advertise it to your user base that they can reach out to on this page for any concerns. 

4. Make loyalty more economical

Each consumer is unique, and so are their motivations for choosing you over your competitors. While many customers base their loyalty on how a brand makes them feel, for others, it all comes down to dollars and cents.

To appeal to those customers, set up a rewards program that makes loyalty pay off in a literal way. For example, give customers a $5 gift card when they spend $100 and a $15 gift card when they spend $200. Be clear about how customers earn discounts or gift cards and advertise the program extensively.

5. Take customer complaints seriously

Studies show that only one in 25 unhappy customers complain to the business. The other 24 are no longer loyal customers and may even be discouraging others from buying from you, without you ever knowing why.

When a customer complaint comes in, tell yourself that you’re trying to earn the favor of 25 customers, not just one. Take it seriously and think about how to address their concerns.

Your action doesn’t end when the customer forgives you and comes back for future purchases, though. Instead of simply apologizing, find a way to fix what went wrong. This might mean changing a policy or watching a particular employee more closely.

This makes the complaining customer feel more empowered, and it also reduces your chances of losing customers in the future from the same negative experiences.

6. Maintain ongoing communication

While customer service focuses on responding to customers after they reach out, you can gain a lot of loyalty by reaching out to them, too. Find ways to maintain contact with customers and stay in their minds when they aren’t actively shopping.

One way to do this is with email newsletters. Ask each customer to opt into your email list and send them occasional emails with updates, helpful tips, videos, and more. You can do the same with social media and, less directly, with blogging. These communications nurture your relationship with customers the same way you cultivate a friendship by texting back and forth.

Make sure you take a practical content marketing approach, though. Focus on informative, interesting information rather than sales pitches.

For instance, if your business is a hair salon, write an email newsletter with your top tips for healthy hair instead of an email listing the services you sell. Customers already know what you sell, and they may get tired of hearing about it because it brings them no real value.

7. Support worthy causes

Did you know many people under 40 would instead buy from companies that give back to society rather than donating to the charities directly?

When you use your business to support a great cause, it sets you apart from competitors. Customers would rather shop with you because it makes them feel like they’ve made a compassionate choice.

For example, the shoe company TOMS has become well-known for giving a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair a customer buys. By adding a philanthropic mission to your business plan and making it known, you give customers one more reason to choose you and continue choosing you over your competitors.

Final thoughts: Using customer retention strategies that produce results

Image Source: Crazy egg

Returning customers are the lifeblood of countless businesses. Not only do they give you a continuous flow of revenue, but most businesses find it easier to keep an existing customer than to find and attract a new one. These actionable customer retention strategies can help your business grow consistently for years to come.

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