Small businesses need to plan for growth while spending as little as possible. This can be a daunting task, especially if you’re having a hard time acquiring new customers. Although gaining new customers is essential, it’s not the only factor that affects growth.
In fact, retaining your existing customers is much more important for revenue growth. According to Invesp, even just a 5% increase in your customer retention rate could result in a 25%-95% increase in profits.
That means your main focus should be on keeping your current customers. And when you do acquire new customers, you need to invest in tactics that will get them to make repeat purchases. Here are a few innovative ways to help you keep your customers:
#1: Be Responsive to Customer Complaints
Customer complaints are unavoidable. But despite being viewed as negative, complaints are excellent opportunities for you to turn unhappy customers into loyal ones.
Whether you get a bad review online, or you have an in-store customer complaint, you need to proactively respond and offer a solution. Show customers that they can depend on you by solving their problems and you might even turn them into advocates.
Even if the issue is not within your control, such as delayed delivery due to weather conditions, how you interact with the customer will make a huge difference. Set realistic expectations, and proactively communicate with the customer, even if you have to deliver bad news. Most customers understand that you can’t solve everything, but they will appreciate your honesty and attentiveness.
Take a look at the way Seven Hills responded to a negative customer experience in the screenshot below:
The owner of Seven Hills apologized for the experience, and explained why the service took so long. They also invited the customer to come back to the restaurant, and promised to deliver an exceptional service next time.
#2: Provide Personalized Product Recommendations
If you have an online store, personalized product recommendations can be an excellent way to retain your customers. When you recommend relevant products to customers, it can persuade them to buy more products, increasing their average order value.
It also allows you to be helpful by anticipating what the customer might need with the products they’re currently viewing. This can enhance their experience, and may even turn them into loyal advocates of your brand.
In fact, 56% of online shoppers say that they will return to a store that offers product recommendations. And 53% say that retailers are providing a valuable service when they personalize the shopping experience. This means that personalized product recommendations have a huge impact on customer experience, which in turn impacts their loyalty.
- You could recommend products that complement the items currently being viewed. For example, recommend items that would make a stylish outfit with the top a shopper is currently viewing.
- You could recommend products that are similar to the item being viewed so shoppers can see their options. Or you could also recommend products that are frequently bought with the item being viewed.
Amazon has always done a great job with their personalized product recommendations. For some products, they display products that are often bought along with the item being viewed. And in some cases, they display items that customers might need along with the item being viewed.
#3: Engage Customers on Social Media
You may think that social media marketing is just for big brands. But the truth is that every business should be on social media to connect with their customers. Even if you’re not launching a social media marketing campaign, you still need it to engage customers, and build a relationship with them.
Statista reports that in 2017, 81% of the U.S. population now has a social media profile. So there’s a good chance that most of your customers are on social media. This makes social media an inexpensive, fast, and convenient way to connect with them.
You can use it to share customer experiences, provide updates about your business, and take care of unhappy customers. For effective engagement, try encouraging customers to share photos of their experiences with your business. Then feature those photos on your profile. You can also keep track of customer complaints, and respond to them via social media.
Restaurant chain, The Melt, regularly posts delectable images of their grilled cheese sandwiches and other dishes on social media to engage their customers. They also make an effort to acknowledge people who have mentioned them on social media. They regularly retweet posts from customers to show their appreciation.
#4: Reward Your Loyal Customers
Loyal customers are extremely valuable to any business. The previously-cited Invesp report stated that existing customers spend 31% more money than new customers. Your regulars deserve a reward for being loyal to your business. Start a loyalty program in which your return customers can enjoy perks that are unavailable to new customers.
You could design a program in which members can accumulate points for their purchases, and then exchange those points for discounts or free products. Or you could have a program with exclusive membership, in which members can enjoy benefits such as free shipping on every purchase, or free access to your resources.
Whatever you decide to do, the goal is to make regulars feel valued by providing them with perks like increased convenience or savings.
The rewards program at The British Food Depot is an excellent example. Members get reward points for every purchase, which they can redeem for savings on future orders.
In addition to the four tips above, you can also conduct customer surveys to find out how your customers really feel about your brand or products. Maybe there’s a certain process that they find particularly annoying or time-consuming. Or maybe there’s something that they want you to do more of.
Either way, customer surveys can help you gather valuable insights. You can use those insights to make improvements that will enhance customer experience, and help you retain your existing customers.
Got any questions about the tips here? Feel free to ask them in the comments below.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant specializing in Influencer Marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.
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