The first question to ask yourself is whether you are selling the products and services that customers want. If not, they may buy 1 or 2 things from you and then never come back.
If you are sure that you are selling what customers are looking for, then let’s start by talking about basic customer retention strategies. If your business is already doing this, check back next week. I will be sharing advanced customer retention strategies.
1. Always give the best customer service you can give
The number 1 strategy to retain customers is to provide excellent customer service. Customer service 101:
- Be polite and friendly and smile, so as to make every customer feel welcome
- Put the phone down and give them your full attention, even if they don’t buy from you
- Find out what they are looking for and offer 2 or more solutions
- How do you want people to talk about your business? Suppose you are the customer: what would make you happy? Treat your customers that same way
- Make sure your employees are also doing the same
2. Tell your customers “Thank you”
People like to feel appreciated. Especially if they are spending their money in your business. You can do this when the customer is leaving your business. “Thank you for your business. We really appreciate it. Please come again soon.”
If people order from you through email or by phone, you can add a thank you note when you are delivering the product. You could also send a separate “Thank you” email message. If possible, include a flyer that will give a discount on their next purchase.
3. Be quick to resolve issues to the customer’s advantage
Do so with a smile and an apology. Don’t get angry or shift blame. You are the one who sold that thing so accept responsibility if your customer is not happy and solve the problem.
4. Give your customers rewards for loyalty
Once in a while, give your loyal customers a free product or special discount. Just to show your appreciation to them for being a loyal customer.
5. Do more than what your customer is expecting
Surprise them. Find a way to reduce cost for them. If they tell you they have been looking for something and they can’t find it, find it and sell it to them next time they come. Make sure their favourite products are always in stock. Or add a small service for free when they order something.
6. Keep in touch with your customers
If possible, keep customer records on paper or in Excel. Collect their contact information and any other information they are willing to share. You can also use a free email marketing programme like Mailchimp to keep customer records.
This will allow you to contact them with special offers. Or to inform them about new products and services that you are adding to the store. Or even to wish them happy birthday or happy wedding anniversary! Use any excuse to keep them thinking about your business in a good way.
7. Ask your customers for feedback
If somebody purchased from you and they come back or you see them somewhere, ask them how was the product or service? Are they satisfied? Is there anything you can do to improve the product?
If they tell you they are satisfied, ask them if there is anything else they want you to add to the store? Asking your customer to give you feedback tells them that you are engaged in your business and looking for ways to improve.
You can ask your customers to give you feedback verbally (ask them the next time they come to your business), you can give them a form to fill out, or you can send them an online survey. If you want to do an online survey, check out SurveyMonkey. You can use the free version of SurveyMonkey to get responses from up to 40 customers. You can also link SurveyMonkey to Mailchimp and send automatic questionnaires to your customers.
8. Celebrate your most valued customers
There are many ways to do this. For example, you can do it when your customer comes to your business and have your employee give them balloons and an award for “Valued Customer”. If you need inspiration for great designs, check out Canva.
9. Invite your customers to connect on Facebook
You can ask them to be your friends on Facebook. If you have a Facebook Business Page, you can ask them to like your page. Through this, customers will get to know your business better and it will help you to build customer loyalty.
As time goes by and they start trusting you, they will start telling other people about your business. You can also encourage this by using some of these free online marketing strategies.
10. Respond to missed calls ASAP
This is an easy strategy to set your business apart from the competition. You will be surprised how many people do not return calls!
Returning missed calls from customers will tell them that they are important to you. It will encourage them to come to your business when they need something.
11. Buy from your customers
Do your customers have their own business? If you want to build loyalty among your customers, start supporting their business too. Buy from them. Or allow them to promote their products and services in your store. Of course, you may not want to do this if your customer is also your competitor!