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6 Practical Retention Strategies to Help Build Better Customer Loyalty
By Rich Kahn, eZanga.com
Arguably, the biggest advantage of shopping at a small business is that customers get a very personalized experience unique to SMBs.
But, it can be hard for small businesses to build customer loyalty when they can’t always offer the huge deals that larger chain stores can.
So, how do you improve customer retention and build loyalty? Well, there are quite a few ways you can delight your customers to keep them coming back for more.
Get to Know Your Customers
The best way to make your customers feel important and valued by you and your company is to actually get to know them. And as a small business, that’s a huge advantage for you.
Getting to know your customers lets you truly personalize their experience, which can improve all of your other customer retention strategies. Customers enjoy businesses who get to know them on a first-name basis, so tell your employees to spend more time with customers.
Group Your Customers by Interests
Once you get to know your customers, you can work on grouping them together so you can automate some of your interaction. (You have a business to run, after all. It can’t always be one-on-one.)
By grouping similar customers together, you can tailor their offers and other personalized content, such as additional product suggestions or even birthday cards.
If you want to get a little more technical, you can send out more individualized automated emails to your different customer groups to check in on them or tell them about any relevant promotions.
Wow Customers With Thoughtful Gestures
You don’t have to spend a ton of money to delight your customers. Instead, create a more “frugal wow” by building your customers’ experiences through small, but thoughtful, gestures.
If you take the time to get to know your customers, this should be easy. It really is the thought that counts to a lot of consumers, because larger businesses don’t have the time for that.
Plus, these gestures would most likely be a surprise, and that’ll make them even more memorable. The smallest gestures can be memorable when they come out of nowhere, even if it’s something as simple as a handwritten thank you note.
Encourage Customer Feedback
Always invite customers to give you feedback and advice, and even offer a chance for a reward or discount to incentivize it.
Positive customer testimonials and reviews are one of the most effective strategies for getting people to listen. Consumers trust other consumers, and if customers see a consistent positive experience, they’ll most likely come back for more.
Of course, not all reviews are positive, but don’t delete bad reviews. Instead, reply to them and work to solve the issue. That way, when other potential customers see the negative review, they can also see how well you handled the situation.
Feature Your Customers in Your Content
One of the quickest ways to make a consumer feel important is to feature them in your content. You can run a contest for “Customer of the Week.” Or you can offer a shout-out to a customer who made a suggestion that you thought was great.
It’ll make your customers feel as though their opinion is valued, and that you put their needs first. Featuring your customers lets them know that they’re more than just a sale to you.
Make Existing Customers Feel More Important
Showing your appreciation through a simple thank you note is a good start, but you can make your loyal customers feel even more important.
Consider starting a loyalty or insider program. You can give your most loyal customers VIP or gold status instead of a regular loyalty program status. After all, your most loyal customers probably want to feel more important than other customers, and they won’t want to lose that status.
Keep Your Quality High
Ultimately, one of the best ways to get customers to come back for more is to make sure the quality of what you’re offering remains high. Customers value high quality products and great customer experiences, and they’re willing to pay a little more for them, too.
Never sacrifice quality to save money, and always put customer service at the top of your priority list. If quality is a priority and you genuinely care about your consumers, most of the other aspects of customer retention will fall into place.
Rich Kahn is the CEO of eZanga.com and has been recognized as a leader in the online advertising industry since 1993. Rich started eZanga.com, a digital marketing firm specializing in pay per click and pay per call advertising, in 2003 with his wife, Beth. Follow him on Twitter at @richkahn.
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