As a business woman, it’s of course always important to do what you can to acquire new customers and grow your venture. However, don’t forget that retaining your current customers is also a key to business longevity, and happens to be cheaper on the wallet to boot.
When it comes to business though, there is more involved in customer retention than just saying “Please come back again soon.” In fact, there are a variety of simple, yet effective, things you can do to wow your clients and have them returning to your venture again and again. Read on for three ways you can boost your customer retention rate today.
1. Know Who Your Ideal Customers Are and How They Shop
One of the first and best things you can do to increase customer loyalty within your business is to actually ensure that you know who your customers really are to start with. It is important to clearly understand details such as demographics, service needs, motivations, and buying and contact preferences.
For example, your primary customer may be mothers above the age of 30 who shop online because of the convenience, and who need short checkout processes which can be completed quickly when their child is napping.
Take a Walk in Their Shoes
Once you are clear about the desires and shopping habits of your ideal customers, you should then consider the set up, layout, and shopping processes of all parts of your business from the point of view of the consumer. Look at your brick-and-mortar store or office, and/or your website presence, plus other customer touchpoints such as social media sites, newsletters, and the like.
Think about a client’s first impressions as they check out your digital branding, shop on your website, read your newsletter, or visit your sites in person. Walk through the various processes involved in customers making contact with your business, browsing your wares, asking for a quote, and reading your brochures and see if they are straight-forward, informative, and suitable for your target market.
Don’t forget to consider not just visual impressions, but also a consumer’s other senses — e.g. think about the smells, sounds, and textures they will be noticing. If your primary customers are busy working women, for instance, you might like to play relaxing music or light scented candles in your store to help them relax, or dress up a website with female-friendly wallpapers, fonts, and graphics.
Evaluate and Adapt
Once you have looked at your business with your ideal client’s preferences in mind, you can start to see spots where they might be turned off from returning or from even parting with their cash in the first place. Try to find areas where you can stop pain points from occurring for consumers, as well as opportunities where you can delight them in new ways.
2. Incorporate a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are popular in business for a reason — they work! If you don’t already have one in place then, it’s important to incorporate one today. A good loyalty program is always straight-forward yet effective. It should be easy to use and understand for every person, and avoid overcomplicated terms and conditions or reward explanations.
There are various types of loyalty programs to choose from, including basic systems which reward customers with a free or discounted product or service after a certain number of purchases; or tiered programs with different levels of rewards for each. Depending on the industry you’re in and the type of products and services you sell, you will find some types of programs work better than others.
3. Follow Up Consistently
Another good way to boost your retention rate is to consistently follow up with your clients, especially your best customers. People are so busy these days that it’s easy for them to forget that they need to book a repeat service or buy a replacement product. It also happens often that customers can forget who they purchased from before, and so will use a different business because they see a great deal or are approached by your competitor.
If you haven’t heard from a customer in some time (depending on the industry this may be as little as a month or as much as a year or more), you should get in touch with them yourself and offer them an incentive to entice them back to your business.
You could offer them:
- Free product samples
- A value add-on in their next purchase
- Bonus loyalty points
- A decent discount
No matter what you choose to use as the “bait,” simply following up and reminding your customers of your business and its offerings can make a huge difference to your retention rate long-term.