In today’s “growth-first” economy, many small businesses are focused on acquiring new customers and pouring a large chunk of their marketing budgets into advertising and public relations.
And while there’s nothing wrong with growing your customer base, study after study reveals that increasing your company’s customer retention rate costs your business 5x-10x less than acquiring new customers and can boost profits by 25% to 95%.
Consider this: According to the Gartner Group, 80% of your future profits will come from just 20% of your current customer base. Meaning, brand loyalty is one of the most important things that your small business can focus on to increase revenue.
Here are 7 ways that small businesses can boost customer retention starting today.
1. Give Customers a Unique and Personal Experience
Customer loyalty and retention begins from the very first moment that they interact with your brand. Whether it’s online or in-person, giving customers a personal and unique experience will draw them in and keep them coming back for more.
To do this, focus on how you can “WOW” your customers. What differentiates you from your competition? How does your service team treat the customer every time they interact with your business? Are you delivering a memorable experience that will resonate with customers long after they are gone?
2. Start a Loyalty and Rewards Program
Implementing a loyalty and rewards program is an incredibly useful tool in boosting customer retention for small businesses. There are tons of different programs out there to choose from and so you have options when it comes to picking one that works best for your business.
Look for the programs that offer real value to your customers. American households hold memberships in an average of 29 loyalty programs, but are active in only 12 of them. Therefore, if you’re going to invest, make sure you choose a program that they will find useful.
3. Ask Clients for Feedback and Listen
Your current clients are extremely important assets. Not only do they have the potential to purchase additional products and refer new business to you, but they are also a valuable source of information to improve your business.
Ask customers for their input on how you can improve overall experience and listen to what they have to say. Give them the power to actively participate and contribute to the improvement of your company and it will result in happy customers for life.
4. Nurture Relationships Using Social Media
Over the last several years, social media has become an integral part of customer experience and relationship building for businesses. The potential to interact with customers on social media channels is limitless and business owners should be taking full advantage of the opportunity.
Ideas for social media include: giving your customers a place to share their personal story, utilizing it as a customer service tool, showing additional uses for your product, addressing public concerns, announcing new products, and hosting contests and giveaways.
5. Reward Your Own Employees
One of the most essential elements of customer retention is customer service. Happy employees have the potential to provide excellent customer service, while disgruntled employees can be dangerous to your brand. Go beyond typical employee recognition and provide real, tangible rewards for excellent company advocacy.
Your employees are also some of the biggest supporters of your small business. They too want your company to succeed and each one of them has their own network of people to share your story and products with.
6. Feature Your Fans in Your Content
User-generated content (UGC) is becoming a powerful way to actively engage your customers and make them a real part of your brand. Putting them in the spotlight lets them know how much you appreciate them and can help to boost their loyalty.
User-generated content also has the benefit of adding credibility to your brand. For those customers deciding whether or not to purchase your product, witnessing real-time content and feedback from other customers helps to confirm their decision.
Start here for a few ideas on UGC campaigns.
7. Give Your Best Customers Special Treatment
For the customers that are openly engaging with your brand on a regular basis, provide them with the full experience. If you have a product line, send them something for free that they haven’t tried. If you’re an online company, give them an upgrade or let them test a product that has yet to be released.
This will cost your business very little to do, but will have a major impact on the customer. It will also make them much more inclined to share their experience with their friends, family, colleagues, and social followers.
As you can see, boosting customer retention for your small business isn’t rocket science. It only takes a few small changes in how you operate and can make a big impact on your current and future revenue stream. Take some time out of each day to help create customers for life.