A shocking 72% of customers globally have a high sense of loyalty to at least one brand. The brands that they’re loyal to are likely working hard on customer retention. That doesn’t happen by accident.
You don’t have to own a large worldwide business to keep customers coming back to you. As a small business owner, there are plenty of customer retention strategies you can use to build loyalty and keep your customers happy.
Not sure where to start? We’re here to help you. Read on to learn all about some of our favorite customer retention strategies that small business owners should be using this year.
Personalise the Customer Experience
If you want to build a brand that customers remember, you have to personalise the customer experience. When a customer walks into a big-box store to do their basic shopping, they know that they’re a number to the company. The experience isn’t personalised at all, and for some shopping purposes, that’s okay.
However, you want your business to be more memorable than that. You need to start building the customer relationship right away and start personalising.
Remember your customers’ names, preferences, and purchase history to make them feel valued and appreciated. If you send out emails (more on that later), use your customers’ names to make them seem more targeted. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, make sure you do your best to remember your return customers and make them feel welcome every time they visit you.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
Customer satisfaction is steadily going down in the UK. It’s more important than ever to offer excellent customer service if you want your customers to keep coming back to you. Remember, if they don’t feel respected or valued by you and your business, they’ll find another business that will make them feel that way.
Offer only the best customer service at every available customer touchpoint. Respond as soon as possible to inquiries, resolve issues quickly and effectively, and go the extra mile to exceed customer expectations.
This goes for both in-person and digital interactions with your customers. Customer service online is just as important. Many people spend far more time engaging with brands online than in person.
Consider Loyalty Programs and Rewards
Think about starting loyalty programs and reward systems to incentivise repeat purchases and encourage customer loyalty. Customers may need an extra reason to come back to your business, and a loyalty program or reward system can do that.
Offer discounts, special offers, or unique perks to reward loyal customers for their continued support.
Perhaps you send out special birthday coupons to former customers, or you give a discount code for the next purchase after every purchase over a certain amount.
When it comes to rewards, keep them simple, but also customised for your brand. For example, promotional products that are still functional, like promotional mugs. This way, customers get a fun little treat and they think of your business whenever they use it.
Stay in Communication
How often is too often versus just often enough when it comes to communicating with your customers? This depends on your business and your customer base, but in general, it’s a good idea to try to stay in communication as much as possible.
Stay in touch with your customers through a few basic communication channels such as email newsletters, social media platforms, and even personalised messages if it seems right for your customer base.
Keep them informed about new products, promotions, and events to keep them interested and engaged. Post sales on social media. Try not to overdo it, but make sure you stay on their minds.
On that note, communicating with your customers can also mean that you create opportunities for them to engage with your brand and connect with like-minded individuals (in this case, other customers or people interested in your business). Building a community around your business is a fantastic way to build your brand and make it more memorable.
Host events where customers can interact if it makes sense for your type of business. On social media, have followers engage in the comments. Share their posts that relate to your business.
These may seem like small things, but they make your customers feel like they’re part of something bigger.
Ask for Feedback and Act on It
You should always encourage customers to provide feedback about their experiences with your business. Customer feedback is one of the most valuable tools that you have at your disposal when it comes to improving customer retention.
Listen to their suggestions, concerns, and even complaints. It can be difficult to absorb constructive criticism (or criticism that doesn’t feel constructive at all), but it’s important. Not all comments and complaints will be worthwhile, but if you keep seeing similar concerns or trends, they’re worth looking into.
Take proactive steps to address the needs of your customers and improve your products or services when you can. Customers want to know that you’re listening to them. Show it by addressing and responding to customer feedback with changes.
Customer appreciation is key. How do you show your customers that you appreciate them? Do you think you could make improvements?
Surprise your customers with sweet and unexpected gestures of appreciation. Send handwritten thank-you notes or personalised thank-you emails for special customers or clients. Offer complimentary gifts or samples, again, such as promotional materials like promotional mugs.
Consider the things that brands have done that made you feel special. You shouldn’t copy exactly what they do, but you can try to embody the same general “spirit” when you’re working on your own customer appreciation tactics.
Create Memorable Experiences
Have you spent much time considering the whole customer experience? If not, you may be missing out on an important part of the customer retention puzzle. How can you go above and beyond a typical shopping or service experience?
Focus on creating memorable experiences that are sure to leave a lasting impression on your customers. Pay attention to the details.
You should always strive to make every interaction with your business enjoyable and memorable. This isn’t always easy, but consider how some larger brands do it. Perhaps they’ve turned something as simple as shopping for groceries into an experience that feels fun or interesting.
You could enhance the customer experience with decorations. Perhaps by creating a more “social media-friendly” space that people will love to photograph, your customers will feel like they’re somewhere special or exclusive.
Business owners should also consider hosting customer-only events (though it’s good to welcome people who are curious about the brand as well). Even if it’s just a small mixer or activity with your brand on it, it’s an experience. Pass out promotional items like your pens, totes, and promotional mugs and watch your customers get even more attached to your brand.
Your business doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You have competitors. Unless you own a brick-and-mortar business that’s the only one of its kind in the area, there are other places your customers could go instead. How will you compete with them?
Stay competitive in the marketplace by staying on top of industry trends, analyzing your competitors, and adapting your strategies to meet the ever-changing needs and preferences of your customers.
Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and try to do it better. You never want to copy your competitors, but if you see that you’re losing customers to another local business, it’s your job to figure out what they have that you don’t.
Of course, it’s always best to stay ahead of your competitors. Strong market research can help you do this effectively.
Keep Track of Results
Once you start making these changes to increase customer retention, make sure you’re keeping track of your progress so you can see what’s working.
Regularly monitor and measure the effectiveness of your ongoing customer retention strategies. Track certain key metrics such as customer retention rates, repeat purchases, and customer satisfaction scores. This will help you identify areas for improvement and refine your approach over time.
On that note, make sure you note down your starting point as well so you have information to measure against. Otherwise it can be difficult to tell where you’ve actually been improving. You need to be able to track your progress to see if you need to make adjustments.
Try These Customer Retention Strategies
These customer retention strategies can help your business thrive this year. When it comes down to it, your main goal is to make your customers feel appreciated and valued and to keep your brand at the forefront of their minds. There are many ways to go about that, but you have to decide which ways work best for you and your brand.
Start trying out various methods and tracking your results to see what works for you!
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Related Article: How to Differentiate Your Small Business in a Competitive Market