— January 11, 2019
As a small business owner, you may feel overwhelmed by everyday challenges. Small businesses have to keep looking for new clients. There’s a constant pressure of daily expenditures.
Imagine a situation where you didn’t have to run around and chase new clients all the time. What if you could keep your existing clients and they also got new business for you?
Studies show that a retention strategy like that is cost-effective. In fact, it’s 6 times more expensive to win a new customer than to retain an existing one.
Sounds far-fetched? It’s not. Here are some unique tips to keep your existing customers happy and committed:
1. Be a Provider of Solutions
A business is born out of an intent to help fill a need-gap. You identified a customer challenge, came up with a solution and decided to start a business.
Most businesses soon forget about their prime motive. They do not realize when their end-goal changed to ‘earn more revenues and profits’. I’m not denying the importance of consistent inflow of money in business.
Be a ‘friend in need’ for your clients, rather than hammering down deals could make all the difference. That mindset shift can help build a true human-to-human connection with your customers.
2. Keep in Touch
Friends who stay in touch, stay friends, isn’t it? There are a lot of ways to build out that relationship. For instance, a simple message on birthdays and anniversaries is one way to show you care. A smarter approach to sending out such email messages is to run automated campaigns. You can set up a variety of email campaigns:
- Send an onboarding message to a new customer
- Share helpful content from your blog
- Create an emailer with hot new tips for your customers
Email marketing doesn’t have to be expensive either. There are many inexpensive email marketing tools to choose from. A simple email is good enough to offer your customers a little more than they expect from your business. Well, and when it’s automated, it’s super-fast and easy to manage.
3. Offer Rewards for Referrals
Running a complex rewards program can be tricky and time-consuming. But you can always run your own smaller version of a loyalty program. Offering a bonus or a gift of appreciation would be a pleasant surprise for clients. Plus, you can ask for referrals.
Let’s say you’re running a local fitness studio. You can offer a month’s free subscription to anyone who gets you a new member. Next, you can include it in your fitness automation program, with onboarding follow-ups and enticing motivation (very important in the health sector). Include it on your social media pages.
A good way to promote your gym member referral program offer is to put it up as a poster in your studio.
4. Be Fair to Your Customers – Set the Right Expectations
Ever felt cheated to find a product or a service doesn’t live up to your expectations? You would not want the same reaction from your customers, right? At times businesses exaggerate their offering for getting more sales. Being honest is the best way to lay the foundation of lasting customer relationships. It’s good to be clear about what you can provide before making a commitment.
5. Impeccable Service
When companies are too worried about growth, they start devoting everything to sales. The result: existing customers don’t get the attention they deserve. Prompt service could be the best way to stand out in a competitive market.
According to Gartner, “members of the next generation of customers flock to businesses that treat them as if they were special, rather than as ‘just another number.’
Customer service can either be memorable or a complete disaster, take your pick. Clients always talk about their buying experience with peers. Being ready with a helping hand is all it takes to provide better customer service and build trust.
6. Get Feedback
You might be a great chef. But knowing about your restaurant visitors’ tastes adds to your skills. The same is true for any business.
A little hospitality goes a long way in getting close to your customers. There’s no better way than to talk to your customers and ask for feedback. This way you’ll be killing two birds with a stone by:
- Getting to know what your customers expect from your services.
- Making your customers feel valued.
Source: Moosend email marketing
Tripadvisor sends an automated thank you email after someone who leaves a review. This is just one of the 23 types of thank you emails you could send.
But small business companies which rely on user-generated content need to keep users inspired to share their input. By rewarding positive user-behaviour these companies manage to see repeated behaviour in the future.
7. Train your Sales Team to Be Trusted Advisors
It’s not possible to interact with every customer to the same degree. There should be people in the company who understand and empathize with them. Finding salespeople who are good listeners is challenging but training them is not. You can coach your sales team to understand customers and be smooth communicators. They must know the product or service inside and out. They should be able to work with a consultative selling method and earn customer respect. Being the trusted advisor can build out long-lasting relationships.
Even when customers have a long time from one sale to the other, you should keep-top-of-mind, familiarity works. So building the image of the trusted advisor can also be when it is concerning more than just your own product.
8. Social Media Monitoring
Clients always look for a quick response to their queries. At times, they put them up on social channels like Twitter. Responding will help you win those much-needed brownie points.
You can make use of a social media monitoring tool to keep tabs on your brand mentions and respond.
- Be more personal on social media
- Do not paste standard replies
- You should not delete negative comments
- Take negative feedback in your stride
Social media is for customer service and for knowing your audience.
9. Be Approachable
Your business should be approachable to (potential) customers. Customer care numbers, email contacts, are all critical. It’s essential to display these on your site. Chat is becoming more popular.
Your site, by the way, should be well designed and quick to load. Recent SEO trends and tactics research showed that those are among the top 5 things that get people to leave a site once they have landed on it. Make sure the contact option is right there and visible.
10. Remarketing Campaigns
It might seem only for new customers, but many times your loyal visitors would come to your site and move on without looking back. Don’t forget they showed an interest in what you’re selling. Remarketing campaigns are a terrific way to connect with them again.
A paid campaign pointing at those who visited your site is a cool way to win back lost leads. The repurchase is loyalty. You can make use of remarketing campaigns on Google, Facebook, and even LinkedIn.
Over to You
Being nice to your customers is the best way to get them to make larger purchases from you. The strategy can help you to turn your clients into money-making assets. Happy clients will give you everything – sales, positive reviews, testimonials, and referrals. As a small business, you need to make ‘customer delight’ a habit and everything else will fall in place.