One of the most important aspects of building a business is retaining your customers. While bringing in new customers is critical to growth, maintaining your customers is critical to building a successful and stable business. Unfortunately, many businesses spend more time on sales than on supporting their existing customers. The old adage is that it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer compared with keeping a current one. This is not completely accurate, but the concept applies. If you have a customer, it is always cheaper to keep that customer than to find another one. As such, do whatever you can to make your customers happy and telling your friends about how great your product or service is.
Start with the Customer
It sounds cliché, but start with the customer. In other words, don't think about how you can optimize your processes. Don't think about how you can streamline your marketing or tech tools. If you are lucky enough to find a niche in your industry, focus on building your brand and business on the understanding that your product or service is the most important component to your customers' experience. Take a moment to think about your customers' issues. Then, focus on solving them. Customers will take your products and services as a result of better understanding their problems. If you are solving their problems, then you have a great beginning to a long-term customer.
When it comes to your customers, being personal and responsive can go a long way. Get to know your customers and make the effort to get to know their needs, needs they can't even express to you. This can lead to new ideas that will make customers stay and build loyalty to your brand. Get to know them on a personal level and provide value. Customer engagement comes from a personal touch. Every brand needs to understand its target market and tailor every product to that market. Focus on what makes your customers tick. For example, you can offer a subscription-based product or come up with a customer-centric service. Whatever it is, don't forget to focus on your target market.
The secret of any good business is to offer something of value. Your customers need to know that they are getting something back for their business by working with you. However, that doesn’t mean giving them your product for free. You don’t need to be a big, fancy corporation to offer great value to your customers. Creating a unique experience for your customers is the most important thing you can offer. The moment they realize you are giving them something worth spend money on, they’ll keep coming back.
Don't Abuse the Customer's Time
Even with a good quality product or service, a bad customer service experience can turn a customer off your company. As a result, it is important to always provide a friendly, polite and professional customer service experience. Focus on delivering quality and don't fail them when they need you most. If you let your customers down, their next purchasing decision will be their decision to leave you. Always listen to their feedback and take the time to respond to any concerns and complaints. By valuing their time and addressing their concerns quickly, you will prove to them that their time is important to you and that you care about their business.
Make it Easy
One of the biggest challenges that many small business owners face is how to keep their customers engaged. Whether they're large companies or startups, one of the most effective ways to stay in contact with your customers is through newsletters. Constant communication is key in today's world of text messaging, email and social media. Make it easy for your customers to get in touch and see what you are working on or to get access to exclusive content. Pay attention to whether you are developing a new product or services and try to get feedback from your customers early and often. Keep track of any changes you are making and take time to send out emails, posts, and other promotional material to your customer base to ensure they are aware of any potential changes, updates, or information that may be important to them.
Use Social Media
I know, this sounds like a no-brainer, but often social media can go overlooked. If you are a small business owner, using social media is critical to keeping your customers engaged and aware of your brand. This can be as simple as providing new information or as involved as offering customer advice. Either way, people love to hear directly from their favorite brands, and in today's world, it can often lead to more conversions. Partnering with other businesses on social media can also be a great way to keep your customers engaged. For example, you can share information about promotions, sales, and even events to help create awareness. And don't forget the power of content sharing!
In many industries, giving away freebies can be a way to get people to try your product and provide you a more long-term relationship. Perhaps offer a free trial period with no cost, free shipping, or a free service so that customers can give feedback on your product. These are some things you can do to make customers feel valued. Even the simplest gesture of good will can help build a customer for life. This does not mean you should give aware your services for free all the time, but trials, promotional gifts, and branded materials can often drive more business than they cost.
Have a Sense of Urgency
To ensure that your customers are sticking around, you need to have a sense of urgency. If a customer sees an advertisement that has an advertised delivery time of five days, but your online store is out of stock of a certain product and needs to get more immediately, they will go elsewhere. This creates a scenario that is much harder to overcome. If a customer spots that a product is out of stock, they might not believe that you are actually out of stock, as the advertisement can make it appear that you are. The incentive to walk away without taking action is higher than if you are just a few days away from having the product in stock. If you have a service offering, then delivery of your service is the urgency. If you prospective customer finds out that you can not do an install or assist them for a couple of months, they will likely look elsewhere. No matter if the need is delivery of services, a product, or assistance, you need to treat every request as critical and find a way to deliver on the customer expectations.
To grow your business, you must build a list of satisfied customers. You can do this by using referrals from satisfied customers and by offering customers a special discount for recommending your product or service. These discounts or incentives should not be generic, but tailored to the type of offering your customers rewards that are highly personal and meaningful. The more of your customers that you can bring into your core business, the better. Spend time with your customers and get to know what incentivizes them to recommend you. This way, you are building your business quicker and reducing your customer acquisition costs.