Regardless of if you are a burgeoning new business or a well-established company, customer retention is a key component of success in small businesses. Consistently looking for and acquiring new customers can be both costly, time consuming and a major distraction. By cultivating relationships and spending the necessary energy to allow them to blossom and develop, businesses can find themselves with wonderful new opportunities to flourish.
What is Customer Retention?
Customer retention is a company’s ability to create repeat transactions and continued business with one consumer. It is crucial to understand who your customer base is before you can build a relationship. Knowing who your customers are, what drives consumer behavior, what their needs are and their interests are will allow you to provide a more tailored experience and signal that you are willing to identify and address their needs.
One key step of ensuring positive relationships with your customers is to assess your accountability within your organization. Ensuring accountability is an important and cost-effective way to increase customer retention, as the easiest way to create conflict within a relationship is to lose a sense of trust. It does not cost anything to keep your word and ensure that you follow through on what you say. The same can be said for mistakes. While it can feel tempting to save face when you make mistakes, mistakes are natural to the human experience, so rectifying the issue, holding your organization accountable and providing an honest response to the issue will show consumers that you are devoted to the relationship that you’ve established with them. By offering a trustworthy experience that your clients can rely on, you lay the foundation for building a positive experience with you.
Feedback can be a useful component of ensuring customer retention, as this allows the consumer to feel that their voice is being heard and their opinions valued. Feedback can reflect products, interactions and the overall customer experience. Soliciting feedback and offering the opportunity for customers to reflect and share their experience can offer a great deal of data to your organization about what is working and what needs an adjustment. After each interaction, providing a short feedback form to assess their recent interaction can be a helpful touch point and for larger-scale assessments, more extensive evaluations can solicit information for a broader view of the company. This check-in with your client may provide significant insight and serve as a powerful tool when assessing and looking into the customer experience in real-time.
Loyalty programs are a great way to incentivize customers to continue working with you. This particular incentive structure can provide clients with the chance to reward themselves for their continued relationship with your organization. It is important to understand that there are different types of loyalty programs, so understanding who your customers are, what their needs are and what drives them is crucial to instituting a successful program. By offering a well-tailored loyalty program, you can validate your client’s business with you and provide them with the motivation and rewards to keep them from taking their business elsewhere.
With our world shifting and moving as quickly as it does, it is important to know that speed of service can be a significant influence on customer retention. Fixing issues and addressing concerns should have a reasonable turnaround time to ensure a positive customer experience. Consumers want to know that their issues will be addressed appropriately promptly.
Customer service is an area that feels natural to many as a bridge to a good relationship with consumers. Showing that your customers are valued through numerous methods can fall apart when there is a lack of customer service. By offering quality care to clients through all transactions and interactions, thus ensuring that each experience is at the utmost standard, can alleviate the stress of working with your company. With that, customers are more likely to bring their business back knowing they’ll have a positive experience.
Consumers are the energy and fuel for a company, particularly for small businesses. It can be incredibly costly to replace customers and drain a great deal of energy from the organization, rather than devoting time and focus on retaining current customers. It is useful to understand and continually evaluate how your company’s interactions with clients may be hurting or helping your organization to remain successful and profitable. While experiences may differ in various situations, it is important to best understand the needs of the consumer base and address their needs in order to retain them as a customer and build upon their loyalty.