In order to stay afloat, most small businesses rely on repeat customers. Needless to say, if your business is unable to build connections that foster repeat patronage, you’re likely to have a very rough go of it. So, if turning first-time customers into loyal regulars isn’t currently one of your foremost priorities, now is the time to bump it up the list. Small business owners looking to increase customer retention in a timely and effective manner can benefit from the following measures.
Regularly Express Gratitude to Customers
Business owners have every reason to be grateful to customers. Every patron to whom they provide goods and/or services plays an important role in helping their respective businesses keep their doors open. Unfortunately, given some businesses’ approach to customer service, you wouldn’t know this. Openly expressing annoyance with customers, failing to properly greet patrons and refusing to display even the most basic courtesy are common practices at a staggering number of businesses. Is it any wonder, then, that many of these businesses are unable to remain open for long?
Gratitude will serve you well in many areas of life – and business ownership is far from an exception. You’re liable to have a hard time finding a customer who doesn’t enjoy feeling appreciated, and the more gratitude you show patrons, the more likely you are to generate repeat business. With this in mind, make a point of ending every customer interaction by offering your heartfelt thanks. Whether you’re speaking with someone in person, talking to them on the phone or communicating via text or email, make sure they know how much their patronage means to you – and how much you’d appreciate doing business with them again in the future.
Institute Customer Appreciation Programs
Customer appreciation programs can help your business in two important ways. First off, they can effectively illustrate how much you value your patrons. (After all, “appreciation” is right there in the name!) Secondly, such programs provide customers with incentive to give you repeat businsmall business CRM softwareess. For example, if you run a café, punch cards can be effective tools for getting customers to come back a certain number of times within a designated time-frame. Each time they offer you their patronage, they bring themselves closer to receiving a special discount or free item.
Sending exclusive coupon codes and offers to customers who provide you with their phone number or email is another effective way to foster trust and loyalty with patrons. As an added bonus, having a customers’ contact info will enable you to keep them abreast of upcoming events and the latest goings-on within your business. Additionally, using dependable small business CRM software will help you alter and refine customer appreciation programs as needed.
Consistently Interact with Patrons on Social Media
Although social media platforms provide us with convenient vehicles for keeping in touch with friends, family members and assorted acquaintances, they also serve another important role – enabling us to stay current with a wide range of celebrities, public figures and businesses. So, if your business has yet to use social media to its fullest advantage, now would be the time to change that. In addition to creating accounts on the web’s most prominent social platforms, take care to update each of these accounts on a daily basis and regularly interact with your followers.
Connecting with customers – and prospective customers – via social media will help you build a solid rapport with your followers and foster loyalty to your business. After all, the more effectively you communicate with patrons, the more invested they’re likely to feel in your long-term success. That being the case, make sure to respond to any comments or inquiries you receive via your social media accounts in a timely and courteous manner, and create posts that encourage audience engagement.
Every small business should seek to keep customers coming back. Turning first-time visitors into repeat patrons can pave the way for lasting business relationships, customer loyalty and positive word of mouth. While turning every person who darkens your doorstep into a regular customer may not be feasible, generating a significant amount of repeat patronage should be well within your abilities. So, if enhanced customer retention is what you’re after, take care to consider the measures outlined above.