Any good business spends a lot of time and money in the pursuit of new customers. For a business to grow, its customer base needs to grow as well. However, you can sometimes make the mistake of forgetting that customer retention should be a robust part of your business plan as well.
Customer retention is a significantly less expensive strategy than customer acquisition and the return on your investment is much higher. Here are a few simple customer retention strategies that you’ll want to consider when you make your next sales plan.
Emails, newsletters and blogs
The use of a sales email is a familiar tool for increasing profit and gaining new customers. Customer retention emails are just as cost-effective and can be a powerful tool to keep existing customers engaged with your business and increase up-selling. You can create relationships with consumers by checking in with them regularly, offering training or education on the product they have purchased and letting them know when you have new products available that you think they might be interested in.
A company newsletter is a great relationship-building tool. It can serve to offer product knowledge, new product information, notification of upcoming sales or events and any number of articles of interest to your buyers.
Most big businesses have blogs these days, but small businesses can benefit from having one as well. Consumers like to buy from companies that share their interests and values. A well-written blog that offers useful and thought-provoking content that is relevant to your customers can create a bond that can make you their presumptive choice when they have a need you can fill.
Reward your customers
Feeling like you are valued and appreciated is a strong motivator for just about anyone. And free gifts are always awesome! Your business could really benefit from a customer loyalty program that rewards your shoppers for buying from you.
There are many kinds of customer loyalty programs out there. Some may offer points for each purchase which can then be redeemed for free or discounted products, others might include your company making a donation to a particular charity equal to a percentage of a customer’s purchase cost. You can tailor your reward program to suit your business and the overarching characteristics of your customer base. Added incentives and shared values are strong motivators for customer loyalty.
Excellent customer service
This one is old-school, but it never goes out of fashion. Regardless of your prices, incentives and even the quality of your products, poor customer service is hard to overcome.
How many times have you bypassed a store that you know might save you money, but that has rude employees that you can never get to help you when you need it? It happens all the time. Even though consumers want to get value for their dollar, on some level they also factor in the value of their time and the importance of being treated well.
In the southern U.S., the Publix chain of grocery stores has built its success on offering their customers incredible service and a pleasing experience. The motto of the chain is “Where shopping is a pleasure.” They’re often not the lowest price option, but their mix of cleanliness, an upscale look and truly friendly employees makes them the number one choice for shoppers across the South. People will pay more to be treated well—even in a bad economy.
Retaining existing customers to maximize return sales and up-sales is a relatively simple and low-cost way to increase your business revenue. An investment in email and sales automation software can give you a good return on your investment and the time spent on customer communication tools such as newsletters and blogs are well worth your time. Make customer service a trademark of your business and consumers will reward you with their loyalty. Be certain that you include customer retention as an essential part of your sales strategy.