Did you know that the average company loses roughly 20 per cent of their customers on a yearly basis because they do not attend to customer relationships? In fact, in some industries, this can rise to as much as 80 per cent. The implications of this can be even worse for small businesses. Can you afford to lose these many customers? In the current day and age, customer experience plays a critical role when it comes to retaining repeat business. It is imperative to ensure your consumers get what they require from your products and services. With that being said, read on to discover some top customer retention tips for your small business to follow.

Use social media

Firstly, you should make good use of social media. Social media provides you with a convenient and quick way of keeping in touch with your customers. They can share details about their experience with your firm in a few seconds, including not only words, but videos and photos too. When a customer posts a positive review, this does wonders for your business, and you should interact with these customers to strengthen the connection. Thank the customer and offer them a perk. After all, word of mouth is still the most valuable organic promotion method. What happens if someone posts a bad review about your business? You can’t simply delete it. The best approach is to apologise and find a solution that can cause the consumer to come back for a better experience next time around. You should never get defensive or try to claim that the customer is wrong.

Make it easy for your customers to reach you

There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than trying to get in touch with a business only to be met with the dial tone. This can irritate customers and cause them to look elsewhere instead. If you are to retain customers, you need to make certain they have a number of different ways to get in touch with you. This includes emails, phone calls, and live chat, for example. If you are readily available and easy to get in touch with, customers will be more inclined to trust you.

Get to know your customers

Customers enjoy businesses that get to know them. When people do not feel ignored or rushed, they enjoy their experience more. This does not mean you should spend time idly, but it does mean that you need your customers to feel like a priority. Also, by getting to know your customers, you can make them feel special every time they call.

Show why you are different

Rather than trying to compete with the large firms, you need to show why you are different. There are a lot of people that prefer working with small companies because they feel like they get a more personalised and attentive service. Use this to your advantage. Be that business that goes the extra mile to make their customers feel important and you will reap the rewards. If you go above and beyond to woo your clients, why would they want to go anywhere else? To go that extra mile, be sure to isolate any potential issues and fix them before they turn into real problems. You also need to pay great attention to what it is your customers want, and be proactive in achieving this for them.

Reduce customer effort

If there is one thing customers do not want to do, it is exert their effort. This is especially the case online. No one wants to wait ages for a site to load up, and they certainly don’t want a struggle on their hands when trying to find the relevant webpage. This is why it is so important to reduce customer effort; this convenience is what the Internet is all about. You should also make sure you do not leave loads of fields for your customer to fill in when making a purchase. Make sure it is as easy and straight forward as possible.

Try to meet unreasonable requests when possible

If your customer asks something that is difficult for you, or something your business does not usually do, do not simply refuse it. Instead, try to meet such unreasonable requests whenever you can. After all, a satisfied customer can make all of the difference. If you go above and beyond to meet your customer’s awkward requirements, they will recognise it, and they will definitely use your business again.

Hire the right employees

Hiring the right employees in the first place goes a long way to boosting customer retention. After all, customer service all begins with your employees and how they interact with your consumers.

Loyalty programs

Although not often used by online businesses such as an SEO consultancy, loyalty programs present a great way for small businesses to boost their customer retention rate. After all, your regular customers deserve to feel as though they are getting some form of special treatment when compared with prospective or occasional customers. Why not offer your loyal customers something that you do not offer everyone else? Once you do so, it is likely that the individual in question will talk about how great your business is and share the details with their family and friends. This will increase interest in your firm, and you are likely to attract new customers while also retaining your biggest fans.

Remain organised with client relationships and contracts

For small businesses; organisation is of paramount importance when it comes to success. If you are not organised, it will show, and your clients will not be very impressed.

Provide unbeatable customer service

Go above and beyond when it comes to customer service and you will reap the rewards. Make sure that customer service communication channels are open and easy – for example, you could offer live chat, telephone, and emails. This allows people to get in touch in a manner they feel comfortable. You should also make sure you are attentive and do everything to help your customers when they have any issues.

Build KPIs around customer service

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) should be based on customer service. If you enhance the level of customer service you provide, you are pretty much certain to boost customer retention.

Offer promotions

Who doesn’t love a good bargain? There is nothing quite like heading to your emails to see you have 20 per cent off from your favourite store. Once your company starts to grow, you will begin to notice a pattern in regards to what services or products are in demand. You will also be able to analyse what customers visit your website more regularly than others. Regular customers can act as the best word of mouth for your company, and, therefore, it is advisable to target them with great promotions. Such deals will continue to cement your relationships.

Use automation

Another way to ensure your business retains customers is to make the most of automation. Automation tools enable time-consuming tasks to be sped up by using standardised, repeatable processes. This will lower your amount of downtime, meaning you have more time free to focus on improving customer relationships.

Question your customers

How are you going to be able to deliver what your customers need in order to retain them if you do not know what it is that they want? This is why it is important to speak to your customers. Ask them to fill in surveys on the services or products you have provided. Feedback like that’s can be extremely valuable. You will be able to get a wealth of data about your business, as well as the needs of your target consumer base. Do bear in mind, however, that it is a good idea to offer an incentive when trying to get someone to fill out a survey for you. A lot of businesses offer entry into a prize draw for a monetary reward, for example.

Train your employees

It is important to make sure your employees are fully on-board when it comes to customer retention. All of your workers need to be well trained so that they can speak to any customer that walks through the door, as well as communicating via emails and calls. They need to be able to aptly sell the benefits of your small business. It is up to you to provide the right training. You need to inform your employees of the information they should share, and when it is better to seek help from management before answering. Moreover, you need to choose the right people for roles that involve dealing with customers. If one of your customers has a bad encounter with one of your employees, they are guaranteed to share it, and this will hurt your brand image.

  • Remain on the radar after the transaction – There are too many companies that are guilty of making a sale and then simply disappearing. If this sounds familiar, you are bound to have a low retention rate. Instead, once a sale has been made, stay in contact with the customer, and ensure you collect customer data to help your business move forward. To get these customers to make repeat purchases, make sure you send the likes of email company newsletters and emails asking them to come back.

Relate to your customer

When building a relationship with a customer, you should try to relate to them in order to build a common understanding. After all, most people would rather purchase from an individual they can relate to. Therefore, whenever dealing with a customer, make sure you get to know their name and uncover a detail about them, for example, something interesting about their life. You should also adapt your personality to suit theirs, no matter whether they are a thinker, socialite, or something different.

Be the expert

You are likely to retain more customers if your business can be the expert in your particular field. This is true no matter what industry you occupy. You can build relationships with your customers that lead to a dependency if you become a trusted source in your area. Your consumers are going to trust you, and they will rely on you to give them stellar advice – they see you as an integral part of their success.

Care about your customers as people

Do not simply view your customers as sales generating objects. You need to view them as an individual, and care about them in this way. Nowadays, we have more of a tendency to think about customers as widgets and data in the current day. However, you need to connect with them on a human level.

Don’t just tell customers what you want them to hear

One thing a lot of business owners are guilty of is telling customers what they want them to hear, as opposed to actually listening to their needs. Remember, it is not about the aspects of your business you want to show off – it is about what is right for the customer in question.

Set customer expectations

Last but not least, make sure you set customer expectations from the off. One of the main reasons why so many small businesses do not retain their customers is because they over-promise, which then means they under deliver. On the other hand, it is actually better to under promise and then over deliver. You will eliminate uncertainty if you set expectations early. If you attempt to spin the truth or keep customers in the dark, they will only be disappointed in the end.

When it comes to doing business, there is nothing more important than your customers. As a small business owner, acquiring new customers and holding onto them can be difficult. However, if you use the tips that have been provided above you should notice a big difference. It is all about making sure you offer a service that is on a different level when compared with that of your competitors. If you go above and beyond in regards to your products and services, your level of customer service, and your attentiveness, you will surely be able to hold onto more customers than before.