Here’s a fun (or frightening,) fact: It costs five to seven times more money to hook a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
So now that you’ve worked pretty hard (and spent a fair bit of marketing money) to bring your small business’ existing customers into the fold, the question becomes how to keep them there.
Customer retention gets a lot of lip service, but what does it really mean, and how can you achieve it? In a nutshell: You have to reward your customers for being loyal. So here are some tips for doing just that.
1. Implement a Rewards Program
We know, we know – these days, it seems like every business has a “loyalty program,” and most of them give you nothing except another laminated card to add to the 30 others cluttering your wallet. However, when done correctly, a rewards program can actually do a lot of good.
Some businesses use punch cards. Others prefer to give out points, generally based on the dollar amount of the purchase. It doesn’t really matter which way you go – what matters is that customers see the benefits. A rewards program won’t be successful if the “rewards” are out of reach for months or years; instead, develop a tiered system that allows everyone to participate and feel appreciated.
2. Offer Exclusivity
Your loyal small business customers – the ones who have had your back through thick and thin – have definitely earned a few perks, so give them the true VIP treatment.
Whether you offer early access to promotions, free standard shipping for return customers or even the ability to test some of your products and services before they’re offered to the general public, giving your most dependable customers something above and beyond the norm makes it a safe bet that they’ll stay your most dependable customers.
3. Get Personal
People like to be treated … well, like people. They like to know that they’re more than just a line item on your accounts receivable page.
Develop a personal relationship with your customers. Remember birthdays, pets’ names and other personal details…even if you need a customer relationship management program to help you do it. It’s a free or low-cost way to increase your retention rate and be an awesome business owner in the process.
Don’t let your valued small business customers get away. Instead, show them how valued they really are by rewarding their loyalty and making them a customer for life.
Whether you’re looking to retain your current compadres or bring new folks into the flock, Mischa Communications can help. Give us a call or send us an email to learn more!