A poor customer retention rate can be a death sentence for smaller businesses trying to compete with big box stores. Tracking your rate and taking aggressive steps to improve retention is critical to sustained success and profits for small firms. The following is an overview of some of the most effective and actionable tips for improving customer retention for your small business:
1. Prioritize Customer Experience
The ability to deliver a personalized, quality customer experience is one of the greatest advantages of a small company over a lot of large providers. As it is difficult to compete on price as a small firm, use your abilities to deliver the products, experiences, and services that discerning customers want. To deliver a great experience, you must know what your customers expect. Continuously gather research through surveys, interviews, and other methods. Adapt your experiences over time to match changing marketplace dynamics, improved technological capabilities, and new opportunities.
2. Resolve and Remedy Problems
Despite your best efforts, customer-facing businesses always run into situations where a customer is not completely satisfied. As a small business, you cannot afford negative word-of-mouth in your community and on social media. Thus, a well-developed and executed system for resolving complaints is critical. Train your team on key resolution steps, including listening, evaluating, deciding, and implementing a solution. Know that remedies have costs in the short term, but the upfront investment in resolving the issue helps with retention and keeps your market thinking positively about your business.
3. Get Involved in Your Community
A certain portion of your marketplace has a strong desire to support small or local businesses. Don’t shy away from this opportunity. Embrace it! Get involved in community events and activities to demonstrate your commitment as a citizen. Sponsoring local schools, nonprofits and community events shows commitment and keeps your brand front-and-center. Owners and other representatives can also help a lot by staying active in community service organizations.
4. Build and Maintain a Contact List
“Out of sight, out of mind” certainly applies in the business world. It is hard to retain customers if you ignore them or don’t communicate. Think about how you react to personal relationships when the other party cuts off communication with you. Direct mail and email campaigns are among the most effective tactics for marketing communication aimed at improving retention. Email campaigns are an affordable and efficient system for sending out newsletters, deals and discounts, announcements, and event information. All of these communication efforts keep your brand in front of your audience and provide an inviting platform.
Implement these key strategies to improve customer retention for your small business. Even modest gains in retention rates can dramatically impact your bottom-line results.