Building Meaningful Customer Relationships

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customer retentionRepeat customers are a large profit driver for most small businesses. That’s why it’s crucial to keep in touch with customers, whether they’ve been to your business once or a dozen times.

Even a small uptick in repeat business can mean big boosts for your bottom line.

“According to the Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent.”2

That’s a whole lot of potential that you could take advantage of! We’ve put together the top strategies for keeping your customers engaged and coming back — check them out below.

 

1. Build Your Customer Base via Email

Email is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies. But in order to email customers, you need to get their email addresses, and the biggest wall that prevents customer loyalty programs from sticking is getting people started.

So instead of hoping customers will sign up for your mailing list on their own, try offering an incentive like a 10% off discount on their next purchase if they join.

 

2. Keep Customers in the Loop With Newsletters

Not all of your email marketing has to be sales-focused. Use some of your regular sends to let customers know what’s going on with your business. It could be about a new product you’ll be stocking next month, introducing a new member of your staff or anything else that gives customers a glimpse “behind the scenes.”

These kinds of touchpoints are excellent for establishing a genuine relationship with your customers, so make full use of them! Stan C. Kimer, President of Total Engagement Consulting recommends sending out newsletters 10 or so times per year.4

 

3. Follow Up

Another great way to keep in touch with your customers is following up. Two or three days after they’ve made a purchase, send customers a quick but personable email asking how their in-store experience was and how satisfied they are with their purchase.

This is a two-fold win: 1) you’re making your customers feel valued and 2) you could get valuable feedback on what your business is doing well and what could be improved upon.

 

4. Reward Your Recommenders

Word of mouth is a powerful tool for the small business community. And if there’s a chance people are going to recommend your business to friends and family, why not encourage them to do so?  Consider offering a small bonus — maybe a coupon or free sample — along with a personalized thank you email or even better, a handwritten note, when they recommend your business.

 

5. Create a Loyalty Program

There are loyalty programs for virtually everything today, so it makes sense for your small business to have one too. In fact, the average American household belongs to 14 different loyalty programs.3

Discounts, rewards and other loyalty bonuses are good incentives to draw customers back to your business. Plus, it offers you the chance to boost your profits: “Repeat customers have a tendency to spend 67% more than new customers.”1

 

6. Make the Most of Facetime

One of your biggest advantages as a small business owner is your ability to build relationships with your customers — unlike larger businesses where the consumer experience tends to be more impersonal. Customers value that personal interaction more than you may think:

“A recent Gallup poll shows customers were 9x more likely to be engaged… when they evaluated the service as “courteous, willing, and helpful.”2

Giving each customer your time and care can be one of the most effective (and simplest) methods to provide a good experience and earn a repeat customer in exchange.

 

 

These six tips are great ways to keep customers coming back to your small business. Try one (or more!) this month and see the difference it can make.

 

 

 

References:

1Entrepreneur. (May 1, 2005). 5 Key Ways to Build Customer Relationships. Retrieved June 11, 2018, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/77686 

2Ciotti, G. (n.d.). 15 Important Tips to Help You Keep Your Customers. Retrieved June 11, 2018, from http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-strategy/15-important-tips-to-help-you-keep-your-customers/

3Price. S. (June 2, 2016). 5 Ways to Create Super-Addictive Loyalty Programs. Retrieved June 11, 2018, from https://marketinginsidergroup.com/strategy/5-ways-create-super-addictive-loyalty-programs/

 4Schiff, J. (July 2, 2013). 14 Proven Ways to Connect With Customers. Retrieved June 11, 2018, from https://www.cio.com/article/2384419/online-marketing/14-proven-ways-to-connect-with-customers.html

Barbara Davidson

Babs is a content writer at Enova International, Inc. with a Bachelors in Cinema Studies and English from the University of Illinois (ILL-INI!). She loves binge watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos! Find out more about her on Google+.

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