Customer Retention Comes in Two Parts: In Store and At Home
If you are a frequent visitor to our blog, you know we talk a lot about customer satisfaction. (We can’t help it – one of our core values is “Make Every Customer Experience Remarkable”!) Even though you have a lot of responsibilities as a business owner, making your customers happy should be high on that list.
But why? If you are doing your job as a business owner (keeping the doors open, providing the product or service they like, etc.), won’t satisfaction come naturally? Not always, and we’ll tell you why.
Say you are a regular shopper at a particular grocery store. You’re loyal to the supermarket – shop there every week because you generally like the service and product offerings. But, what happens when you go in one particular week and they’re out of some of the food you were planning to buy; food you needed for dinner that night? Are you a satisfied customer now? Probably not.
So, even though you have been loyal to that store, if you go in week after week only to find that the products you need are gone and the shelves empty, eventually you’re going to go elsewhere. That supermarket just lost your business.
At Direct Capital, we want to ensure your customers never leave your business feeling anything less than satisfied; that they leave excited to come back again.
7 Ways to Retain Loyal Customers
The relationship between consumers and businesses has changed. One negative review can change a business forever with social media posts spreading like wild fire. That’s why utilizing our tips and advice on how to keep those customers coming back is of utmost importance.
There are two big steps to retaining your customers. The first is remembering to start early. From the moment they walk in the building or begin doing business with you, they have to be your number one priority. The second is ensuring you and your business remain at the top of their mind even when they are sitting at home, checking email.
- Get personal: Yes, it’s important to know your customers and show who you are behind the business, but let’s look at this a little deeper. Try to consider your customers as more than just the people that buy things from you. They are people who have specific tastes, styles, needs, wants, ambitions. No matter what product or service you offer, ask your customers what’s missing from it or what they like about it. Ask them what you could do to make it more enticing for them to purchase. If they don’t understand the product or don’t know how to use it, you’ll lose them. Involve them in the process!
- Reward for loyalty: We’ll keep this short and sweet, since we already wrote a post on the benefits of loyalty programs a month ago. Loyalty programs make your customers feel appreciated for being a returning customer. There are many ways to structure a loyalty program, so find one that works for you and your business. Your customers will enjoy the perks, and you will enjoy the consistent revenue.
- Customization: This may not apply to every business because, in some instances, it’s impossible to let customers design their own product. But, a 2013 Bain & Co. survey found that around 30% of consumers want to customize their purchases, so if it’s possible – do it! At Direct Capital, we let our customers design their own financing deals because why not? They need what we can offer and they’re the ones paying it back – they should be able to have as many options as they want. Think of a way you can create a “Customization Station” at your business and invite customers to try it out.
Stay Top of Mind
The second part of a retention strategy is getting your customers to come back. Even if they leave happy, it may not be enough to get them to come back, especially if they were a first-time customer. Use these tips to ramp up your retention efforts:
- Get email addresses: There are many ways you can do this. During check out, ask your customers for an email address; if you have an online store make email a required field; if you are a service-based company asks your customer to leave an email address for a confirmation or as a form of contact, etc. In today’s world, most people will not shy away from providing an email address.
- Send a “Welcome” or “Thank You” email: Customize these however you see fit based on who your customers are, but definitely send one. Thank them for using your services a day (or even a few hours) after they left. If they signed up for a service call, send them a “welcome” or confirmation email, reminding them of their appointment. Or, you could simply send them a few nurture emails throughout the month, enticing them with offers to come back but also letting them know you are thinking of them and really appreciate their business.
- Be creative: In sending your customers emails, think of ways you can thank or welcome them creatively. For example, get your staff together to take a picture with a ‘thank you’ sign, or shoot a 30-second video. Make it personal so it stands out to the customer. They’ll appreciate the fact that you are genuinely thankful for their business.
- Promote social channels: You don’t want to be too invasive with your emails, so that’s why you only send a few a month. But, social media is on the scene to be your marketing even when you aren’t directly marketing to anyone. If you include social buttons in each one of your emails (or even send your own separate social media-based email), your customers have the opportunity to peruse your social channels at their leisure. Make sure your profiles are fully completed and you update with sale and other business information. This way, they will get an overarching view of everything your company does on a platform that makes the most sense to them.
We know that email marketing can be expensive. So can hiring someone to manage your social media accounts. If you need some cash to get these programs moving – to keep your customers happy – then look to Direct Capital’s small business loan program. We hope to make you our next satisfied customer!