5 Ways Small Business Owners Can Improve Customer Retention

by Stephen Sheinbaum

Getting a new customer for your small business is great. Getting an old customer to do business with you over and over again is even better.

Too many small business owners fail to see that it can be very expensive to acquire a new customer. They don’t understand that their money may be better spent on efforts to win repeat business from the customers they already have. Whether your small business is a retail store or a physician’s office, you need to make sure your customers are getting what they need from your products and services both offline and online. Here are five tips to make sure your customers keep coming back for more:

  1. Highlight customer experiences: Customers like to see that you appreciate their business, whether that’s giving them a shout-out in your newsletter, re-circulating news and photos they posted on social media or simply engaging in customer conversations online. If you know your customers’ birthday, send them birthday greetings. If you see they’ve had a special occasion, send a voucher for a free gift. Customers that feel appreciated tend to stick around longer, and spread the word to their friends and family members.
  2. Question your customers: The only way to know what your customers need and want is by asking. Surveying customers on products/services you have provided as well as what they seek to obtain from your business can help put your business plan and customer service into perspective. Knowing what they need will enable you to prepare for even better customer service.
  3. Offer promotions: As your business grows you will start to see which products or services are in demand. You will also start to notice who frequents your business on regular basis. Regulars can be the best word of mouth for your business. Offer promotions on products they continuously use to lock in the relationship.
  4. Loyalty programs: Regulars deserve to be treated a little differently than prospective customers. Build their confidence in shopping with you by offering entrance to exclusive memberships. Add a kick to the program by offering exclusive deals if they refer family members or friends.
  5. Utilize social media: A fast and convenient way of staying connected to customers is through social media. Nowadays customers can rate and share information about their experiences within seconds. See a bad review? Comment back with an apology or a solution to lure that customer back for a great experience. See a good review? Send them thanks and offer a perk. Social media through your customer’s word of mouth is helpful organic promotion.

Applying these tips can help mold your daily business routines as well as build your brand image. The better customer experience you provide, the larger your business will grow.