Customers, like it or not, are the biggest, most important piece of a business, be it e-commerce or a brick and mortar joint. Customer retention has become the focus of many managers as it creates a loyalist in the making.
Finding and converting is one hard factor to take care of, but keeping the customer coming back is entirely new work altogether. While you can do this face to face with honest to goodness interpersonal skills, the veil of anonymity on the internet makes it hard to keep them coming. However, it’s hard – not impossible. A few obvious but hard to do tricks do the job.
Treat Your Customers Like Humans, Not Living Wallets
This must be the most obvious part of customer management ever. For all the many horror stories that we get on social media with irate clients, the mantra of treating them like people is still the best advice for any business with an online presence.
People are emotional beings. They like being able to relate and being related to, so treating them like normal people is as much expected. While you should not treat your customers like people you can squeeze every penny from, you should also show them respectable customer service. Talk to them casually and respectfully as if they’re equals. Mutual respect between the consumer and the “faceless” corporation on the internet can make things work.
Show Your Appreciation Through Thank You’s and Rewards
Showing that you appreciate your customers is always a nice touch. Sending out of the blue thank you notes and simple appreciation emails are typically good enough – even mentioning them in your social media posts, especially the loyal ones.
in every customer retention scheme however, there’s still nothing that communicates “you’re important to us” like a good, old reward. This reward does not have to be a physical reward. It can be a small discount, coupon or a free service for small work. While this goes out of you company’s bottom line, it’s a small thing to pay for a stronger, more loyal consumer base.
Take Criticism Seriously, and Constructively
Perfect service stories are typically myths and a matter of happenstance. In any service, successful or otherwise, customers will have something to say. They will look for areas which are lacking, and that’s okay.
Having space for improvement is always the aim of having a business, and if your consumers are telling about issues on facets of your work, thank them for noticing, give it a look and if possible, try to correct this issue and return to the consumers who have pointed it out. Communities like being listened to, so if the community or your customers feel like you lend an ear to their grievances, they will keep caring.
Don’t “Close” a Sale, “Open” a Relationship
Customer retention is not a sexy way of working on the business, we understand that. Optimizing your business for new customers, creating strong marketing funnels, crunching the numbers and creating loyalty programs… that’s the stuff that is enjoyable for every marketing expert. Making your consumer base stay? That’s the boring but important part.
Completing the sales transactions between your business and the customers is not the end of the line, but only the start of a long relationship of trust, give and take. Just like any relationship, you are expected to keep your end of the promise and make sure what you provide is good and honest. If you provide transparent and high quality products and service, you can expect customers to be loyal, and hence customer retention.