Many businesses focus on acquiring new customers with deals, expensive adverts, promotions and freebies. But is it at the expense of retaining their existing customer base? While it’s unrealistic to expect all of your customers to stay loyal, you should still aim to retain as many as possible.

Shifting your focus from growth to retention can save you time and money.

Business owner processing payment for a customer
photo credit:Clay Banks / Unsplash

How to Improve Your Business’ Customer Retention

It’s more expensive to attract new customers than it is to retain existing ones. Not only are repeat customers more likely to recommend your product and refer more people to your business, they also generate larger transitions and spend more money the longer they stick with you. After all, happy customers will buy more.

With that in mind, here are seven tips to increase customer retention.

1. Email marketing

If you’re plagued by abandoned shopping carts and a drop off in repeat custom, it’s time to improve your email marketing. More than two-thirds of customers abandon carts before purchase due to indecisiveness and other things competing for their attention. Think of all those sales you’re losing. It’s worth sending some abandoned cart emails to prompt customers to complete the checkout process. A carefully worded email can increase purchase rates by 19%, while a second reminder has a whopping 54% success rate. Marketing tools like Sendlane can design and automate a dynamic email sequence for you, making the process a breeze.

2. Focus on customer service

The best kind of customer service is accessible, transparent and responsive. Multichannel support lets your customer contact you on their terms across a range of platforms. Give your customers a choice of touchpoints to reach you easily and provide self-service options like FAQs and chatbots.

You can be proactive in gauging how your customer feels by gathering feedback using surveys. The net promoter score (NPS) is one of the most simple and effective methods of measuring customer satisfaction, as it rates how likely someone is to recommend a brand to a friend on a scale of 1-10. Closing the loop on feedback is important, so send a customised thank you email or respond directly to any feedback.

3. Implement user accounts

User accounts save your existing customers’ payment information and other details, which make repeat purchases much easier. While they are popular with regulars, new customers might see the registration process as too much of a commitment for a one-off purchase – but, of course, one-off purchases can often lead to repeat purchases.

So while it’s worth offering a guest check-out option for the first order, after it has been completed, you can offer the user the option to open an account. This gives the customer enough time to decide if they are likely to use your company again.

Cashier processing payments
photo credit: Patrick Tomasso / Unsplash

4. Offer a customer loyalty scheme

Loyalty programmes offer customers rewards such as discounts, freebies and exclusive deals. The rewards you provide depend entirely on your company’s product, objective and values, but they give customers a reason to keep buying from you. Some examples are air miles, points-based programmes and tier-based programmes, where customers can unlock higher levels of rewards if they spend more.

According to Accenture, more than 90% of businesses already have some form of loyalty programme.

5. Offer deals on subsequent purchases

Emailing first-time shoppers with discounts for further purchases is a great way to secure repeat custom. Special offers and promo codes can also entice back shoppers who haven’t bought anything from you in a while.

Once you have enough information to build an individual buyer persona, you can send them personalised offers. Alternatively, you could offer a referral bonus that rewards customers for bringing you new business.

6. Engage with customers on social media

Social media is a great platform for engaging with customers and showcasing your brand’s personality. You can even post special deals, competitions and insights. These posts can make you seem more approachable and appealing to your target audience. They also provide an opportunity to deal with complaints and negative comments before they escalate.

7. Use a CRM to manage customer relationships

The rise of e-commerce has blurred the lines between sales and service. Businesses now have multiple touchpoints and opportunities throughout the buyer’s journey to build better customer relationships and sell more. Investing in a dedicated customer relationship management (CRM) system gives multiple teams a 360-degree view of the customer. It provides a single platform that can be used across a range of devices and is linked to a company’s email, social media and other apps.

Loyal customer
photo credit: Blake Wisz / Unsplash

Customer loyalty is valuable, so it’s up to you to keep delighting your customers so they come back. These tips are a good starting point for keeping your current customer base happy and creating a mutually beneficial relationship. Add value to every customer interaction and watch your business grow exponentially.