Successful businesses rely on new and returning customers to succeed. Even if your schedule is booked and your store is full, you will have customer drop off and will need new customers to fill the empty spaces.
Your loyal customers keep your brand afloat and contribute to a significant amount of your profits. According to Brandongaille, only 15% of customers are loyal to a single retailer, but they make up 70% of that retailer’s sales.
If you’re not focusing on customer retention, then you are leaving profits in the dust. You are wasting money solely attracting new buyers and are receiving less in fewer purchases and smaller tickets. To fix it, check out these eight customer retention strategies to improve your business.
1. Identify Your Different Customer Personas
If you want to retain your customers, then you need to know them.
Identify 2-5 customer personas that outline the buying habits and behaviors, personalities, product needs, and loyalty levels of your top shoppers. For example, a book store could have a loyal customer persona of someone who comes in once per month and a hyper-loyal persona who visits every week.
Once you understand how people buy, you can build customer retention strategies around them and develop marketing messages that better resonate with your buyers. For example, you can encourage infrequent customers to return more often through your marketing tactics while you up-sell frequent customers with more items and more expensive upgrades.
2. Map Out Your Customer Journey
Building your target personas and customer journey go hand-in-hand. Not only do you need to know who is buying from you, but you also need to know when and how they buy from you.
For example, a salon or spa would likely have one target persona that schedules appointments for occasional treats and another persona that uses massage as a form of physical therapy. From there, they would take one persona and discover how that person discovers the need for their brand, researches their options, and makes a purchase.
Customers that use massage as a relaxing treat will likely be better reached through email or social media, while salons can find physical therapy customers through doctor recommendations and SEO.
3. Provide Good Customer Service
Companies increasingly rise and fall because of customer service, which means your brand needs to proactively focus on your customer experience in order to acquire new customers and retain existing ones.
Almost 90% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer service – which means their products, prices, location, and other factors equally match their competitors.
In 2010, only 36% of brands competed primarily through customer service. Furthermore, while 80% of companies say they offer “super experiences,” only 8% of customers agree. What your customers think is exceptional and what you think is exceptional are two different things. Focus on your customer care. Taking a few steps to train your team and improve your policies could significantly improve your retention rates.
4. Connect With Customers When They Walk In
The first few minutes of a shopping experience can determine whether customers stay in your store to buy or leave. Make sure your first impression counts by greeting customers, asking if you can help them, and connecting with them digitally through their phones.
More than 80% of people sign on to free WiFi when they can, so let your customers know that they can do the same in your store. When customers sign on, you can collect information like their return frequency, demographics, and even email address. This allows you to market to them in the future and turn new customers into loyal buyers.
5. Encourage Customers to Follow You on Social Media
If your customers don’t feel comfortable giving you their email addresses, consider promoting your social media channels. Social media is a great place to remind customers about your brand and encourage people to come back.
Your business stays in their minds when they see your content, which makes customers more likely to return. Plus, 69% of US adults use at least one social media site, so the majority of your target audience can likely be reached online.
6. Communicate With Your Customers on Their Terms
While social media is a great place to start with top-of-funnel marketing and engagement, you need to connect with customers in a way that they want to be reached. Your buyers will bounce if they feel like they can’t communicate with you or if they can’t receive your messages.
For some brands, this means investing in email marketing and mail communication. For other brands, this means trying text marketing and using various social media channels. Know how your target personas communicate through different marketing channels and apply it to your brand strategy.
7. Engage Lost Customers
You can apply customer retention strategies to customers that you have lost before. It is possible that your customers have forgotten about you or moved on various reasons that you are out of your control.
Try to re-engage with these customers through communication, special offers, gifts, and events. If you even bring a small percentage of these customers back, your efforts will be worth it in the long run.
8. Apply Customer Feedback
Offering good customer service doesn’t just mean treating customers well and handling difficult situations smoothly. It also means taking an active role in listening to your customers and applying their feedback.
Many companies ask customers for reviews and stories, but few actually show anything that comes of it. Take your customer feedback into consideration and let people know why you are making the changes. This is a great way to make your business more customer-centric.
Keep Working to Improve Customer Retention Strategies
While many companies have strong customer retention plans in place, they also have blind spots to where they are driving people away or losing shoppers. Your business can be successful and still have room for improvement. For tips on improving customer experience to improve customer retention, check out our free ebook on How to Create Exceptional In-Store Experiences.