Every business owner knows that customer retention is key to long-term success. Studies have shown consistently that acquiring a new customer is much more expensive than keeping one. However, figuring out what makes customers leave—and what makes customers loyal—can sometimes be a guessing game. While the specifics may vary, the root cause is usually the same. According to a recent study by RightNow, 82% of US consumers stopped doing business with a company due to poor customer service.
Here are 4 simple ways you can improve your customer service and boost retention:
1. Always Be Friendly
It’s easy to underestimate the power of a friendly face, but your staff’s behavior has a huge impact on customer retention. 73% of people who stop patronizing a business leave because of a rude employee. Although it can be difficult to remain upbeat with challenging customers, resorting to snarky behavior will damage both your relationship with individual patrons and your business’s overall reputation. A prime example from this year: Amy’s Baking Company.
2. Provide Readily Accessible Information and Help
Whether a consumer is trying to decide on a dish at a restaurant, obtain more information about a salon product, or select an auto repair service, they want the same thing: quick information and assistance. Make sure your staff is well-versed in all of the products and services your business offers, and encourage them to be proactive in offering help to customers, both in-person and online.
3. Create Personalized Experiences
In today’s custom-crazed culture, a little personalization can go a long way toward retaining customers. Birthday-specific freebies, tailored recommendations based on previous purchases, special discounts for teachers or veterans—the possibilities are endless. Do some research to find out what kind of personalization would be most valuable for your customers, and test out a few different offers to see which ones have the greatest impact.
4. Maintain a Great Reputation
If consumers have heard wonderful things about your business, they’re more likely to remain a customer. Conversely, if they’ve heard bad things about your business, they may hesitate to purchase from you again. Maintaining a good reputation can be a lot of work, but it’s work that needs to be done in order to keep customers’ respect and loyalty.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to retention, great customer service is essential. Make sure you and your staff are making the most of everyday opportunities to go above and beyond for your customers. You’ll get the best kind of thanks for your efforts—happy clients and repeat business.