One of the SME Trends for 2017 is said to be the focus on customer retention. It is said that the average business loses about 20 percent of its customers yearly due to their failure to build healthy customer relationships. In addition to this, it interesting to know, statistics show that customer happiness impacts revenue. This may be a pretty good indicator on why customer retention will be a focus of many businesses this year. Getting a customer can sometimes be easy but getting them to come back a second time around may be more of a challenge. Just like keeping any valuable person around, it takes relationship building to increase customer retention. There is a wall between your customers and your business operations, so it’s your job to find a way to break that wall down. You’re going to have to come up with a strategy to do this in the most organic and effective way. Here are a few pointers you can throw into your strategy.

 

  1. Focus on the customer experience

In a nutshell, a customer experience is how customers respond to interactions with your company. This means to focus on the customer experience, you’re going to have to put a significant amount of thought into how you interact with customers presently, and how effective these interactions are. Good interactions with customers impacts customer loyalty and also puts you at a great competitive advantage which gives you the potential to drives new sales. According to NewVoice, 58% of consumers will never use a company again after a negative experience. You don’t want that company to be yours if you can avoid it. On a more positive note, they also found that 50% of consumers would use a company more frequently after a positive customer experience and 86% are willing to pay up to %25 more.

  1. Improve customer service

American Express did some research and found that 59% of consumers would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. This reflects the significance of customer service to customers. Ensure they have easy access to support and information at all times. If you can’t run a 24 hour call centre, ensure inquiries and complaints are responded to as quickly as possible, and let them know the time frame in which they will get a response. Many companies have begun live chats on their websites which enables customers to receive almost immediate responses to questions or concerns. Ensure all staff responding are friendly, patient and competent enough to meet the needs of customers.

  1. Get Customer feedback

The best way to save yourself trial and error horrors as well as time and money is by building your customer retention strategy using findings from your customers’ feedback. Carry out surveys, record customer complaints and also find a method to gauge what customers enjoy about their interactions with you as well as your products. Use this information as a starting point for improvement.

 

  1. Add value

Taking up from the last point about getting customer feedback on your products, it is important that you’re able to add value to the customer’s life. Look at new products and services that you can introduce that will meet more of their needs and solve more of their problems. Also look at how you can improve products and services that are already on ground to make them easier to use and even better. Offer rewards for customer loyalty, promotions, give-aways and thank you’s to show them that they’re appreciated.

These are only a few things to consider while cooking up an impactful customer retention agenda. Keeping a customer is proving to be more valuable than replacing one. It has been found that loyal customers are 5x as likely to repurchase, 5x as likely to forgive, 4x as likely to refer, and 7x as likely to try a new offering. Turn your ordinary customers into loyal ones and you’ll find your business will grow stronger than you could have imagined.

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