You already know that building a business takes time, hard work, and dedication. Most startups spend a hefty amount of money on their marketing efforts to quickly attract new customers and establish their brand.
But once these initial efforts have been handled how can you be sure that your customers will stick with you and come back for more?
Customer retention is just as important as customer acquisition. Without repeat customers it can be difficult for a company to establish a well-known and trusted brand. Here are some proven, startup-tested tactics that you can use to boost customer retention without spending another dime:
Provide top-notch support
Providing your customers with amazing support is the easiest and most important thing you can do to retain customers. You typically only have one shot at making a great first impression. Instead of aiming for an adequate first impression, strive to make your new customers say “wow.”
This might mean you need to know what your customers need and expect and then give them even more. Focus on the quality of not just your product or service, but also on the support you provide. Your customers need to know that you care about them and that they won’t be forgotten once the sale is made. Following up with them post-sale is just one way to make them feel that much more special.
The primary reason why customers return is because they trust you. You need to develop close relationships with each customer and understand their individual needs. Always be available for communication and anticipate their needs ahead of time to fix problems before they occur.
Why do you trust your doctor? Most likely it’s because they have been able to establish a personal relationship with you, they are honest with you, it’s clear that they car about you, and they will always make time for you. Keep these practices in mind when dealing with your customers.
Give your current customers attention
According to Invesp, 40% of companies prioritize customer acquisition versus 18% that prioritize customer retention. This can be a major problem, however, when keeping in mind the the 80–20 rule — 80% of a company’s revenue is generated by 20% of its total customers. It will benefit you far more to spend some extra time on your current customers than spending extra money casting a wide net in the hopes of acquiring more customers. You need to find the right balance between marketing to new prospects and trying to do more business with your current clientele.
Establish yourself as the expert
Prove yourself as a trustworthy player in your industry. There’s no right way to do this, but you can start by:
- Publishing regular blog articles
- Sharing relevant posts on social media
- Delivering valuable content to your target audience
Marketing your business and managing your website cost money. But utilizing social media to establish your brand is free — there’s no reason to not take advantage of this.
Encourage and embrace feedback
Customer feedback is invaluable information that helps you improve your service. Your customers know what they need. They are the ones who can accurately tell you what you are doing well and what you need to improve on.
Feedback can also be used as free marketing material.
- Individual testimonials — Display customer reviews/testimonials directly on your website
- Ratings systems — Respond to reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google Reviews, Trust Pilot, etc.
- Social media channels — Freely and openly communicate with your customers
If your customers love your product or service then it will only benefit you to provide them with ways to publicly leave feedback. When they write great reviews about your company it will encourage more people to become customers. Be sure to always reply to these reviews as well — people love seeing that a company cares enough about its customers that they are willing to take the time to reply to their reviews.
Exceeding the expectations for service and trust is the most effective way to improve customer retention. Also remember to check in with your customers post-sale (possible even months later) to remind them that you’re still thinking about them. At the end of the day it all comes down to how much you can show your customers that you care. Be sure to build personal relationships with them and go above and beyond to ensure they have nothing but the best experience with you.