Small business entrepreneurs put a lot of effort into attracting new customers. But it’s equally, if not more important, to also have a clear plan in place for customer retention. After all, existing customers spend 31 percent more than new customers on average. They also end up being your best word-of-mouth marketers. At SpotOn, we work closely with entrepreneurs across the nation to implement effective marketing solutions. We are happy to share these five strategies to boost your customer retention and create lifelong regulars.
1. Use Social Media to Connect with Customers and Their Values
64 percent of customers say having shared values with a company is the number one factor in winning their loyalty. Combine that with the fact that consumers spend more time than ever on mobile devices and social media, and you have a simple recipe for connecting with them.
First, identify what values go into the products or services you offer, things like quality, ease-of-use, individuality, sustainability, and enjoyability. Next, come up with creative, engaging campaigns to showcase those values on social media.
- Create short Behind-the-Scenes videos showcasing the passion you put into your business.
- Do a Fact-of-the-Day highlighting a fun detail about a product or service.
- Write a social media post about industry-trending topics and seasonal content, or simply wish everyone a good weekend.
2. Provide Top-Notch Customer Support In-Person and Online
Customers want to know that you care about their experience, no matter where they interact with you. Many small businesses get this right when it comes to face-to-face interactions, but neglect to consider online environments, such as review sites and social media. With so many consumers online now, this is a sure way not only to lose a disgruntled customer but also any potential customers who see a damaging review.
- Train employees who interact with customers in-person or over the phone on proper customer service practices.
- Assign someone you trust to be in charge of responding to negative reviews and complaints online, and follow the best practices for responding to negative reviews.
3. Engage Your Customers to Encourage Loyalty
Customer engagement takes customer service one step further. Rather than reacting to issues and problems that arise with the customer experience, you’re proactively reaching out to customers to see what they want and what you can do better. Once again, the prominence of social media gives you an easy way to do this.
- Do a poll on your business’ social media pages to see what new products or services customers would like you to add
- Ask customers to post their favorite photos of your business online and tag you—incentivize the campaign by offering up a free deal or award to a random participant
4. Implement a Loyalty Program
For many business types, a loyalty program is a perfect way to keep your customers coming back frequently, and spending more when they do. With modern digital customer engagement platforms like what SpotOn offers, it is quick and easy to set up your loyalty program that utilized mobile technology rather than old-school loyalty punch cards.
- Create different tiers of rewards, including an easy-to-achieve reward to turn first-time customers into regulars, and then more lucrative rewards for your VIP customers.
- Get creative with your rewards—in addition to offering freebies and discounts, you can devise personalized rewards, like letting a loyal customer pick a menu item or get exclusive VIP access to special events.
5. Use an Automated Platform to Do it All
As a small business entrepreneur, you probably don’t have the luxury of hiring a dedicated marketing and social media team to accomplish all the tasks above. That’s why it’s essential to take advantage of the technology available to you, such as marketing email services and social media management software.
As a company founded by small business entrepreneurs, SpotOn has done one better and created an integrated customer engagement platform that streamlines everything: social media campaigns, marketing emails, review management, and loyalty. By putting it all in one intuitive dashboard and utilizing time-saving automation tools, it allows you to effectively do the job of an entire marketing team in minutes and for a fraction of the cost.
In the end, it’s about doing whatever it takes to keep your customers happy and coming back as lifelong, loyal regulars.
RJ Horsley is the President of SpotOn Transact, LLC, a cutting-edge payments and software company redefining the merchant services industry. SpotOn brings together payment processing and customer engagement software along with industry-vertical software, including best-in-class POS software for restaurants.