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Running a small business can be challenging for a lot of reasons, but one of the first big hurdles to overcome is the ability to hold onto your clients in order to encourage repeat business. For most small businesses, holding on to customers tends to be one of the biggest priorities, but it’s also one of the more costly things to manage. Even with sophisticated customer relationship management software, holding on to your customers requires a lot of hard work and dedication which cannot be overlooked.
So in this post, we’re going to show a couple of affordable ways that you can keep your clients coming back, even as a small business with fewer resources and options available to you.
Be friendly to your customers
No matter if you’re an online-only store or a small shop owner, being friendly to your customers (assuming they deserve it!) is probably the cheapest way to get people to come back. You’d be surprised at just how effective this is. Whether it’s a simple thank you after dealing with a customer order in person or speaking in a professional and approachable tone, it’s the small things that make a huge difference in how your client perceives you. A trusted and respected business has a much easier time spreading via word of mouth, and more people are likely to recommend you and your services or products if you put on a good first impression.
This is something that must be achieved with the help of all of your staff members that interact with customers. Make sure you teach your staff the importance of interacting with customers in a friendly and approachable manner. If even one staff member gives a bad first impression or poor customer service, then it reflects poorly on your entire brand. This could lead to a string of negative reviews and will ultimately be a costly mistake. In short, be friendly to all of your customers and make sure you’re striving to provide accessible serviceS.
Offer A personalised service to repeat customers
Even with CRM software to track customers, you’ll likely get to know the same few customers that come back and continue to provide you with good business. One of the easiest ways to acknowledge these loyal customers is to provide a slightly more personalised service. You can always scale this up as your relationship with them improves.
For instance, you might start emailing your repeat customers more often, adding them to email lists and sharing sales and discounts with them as thanks for their repeat business. However, this can be extended to your products and services as well. Depending on the client’s needs and the type of business you run, it’s possible to offer them a more personalised version of your products and services to make them feel like a valued customer.
Let’s say that you currently offer customised promotional products as a service. If your customer asks you for specific products that you currently don’t offer, then you may be able to work on a case-by-case basis to offer them something that isn’t actually on your list of services. As an example, if you’re currently in the large format poster printing business and have large machines that are capable of sizes and formats that you don’t have listed on your website, then you can offer a bespoke service to loyal customers. Think of it more like a premium service to your loyal clients–the privilege of accessing the “secret menu” that you only offer a small number of customers. While this can be more costly, it’ll benefit you in the long run and potentially open up new services that you could offer in the future.
Set up systems to accept feedback
There are a lot of ways to accept feedback these days, especially with online-focused platforms such as social media and even your own website. While getting feedback from people can be difficult, encouraging it and actually acting on it can make a huge difference in the way your audience perceives you. Here are a couple of important tips to follow when it comes to accepting feedback.
- Make sure you have some kind of system in place to accept feedback.
- Ensure you have your contact details visible on your website so that customers can email you should they have any issues.
- Always check your private messages on social media accounts and make sure they’re visible on your main website.
- Answer questions promptly if you receive them from your customers and clients.
- If you notice a much higher volume of calls and emails, consider dedicating more resources to customer service.
- Always respond to negative and positive reviews alike, either thanking customers or answering any criticism you’ve received.
- Train your employees to react to criticism and respond accordingly.
By following these tips, you’ll have a much easier time when it comes to accepting feedback. However, it’s also important that you actually act on the feedback as well. A lot of companies tend to ignore feedback because they usually believe that they have a better understanding of their services and products than the customer. While this is often true, it’s important to at least consider what your customers and clients are saying especially if what they’re suggesting is an easy change. If you do decide to make a change based on feedback, make sure you respond to the person that gave it and let them know that you’ve decided to take on and implement the changes they’ve mentioned.
Listening to and acting on customer feedback is an excellent way to create a strong relationship with your audience and is arguably one of the most cost-effective ways to keep clients coming back. Of course, make sure you’re not investing too much of your time and resources on making those changes happen if they don’t benefit your business. In other words, don’t just pander to audiences and allow them to change everything about your business. Instead, take on their feedback and criticism and decide for yourself if it’s a change that you should adopt.