Keeping Your Customers Coming Back: 5 Tips

Customer loyalty is one of the best indicators of lasting profitability. While a great product and fair prices play undeniable roles in keeping your customers loyal, those factors alone aren’t enough. To win repeat business, there’s more you’ll need to do.

Know your numbers — On average, bringing in a new customer will cost you between 5 and 7 times more than keeping an existing one. Research suggests 80 percent of your profits will come from 20 percent of your customers. Take a close look at your own customer acquisition costs and customer lifetime value. With thorough analysis of these metrics, you’ll see where your resources are best invested.

Research, don’t guess
— Demographics-based generalities are often misleading. For an accurate view of what’s keeping your customers loyal, look to your sales data and existing customers’ behavior. Conduct¬†customer surveys to gather direct feedback from them about their experience with your company and their plans for the future. Run well, a survey can pull a response rate of 25 percent or higher and yield invaluable information.

Use social media to build a community — Make your customers, not your company, the stars of your social media presence. Encourage customers to connect with each other. Take care of your most involved fans by sending personalized thank-you notes or by publicly recognizing their contributions.

Target your promotions
— Offering loyal customers discounts could devalue your product in the eyes of those who are happiest paying full price. Instead of giving discounts, occasionally surprise your biggest fans with special gifts or added benefits just to say thanks. Reserve discounts for those showing signs of dissatisfaction. For both groups, personalized¬†communications like birthday and holiday greetings also go a long way.

Have a plan — Customer loyalty doesn’t just happen. Keeping your best customers requires a system that delivers the right type of communication at the right time. While you could manage your customer retention program in-house, hiring an outside marketing firm lets you tap a wider range of experience and immediate access highly refined systems.

Have you developed a comprehensive system for keeping your customers loyal? What role do social media and targeted promotions play in your current customer retention efforts?

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