7 successful customer retention strategies for small businesses

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Customer retention strategies allow your company to provide greater value to your existing customer base and can help drive more sales and revenue. Retaining customers is critical to growing your business. According to a 2018 study by Forbes, it can cost businesses five times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. So we’ve put together some easy but effective tips for retaining more customers.

What is customer retention?

Customer retention refers to turning your clients into repeat customers. A customer retention strategy is a series of activities your business adopts to grow its number of repeat customers and increase the amount of revenue earned from each customer. Customer retention is about building positive long-term relationships with your existing customers.

7 customer retention strategies that work

Retaining customers can be a challenge, but by adopting some of these strategies, you can keep customers happy and encourage them to keep coming back:

  1. Address customer complaints

No company likes receiving complaints from their customers, but it’s a reality of running a business. How you handle complaints can determine whether a customer returns to you in the future. Address customer complaints head on and offer solutions for fixing the situation. If you don’t handle complaints gracefully, it can hurt your word-of-mouth reputation and drive customers to competitors for future projects.

  1. Develop a communication schedule

Touching base with your customers on a regular basis can help keep your business top of mind. Develop a communications schedule to map out ongoing touch points with your customer base. Consider communications channels like marketing emails, customer service phone calls, social media posts, and more.

  1. Offer added value

Think of ways you can offer additional value to your customers after a job is completed, so you can retain their business. One way to do this is to promote after-sales to customers. For example, if you run an HVAC business, you can offer customers maintenance and cleaning packages after installing a new heating or cooling system, to book ongoing work with your existing clients.

  1. Introduce loyalty programs

Loyalty programs are an effective way of driving repeat business. Essentially, a loyalty program provides incentives to customers who purchase products or services from you, encouraging them to keep buying more. Examples of loyalty programs include:

  • Bonuses and discounts once a customer spends a certain amount
  • Referral bonuses
  • Special sales and discounts just for your most loyal customers
  1. Do good

Customers are increasingly concerned about the ethics and social responsibility of the businesses they support. According to a 2017 Cone Communications survey, 87% of customers would buy a product or service because the business supported a cause that’s important to them. Consider adopting socially responsible practices, such as greening your business or supporting a local charity. You’ll do good for the community, and customers will appreciate your commitment.

  1. Train your sales team

Your employees are the public face of your business, so it’s important that they receive the training they need to properly represent your company to customers. Employees should understand all the technical aspects of the business, and they should be trained on your approach to customer service.

  1. Survey your customers

Surveying customers can be a great way to better understand their needs and make them feel valued. Request feedback by creating a customer satisfaction survey and emailing it to all your customers once a transaction is complete. That way, you can collect valuable data about how successfully you’re serving customers’ needs, and you can follow up with unsatisfied customers directly to try to repair the relationship.

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