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Effective Ways to Increase Customer Retention in 2024

By: Lending Tree

 

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In business, the customer is king, so increasing customer retention can play a crucial role in your success. If all goes well, your customers will leave every interaction feeling satisfied, inspired to return, and eager to recommend your business. The new year marks the perfect time to refocus on building lasting relationships — here’s how to get started.

1. Ask for feedback

Begin by asking customers to share their experience. Their responses can help you better understand what they want, what your business is doing right and where you’re falling short. This can be done with a simple text or email survey that doesn’t take too much of their time. Offering an incentive, like a discount on their next purchase, might increase participation rates.

Be sure to read through the responses carefully, looking for trends and common concerns. This might inspire you to make important changes or introduce new products or services. It can also help you anticipate your customers’ needs going forward.

2. Be responsive

There are lots of ways to communicate with your customers. They may already be reaching out to your company by:

  • Leaving online reviews
  • Commenting on your social media posts or sending direct messages
  • Sending emails
  • Sharing questions or concerns in person or by phone

The way you respond matters. Aim to reply quickly so that customers feel acknowledged and heard. The last thing you want is for them to feel like you aren’t taking them seriously. If they have a question or want to share a positive experience, respond swiftly and thank them for getting in touch. Complaints can be trickier to navigate. Apologizing and finding a way to remedy the situation is usually the best approach. Do your best to avoid an online conflict, which can easily go public.

3. Launch a loyalty program

A loyalty program can be a powerful tool, especially in the face of inflation. Half of Americans say they’re more important than ever. Customer loyalty programs can include:

  • The ability to earn points
  • Discount codes and coupons
  • Access to special deals
  • Birthday rewards

The right loyalty program for you will depend on your business and customer base. What matters most is making it easy to opt in. It can be offered at checkout, whether the customer is shopping online or in person. You can also provide an immediate discount if they enroll.

4. Stay connected

Engaging with existing (and potential) customers can help them feel connected to your business — which can impact their buying decisions. One survey from Sprout Social found that 78% of consumers are more willing to buy from a brand if they’ve had a positive experience with them on social media. Having a strategic social media marketing plan is key. The same goes for email marketing and regular newsletters. Consider offering a discount to those who subscribe to your business’s email list.

5. Provide great service

The importance of customer service can’t be overstated. Ninety-four percent of consumers who rate a company’s service as “very good” are likely to purchase more products or services from them in the future, according to a report from Qualtrics XM Institute. Good customer service is associated with:

  • Quality products and services that are worth the price
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • An easy way to contact the company if needed
  • A simple return process
  • A willingness to make things right if there’s a problem

Great service is also your business’s calling card. When customers are happy, they may be more likely to recommend your brand to others.

6. Host live events

Live events provide a unique way to communicate with your client base and establish a positive experience. If, for example, you own a boutique, you could host themed events with snacks, discounted products or services, entertainment and special guests from your community. You can also consider virtual events to bring people together online. That might be a free workshop or educational event you host on your own or with a vendor.

7. Invest in content marketing

Your business’s website could be a great way to build strong customer relationships. That’s where content marketing comes in. This type of marketing often focuses on blog posts and online content. The goal is to create copy that’s meaningful to your target audience. That means answering their questions and solving their problems. Content marketing can be used to educate your customers and establish your brand as a trusted authority. It’s important to be strategic so that your content ranks well in Google.

8. Showcase your commitment to social responsibility

If you’re using your business to do good in your community, don’t be afraid to share that with your client base. Over three-quarters of consumers are motivated to buy from companies that are committed to making the world a better place, according to one Aflac survey. Your business might be doing that through its:

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts
  • Environmental sustainability practices
  • Involvement with local nonprofits or community organizations

You might invite customers to support mutual causes. That may mean coordinating a beach cleanup or hosting a fundraiser for a local organization.

9. Collaborate with like-minded brands

Increasing customer retention can be a group effort. Consider teaming up with other brands, influencers or thought leaders within your industry. Is it possible to coordinate a joint event or special marketing campaign? You could each promote it on your social media channels, which could expose you to a whole new client base. Pooling resources in this way can help widen your reach and attract new clients.

10. Invite customers to participate in decision making

Whether you’re adding new services or branching out to a new location, think about bringing your customers into the conversation. It can help them feel more connected to your business. Let’s say you want to introduce a new service line but aren’t sure which products to add. Opening up a survey on social media could be a good jumping-off point. You can take customer feedback and work it into your decision.

The idea is to build customer relationships that last. A loyal client base could be the thing that takes your business to the next level.

Published: January 24, 2024
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Lending Tree

LendingTree is an online loan marketplace for various financial borrowing needs including auto loans, small business loans, personal loans, credit cards, and more. We also offer comparison shopping services for autos and educational programs. Together, these services serve as an ally for consumers who are looking to comparison shop among multiple businesses and professionals who will compete for their business.

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