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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

9 Ways to Increase Customer Retention

Experts say it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. Consequently, customer retention is critical to the success of your business. Here are a few tips to help you stay in front of your customers and increase your customer retention rates:
  • Develop a customer loyalty program that offers special promotions and incentives for return customers, such as birthday discounts, a reward punch card, free shipping, monthly discounts, free upgrades, and the like.

  • Offer surveys that ask customers what they think of your business and how you can improve.

  • Encourage open communication with your customers. Request feedback and suggestions. Offer options such as email forms, surveys, a toll-free number, chat forums, and social media links.

  • Consider creating a focus group with a couple loyal customers to provide their insight from a customer's perspective. Be sure to reward them for their input.

  • Utilize customer complaints and suggestions to improve your products or services.

  • Create a referral program that encourages and rewards loyal customers to do the selling for you.

  • Differentiate yourself from the competition. Offer value add-ons, educate your customers about industry trends, provide helpful tips, and have a live person answer your phones instead of a confusing automated system.

  • Socialize with your customers. Attend trade shows, offer open houses, encourage customers to respond to blog posts, and communicate with your customers on social media sites.

  • Mail personalized thank you cards showing your appreciation for recent purchases or for interest in your products and services.
If you have other ideas for keeping customers satisfied, please feel free to share them in the comments below.

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