5 Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back

Man and woman in cafeResearch has shown that customers spend more with businesses where they have a perception of a relationship. So, while many small businesses are hyper-focused on finding new customers, it turns out that refocusing on existing customers can be a key to growing your business.

Not only do engaged customers purchase more from your business, they purchase more frequently and advocate for you, telling their friends and family and ultimately, helping you find new customers without you having to run expensive advertisements.

So, how can you best retain customers and make sure that your interactions with them are positive every single time?  I recently moderated a Google Hangout presented by MasterCard, which included MasterCard’s VP of Global Consumer Marketing, Jean Marie Healy, as well as Ron Cates, Director of Digital Education for Constant Contact, and we generated fantastic insights on customer loyalty and retention.

You can watch the full event here, but some of the key takeaways included:

The funnel has been flipped. Effective marketing used to start with trying to find a new customer. Now, it has been flipped to where focusing on your existing customers can provide the most value. These customers are gateways to additional business, which means in addition to gaining more business directly from them, they also become advocates to help you to gain new customers.   

Do email marketing the right way. Email is a fantastic tool that provides a low-cost way to maintain connections with your customers. However, using it the wrong way can be as harmful as doing it the right way is helpful. Make sure to always have permission to email your customers. Include the highlights of the email’s content in the subject line so that your emails don’t get lost in the customer’s inbox. And send email consistently, but not too often, or risk burning out your customers’ interest in what you have to say. (There’s no golden rule, but watch your unsubscribe rates to learn how often your customer wants to hear from you. You can also give customers the option of receiving fewer emails.)  

Social media is here to stay. As small businesses look for cost-effective tools for customer engagement, social media is at the top of the list. Focus on just a few outlets where your customers are spending their time and post there consistently. And try to promote fun content (rather than straight selling) and use it as a listening tool to learn more about your customers.  If you are short on time, don’t fret: tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck allow you to schedule posts in advance so that you don’t have to divert your attention to keep your social media presence active. 

Mobile is critical. In 2015, the number of mobile devices passed the number of people on earth for the first time ever.  This means that if you have ignored making your website and overall online presence mobile-friendly, you will have a difficult time retaining customers.  Customers expect you to be where they are, and nowadays, they are on their phones!

Wow with your customer service. If there was a formula for customer retention, it would start with amazing customer service. This means that you need to dazzle your customers with every interaction. Think about ways that you can make them feel important. If something goes awry, make them feel heard and fix their issue. And consider surprises that can delight your customer in an unexpected way, such as a free dessert to thank them for their loyalty or a small gift card included with their bill. These gestures will build a solid relationship between you and your customer, and at the end of the day, those relationships are what create the ultimate in loyalty.

You can get more details on these tips and some additional tactics to help you gain even more loyalty from your customers by watching the video of the event.  Make sure to make the time to do this and pursue other strategic endeavors where you can work on your business, not just in it. It’s worth investing your time to take your business to the next level!

Carol Roth makes people think, makes them laugh and makes them money. She is a national media personality (currently an on-air contributor for CNBC), ‘recovering’ investment banker, entrepreneur, investor, speaker and The New York Times bestselling author of The Entrepreneur Equation. As a dealmaker, Carol has helped clients complete more than $2 billion in transactions, including capital raising, M&A, licensing and partnership deals, plus create 7-figure brand loyalty programs. Carol acts as a brand spokesperson and advisor for a variety of companies, is a huge professional sports fan and has an action figure made in her own likeness.

Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet Khurana wears many hats: author, angel investor, mentor, TEDx speaker, steering committee of the NASSCOM Start-Up Warehouse, Director of Founder Institute, Venture Partner with the seed initiative of a top Venture Capital firm, and former CEO of IIT Bombay’s business incubator, among others. Before all this, he was entrepreneurial twice in the field of education and web publishing. As a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, he taught e-commerce back in 1993, when the term "e-commerce" had not yet been coined. An undergrad in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai, and an MBA from the University of Texas, Ajeet is presently an active name in the startup ecosystem. From starting two ventures as a solopreneur, to helping a large number of startups with their go-to-market, he has never shied from getting his hands dirty. At the same time he has helped dozens of startups raise investment. He truly believes that small business owners are driving change in the world, and need to be facilitated as much as possible. Innumerable small businesses have gained from his attitude, vast professional networks, financial acumen and digital mindset.

See all posts by Ajeet Khurana
  • All views expressed on the published articles at https://www.mastercardbiz.com are those of each of the authors, and do not in any way represent the opinions of Mastercard International Incorporated or any of its affiliates (“Mastercard”). Mastercard is not responsible of the information contained in these articles.