Show your customers some love!Show your customers some love! No, I don’t mean sending them a bouquet of flowers or chocolates? Or do I?

When it comes to customer retention marketing techniques, sometimes the simplest things can have the greatest impact. And many small businesses forget to do these and instead focus on constantly striving to gain new clients whilst neglecting those customers who have supported their business and already understand and trust what it is you can offer. These customers are your best advocates and have the highest propensity to re-purchase so require more focus in a way than the new customers! In the long run, this will save your business time, money and energy on constantly filling that leaky bucket.

My top 5 tips to improve your customer ‘love’…

1. Get to know your customer base
Firstly, know who are your most profitable customers and those that you think have the highest propensity to re-purchase. Make sure you understand them and what they value about buying from you or working with you, so you can better serve them in the future and nurture your relationship.

2. Give them a great reason to come back
Special offers and incentives to your existing base can be very effective and have a higher conversion rate, than promotions to new customers. Unless you have a product or service that is likely to only be purchased once, this can be highly effective. Many businesses forget to let their existing customers know about new services or products on a regular basis or give them a more attractive incentive than new customers to come back or stay signed up.

3. Show them you care
I was speaking to a professional services client recently and it amazed me that they didn’t send their top clients a gift at Christmas, to say ‘thank you’ for all the business they had given them during the year. Some may feel it’s clichéd to send wine or chocolates but it is a very tangible way of showing that you do appreciate and value them as clients. If they have an office, a special box of chocolates (not a tin of Roses!) are fun, always appreciated and shared easily amongst those you have worked with during the year. If you have a product(s), why not offer something to customers for free, value of your gift based on how much they have spent in terms of their ‘lifetime’ value to your business. For many of us, the unexpected surprise or thoughtful more personal touch gift, rather than extravagant value goes a long way in making us feel really appreciated!

4. It’s good to talk (or email)!
Don’t just write or send an email to your customers when you need to tell them about a painful price rise or a change in terms and conditions. Share helpful information, let them know of new services or products, ask for feedback to serve them better. Ensure your top customers get a higher percentage of your time and focus with regular follow-up, ideally by phone and in person, and a higher level of care and attention.

5. Price for Loyalty
So many businesses use discounts or attractive offers to get you ‘hooked’ and then once you become a loyal and repeat customer and stay with them, charge you more or suddenly take away all the nice goodies! How does that make you feel? We’ve all signed up to those attractive incentives but then as soon as the price hikes we’re off shopping around again for the latest ‘deal’. The large High Street retailers, mobile phones, utilities and insurance companies to name but a few of the guilty, do this consistently. It only creates huge customer churn rates and their bucket becomes more leaky than ever! Price to reward your most loyal customers. If you offer a service, you can still give ‘hours or time’ for free – something for free now and then is usually noted and valued. I’m working with one of my client’s at present and we’ve introduced a loyalty pricing scheme to reward their members who stay over 2 years. Remember, the lifetime value of the customer is far more important to a business than a quick fling! Read more about using Loyalty Pricing.

Do you have any customer loyalty or rentention tips to share?