Attracting new customers and building a client base are both expensive hobbies. In fact, client acquisition costs five times more than client retention. And not just that — the chances of selling your product or service to a new customer are significantly lower compared to selling them to an existing one. That makes the importance of customer loyalty even greater. With that in mind, today, we’re sharing 7 tips to build and maintain a loyal client base so that your business stays strong and competitive.
Show the human side of your company
Building a client base starts with forming an honest relationship with your clients. Being open about where you come from accomplishes a deeper emotional connection and sets the foundation for winning your clients’ trust.
Help clients realize that your company is much more than a logo and a catchy tagline. Don’t be afraid to share your success story with them. Create a dedicated page on your small business website where you briefly talk about the struggle, the dreams, and the vision behind your company. Introduce them to your employees and share an interesting or fun fact about them. Small details like that will help you build an approachable and friendly company image.
Offer multiple communication channels
Communication is key in every personal or professional context. Clients need to leave feedback or request technical support with no fuss. Stay active on Facebook, Instagram, or wherever it’s easier for clients to reach you. If you’re in the hospitality sector, for example, you need to check TripAdvisor, Expedia, and other related sites to respond to feedback. Make sure you reply to each and every one of your clients’ comments.
To maintain your client base, it’s equally important that you reach out to customers as well. A Facebook bot is a great way to approach customers, as it averages 70-80% open rates (!). Or, you can use email to send out surveys and share important news, or just to send personalized wishes during holidays and birthdays.
Deliver exceptional customer experience
To build a loyal customer base, you need to deliver a memorable customer experience during every touchpoint of the customer journey. Starting from your website, which should be easy to navigate and mobile-friendly, to direct client interactions and after-sales support. Namely, your customer service should be top-notch. Clients expect quick, educated responses, problem solutions, as well as careful guidance. Your marketing strategy also contributes to a positive customer experience.
Remember to place extra focus on the quality of your product. Offering a high-quality product is the strongest weapon for a new business that has to compete against established companies. If negative reviews start coming out, it will be hard to bounce back. At this point, quality can save or sink your business.
Turn your client base into a “fan club”
Companies should build their branding in a way that makes their clientele feel included and noticed. Do your clients want to wear your company’s logo on their shirts or put your sticker on their laptops? That’s awesome proof that you’ve created your own community!
So how can you keep the hype going? It all starts and ends with your marketing efforts. Post new content on social media and address your audience in a way that resonates with them. Say, for example, that you’re designing clothes for a young customer base. Your logo should be modern and edgy if you want people to get excited about your brand and become part of your community. As for your content, it should be something fun, like short, upbeat videos on Instagram and Facebook.
Listen and tend to your client’s needs (within reason)
It’s important to develop your product or service according to your customers’ feedback and growing needs. Taking into consideration your client’s complaints and suggestions can help you improve your product and, therefore, stabilize and eventually grow your customer base.
Another way to predict and tend to your client's needs is to use customer behavior analytics. Behavioral data is not just for big companies. It can help small companies, as well, offer personalized solutions to their customers and significantly improve customer acquisition and retention. According to research, only 1 out of 26 unsatisfied clients complain. 91% of those, switch to another brand. Behavioral analytics will help you spot red flags that predict churn and take action while you still have the chance.
Provide flexible payment plans
Setting payment plans for your clients, like the option to pay in increments, is a win-win situation. For your clients, it makes payment easier and less stressful. As for your company, it helps you maintain a steady cash flow even when business is slow. It can also increase client spending since the client doesn’t have to pay the whole amount one-off.
Payment plans are most useful for companies that sell seasonal products or services- for example, a store selling snow gear and equipment. But the truth is that any business can benefit from being flexible and attentive to consumer financial needs. On a side note, offer several payment gateways and options to make the process even easier.
Reward loyal clients
What better way to maintain a loyal client base than showing your gratitude? Clients appreciate companies that make an effort to give something back as a way of thanking them.
Consider rewarding your clients by offering them extra perks like discounts, extra services, and branded products. This can be done through a point-based loyalty program. A heads up for upcoming releases and updates with an “early bird offer” will also work. People love an exclusive sneak peek — it makes them feel they’re part of the gang. Another idea is to reward customers who drive new businesses with special offers or even a sales commission.
By now, you should have a better idea of how to gain customer loyalty. However, the skill of client retention comes through experience, and it involves some trial and error. The important thing is that you stay true to your initial vision, keep your eyes open for new market needs and opportunities, and always strive to deliver top quality. If you do all the above, building a strong client base is not an unachievable feat for your company.