On the surface, many businesses appear the same, offering similar products or services at comparable prices. So, what really drives customers to one business over another? The customer experience plays a big part in that decision. In fact, 55% of American business owners believe that customer service plays an increasingly important role in differentiating one business from another.

Here are some customer retention strategies you can use to develop and maintain relationships with your customers and keep them coming back for more:

Acknowledge customers by name

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has made it easy to profile and track everything about your customers, but don’t forget that one of the easiest ways to create a personal connection is to call a customer by name. Whether in person, on the phone, or in an email, acknowledging a customer by name is an easy way to personalize the experience.

Keep it simple

As technical as the business world has become, simplicity is still king. Some companies encourage staff to send handwritten letters thanking customers for their business. Remember that creating a positive experience when you’re face to face with a customer is key to increasing customer retention; it’s as easy as looking the customer in the eye and telling them how much you appreciate their business. 

Create a customer service culture

Ensure your employees understand the importance of customer service by ingraining it into your corporate culture. Clearly explain your customer service expectations, track customer service performance, recognize and reward those employees who embrace the culture, and be prepared to address the issue with those who do not. 

Stay connected after the sale

Make email marketing efforts and social media tools a part of your customer retention strategy, so you can stay connected with customers long after they’ve left your store or office. Keep in touch with customers to gauge their experience with a product, or use an email newsletter to provide relevant content that they can share with their network. In addition, connecting with customers through social media sites allows you to resolve any issues and answer questions directly.

Competitive differentiation is critical in today’s crowded marketplace. Regardless of the product you sell or the service you offer, creating ongoing, meaningful relationships may just be the best customer retention tool you have.

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