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How to keep your small business customers coming back

One of the most crucial things that any small business owner should be focusing on is customer retention. Keep in mind that studies show that up to 80% of your sales come from your existing customer base. This makes keeping your customers happy and returning to shop with you again a critical function for the long term success of your small business. Studies have also shown that when businesses make customer service a priority their customers will return again and again to shop from them regardless of price and simply for the fact that they liked the customer service they received. Here is what you need to know about how to keep your small business customers coming back-

- Communicate with your customers-Today's customers have never been more informed. With the ease of technology your customers will know what your competition is offering and how much they are offering it for long before they enter your store or go on your website. This makes it crucial that you take the time to communicate with your customers about what you can offer them. The basis of any good customer service is the relationship that you form with your customers. This means that it is crucial that you take the time to find ways to interact with your customers show them what you can do for them and that you appreciate your business.
- Train your employees-Everyone who works in your small business should know that their top priority is customer service regardless of their job description. When you adequately train your employees they will be able to solve issues and answer questions that are posed by your customers without the dreaded reply of "let me get a manager". When everyone in your small business knows that how they treat the customer is the top priority in your company they will be far more likely to give the customer service that you expect and want them to give. This type of training also helps to prevent the type of mistakes that can seriously damage the reputation of your small business.
- Realize that everyone's time is valuable-In a recent survey customers were asked why they left a business. The number one reason for leaving was listed as "having to wait". Today, your consumers are not going to want to wait for you to get to them. If your customers are finding that they have to wait to get help, are constantly being put on hold, or can't log onto your website they will get frustrated and simply move on to another business that will quickly take care of their needs. You need to train your employees to deal with customers quickly and if there is a delay to respond to that appropriately, as well. Sometimes just a simple apology for having kept a customer waiting can have them coming back to shop with you again instead of going away angry.
- Acknowledge your customers-One of the most important ways to keep your customers coming back is to acknowledge that you appreciate that they shop at your business. Every customer wants to be made to feel like their business is important. You can do this in a number of different ways such as: sending thank you notes, phoning them, greeting and acknowledging customers when they are in your business, sending incentives, and offering customer appreciation days. It can also go a long way if you remember their special days such as: birthdays, anniversaries, and other times that are meaningful to them.There really is no limit on the way you can show your customers that they matter to you and that you appreciate their business.

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