Lessons on how your business can retain customers

Keeping customers loyal is a sweet spot for entrepreneurs. You can achieve this despite competition from other businesses trying to come between your relationships with your clients.

A few weeks back we gave Kenyan entrepreneurs some insight on how to compete against cheap imports. One of the tips to be picked was shifting to non-pricing competition to retain customers. The relationship with your repeat customers is cheaper than having to dress up every time for new customers.

The most common means we know entrepreneurs use to keep customers loyal is the discount. You cut the selling price for the familiar customer or offer discount when purchases reach a certain quantity or amount. We are a bunch of hagglers so it’s no surprise that businesses in Kenya have placed the greatest emphasis on discounts.

There are more sophisticated customer loyalty programs out there. For instance, supermarket chains in Kenya offer loyalty cards to their customers. But the levels at which most Kenyan entrepreneurs operate puts this kind of stuff beyond them. They lack the budget to roll out such programs. If you are one such entrepreneur there is no need to resign on loyalty programs. There are cheaper yet just as effective ways to retain customers.

Your business can use communication as a simple tool to keep customers. Use the platforms of feedback to talk to your customers. You can use the social media your business uses as a marketing platform to encourage exchanges between you and your customers. You can even highlight your customers from time to time. If you are old-fashioned you can talk to them via email.

Everybody just wants to be loved; even if they have come to your business premises to make that purchase they’ll regret when they get home. So when a familiar customer walks in show that you recognize them. This is another way to use an avenue for customer feedback to set the agenda yourself.

Retaining customers not only means you have a steady stream of clients but it’s also a way to get that sweet referral. Treating a customer well is a fast route to that referral. One way to show this good treatment is by giving a few of your good customers gifts with the purchases they make. You can choose to splurge and make it more memorable or you can dish out cards. Chances are that they’ve never been treated right; they’ll never know cards are the bare-minimum.