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Multiple polls show that businesses spend exorbitant amounts of money and time replacing one-time customers, who were more than willing to give a business a chance to prove itself, but walked out with indifference or full disappointment.

If this is the boat you’re in, we want to empower you and your frontline employees to take the steering wheel of your customer experience strategy, and make sure that it’s crafted to create long-term customers with a deeply rooted sense of loyalty toward your brand.

These simple tips will give your business a 180-degree change, and help you navigate to the land of incremental growth and away from a painfully expensive, high customer churn rate.

Don’t Let Your Reviews and Reputation Run Adrift

Neglecting the voice of your customer amounts to wearing marketing blinders. Online customer reviews are the most dynamic and fluid way to understanding the customer sentiment, setting up processes that improve responsiveness, and tailoring the offering to be an ad-hoc match of your customer’s ideal of excellence.

Businesses with review monitoring and review management efforts in place, paired with a strong customer experience strategy, are always ahead of their peers when it comes to customer retention. A good online reputation is not based on inertia; it is the result of diligent and intentional strategies aimed at delivering what you promised, and promising what the customer really wants.

When It Comes to Customer Experience, Be All Hands in Deck

Customer retention is not exclusive to frontline employees. Everyone that touches customer processes should illuminate their actions, with the final goal in mind of ensuring that every customer is motivated not only to patronage the business again, but also to give a positive endorsement about the business to their social and professional networks.

When crafting your customer retention strategy, make sure everyone is on the same page and has the same level of understanding and commitment.

Don’t Let Negative Feedback Become a Ballast

Discouragement is a contagious disease. Don’t allow for negative customer feedback to impact the morale of your team. Instead, embrace negative feedback, and use it as the barometer for the health of your business organization.

Each time your business receives a negative review, commit to engage with the reviewer in a way that opens the door for a second chance, and speaks to other potential customers of your dedication to constant product and process improvement.

Do Not Bamboozle Your Customers by Astroturfing

As tempting as it might be, deception is not a good or sustainable way to manage a business. Stay away from creating fake reviews online that generate a false expectation of what your business is able to deliver. Astroturfing (the practice of creating false positive reviews on review sites) is illegal, but most importantly, it is destructive and will only result in more dissatisfied customers.

Read more: “Giving Yourself 5 Stars? The Cons of Faking Your Online Reviews

Customer Compensation Is Not Blood Money, Don’t Make It a Habit

Customer recovery and appropriate compensation have a place in your overall marketing strategy, but you need to be careful and clear about how you use it. Giving a customer a refund is not the final end to a well-managed customer experience.

Make sure you are tackling the root problem and you are compensating the customer in a way that is conducive to a second chance. You and your team need to be ready to deliver a customer experience worthy of bragging about.

Also, if you’re requesting customers to review your business, don’t “incentivize”.

By Guess and by God is not a Sustainable Strategy

Managing your business by instinct is not a valid or sustainable business strategy. Refrain from playing it by ear all of the time, and make sure your organization is metrics-driven and customer-focused.

If you have a different solution to the same problem every single time, then your customers will never be able to have a clear picture of who you are as a brand, and they will be ill-equipped to endorse you on the basis of consistency and commitment to your brand promise.

Don’t Let First Impressions Go by the Board

You only get one opportunity to create a memorable and positive first impression. Don’t let your chance go to waste.

Multiple studies point to the fact that the likelihood for repeat business is directly connected to the level of satisfaction that customers experience during their first interaction with a business organization. Work on putting processes in place to deliver your best from the very first interaction you have with a customer. If you don’t, then you may not get a second chance.

When crafting your customer retention strategy, make sure everyone is on the same page and has the same level of understanding and commitment.

Carry On! Dwelling on Past Failures Is Not Constructive

Don’t let the past decide your future. We have heard small business owners express a deep sense of defeat when they first realize that they have a less-than-perfect customer feedback on review websites like Yelp, Google+, and Facebook.

We can assure you that even if you are at the bottom of the list, with a proper customer experience strategy your business can rise and dominate. Carry on, and make each customer engagement one that is focused on ensuring the customer comes back again and again and, if possible, invite him or her to bring friends along!

Audit Your Processes Against Feedback to Ensure a Clean Bill of Health

Customer retention happens best when you become a diagnostician of the issues affecting the customer experience. Use your online reviews and simple surveys like the Net Promoter Score to measure the health of your business and evaluate the types of experiences your customers are having.

With determination and commitment, you will eventually refine your processes and be able to validate your corporate bill of health by having five-star review profiles on the most relevant review websites.

Place the Customer First

Be a business committed to both word and deed. Customer service is not simply about making a marketing promise. Deliver on your promise, and let your true colors show.

Defeatism Kills: Don’t Cut and Run Too Quickly

Customer retention requires a long-term commitment and much iteration to refine the way you do business. If at first you fail, go back to the drawing board and try again.

Be Proactive to Avoid Finding Yourself Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Business success happens to those who work at it. Neglecting your business processes may corner you into a position where recovery might be improbable or very difficult. Tackle issues today, make micro-corrections to the way you do business, and before you know it, you will be on track to success.

A Long-Term Retention Strategy Demands an Even-Keeled Approach

Be the tortoise, not the hare. Consistency in the way you serve your customers is always better than peaks and valleys. Measure the customer experience day by day to ensure you are giving yourself every opportunity to retain and convert every new customer into a loyal, long-term advocate. When it comes to customer retention and customer loyalty, you are the captain of your own ship. With hard work and determination, you can move in the right direction and begin growing your business incrementally instead of constantly chasing your tail, trying to replace one-time, dissatisfied customers.

Crystal Shuller

Crystal is the Director of Customer Happiness for ReviewTrackers. She's known around the office for E-mails that make everyone smile, and she has a bag of tricks and tips to help businesses solve their problems and delight their customers.

Discussion

  1. B.Logan

    I’m a bit disappointed when I see diligent people who own small business, but rather then investing in marketing they complain on economics or politics for low income. Yes, you need a quality service or product, but nowadays a word-of-mouth is not a business strategy. It’s just not enough. If you are business owner, you need to be updated, to learn new things and to expand your business.

    Reply
  2. Mark Dee

    I’ve been reading and listening a lot about Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson these days. And most of what he said matches these suggestions. I’m glad to see that there are more and more Guerrillas in the world and that even the small businesses can benefit from various types of marketing strategies. These are some very good tips for any business owner.

    Reply
  3. New Bee

    I new couple of guys who payed a few people to them an Astroturfing and it turned out pretty well. None of the customers ever suspected that the reviews were fake and their companies had a lots of comments and reviews, mostly positive. When doing Astroturfing it is important to give yourself a couple of bad reviews too, just to make things realistic.

    Reply
  4. Jim Petersen

    I’ve never realized the importance of the first impression. Could it really be possible that it is that important!? I’ll try to invest more in leaving the best possible first impression to make my random customers regular. I hope it will give good results.

    Reply
  5. WilmaP

    It is very important to respond to customers reviews as soon as possible. So you can leave a appreciation and importance of their opinion as customers.

    Reply
  6. KrisM77

    Sometimes, it could take years before you get a significant value from your reviewers. The solid, regular, customer trust is built by patience.

    Reply
  7. Fiona Wong

    Delivering a promise – those are some wise words, indeed. Don’t behave like politicians, who make their promises during campaign and never even try deliver them. They act to suit their own needs first.

    Reply
  8. Fields of Clover

    I agree that is very important to have a strong plan rather than improvisation.

    Reply
    • Sammy J

      But you can always improvise within the plan. And it’s highly recommended.

      Reply
  9. Sammy J

    What a great article. You’ve put a lot of things that need to be thought about. But I think that the most important is not to give up. Really, there are going to be a lot of ups and downs but the most important thing is not to quit after the first or any other fall. Just keep rolling.

    Reply
  10. medomoc

    A company which is serious and tends to build reputation will not to astroturfing. It’s only for those who want success to happen overnight.

    Reply
  11. Jonah

    The most important is to have a good business plan and this article will certainly help you build one.

    Reply
  12. smstudent

    To keep promises that you given to your customers is very important. That’s how you make them to trust you and you can keep them for a long time. The other side of that trust is good marketing for your business and getting back a good reviews and expanding business.

    Reply
  13. KrisM77

    Customer retention is something which comes by constant good service. A loyal customer is someone who pays most of your bills with his/her repetitive visits to the business.

    Reply

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