Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to connect with potential clientele considering 93% of consumers use the online search to find local businesses. But the real challenge comes in strengthening those connections and building customer loyalty.

When you make a connection, something just clicks. It’s the spark that gets a new customer excited about your business. While that instantaneous connection is great, the truth is: These sparks can fade just as quickly as they ignited. This is why building relationships is the way to go.

If you’re looking to capture and retain customers follow these tips to improve customer retention.

Flip from Transactional to Relational

People build relationships with people, not companies. That’s the upper hand you have on big-box businesses. *Mic drop!*

Now is the time to get out of transactional marketing and dig your way into the hearts of your patrons. Create your very own fanatical fans by applying a personal touch when it comes to the customer experience.

The truth is people want to shop small. If a purchase was strictly about needing a new shirt, getting a dog groomed or fixing a car, consumers would always go to the multi-billion dollar companies running commercials on every channel.

They’re in your online shop or at your storefront because they want to support your dream and connect with you. Show them that love back by committing to an exceptional customer experience.

Build relationships with your customers by:

  • Focusing on your products’ benefits
  • Keeping in contact with your customers after purchases
  • Anticipating and suggesting what other products/services they may need next
  • Rectifying your customers’ issues
  • Committing to the quality of your products and services

When you’re focused on transactions you are likely:

  • Focused on one-time sales
  • Not giving great customer service
  • Failing to follow up with customers

The Value of Loyalty

By building a relationship with your customers, you’re likely to increase loyalty, which is an opportunity for growth that many businesses neglect to remember.

We cannot stress enough how important having dedicated customers is for small businesses.

Finding new customers is 5 times more expensive than retaining old customers

Loyal customers pack more value for your business. Why? Well, since current and past customers have already experienced your top-notch service, retention will be easier and more profitable.

In fact, you have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer and just a 5-20% chance of selling to a new prospect. Invest your time and effort into maturing relationships to build loyalty.

Start the Framework for Customer Loyalty

Be Reliable. Give your customers a reason to return. If your product or service claims to make life a little easier for your customers, make sure it does just that.

Staying consistent in the services you provide builds trust and therefore, gives your customers the opportunity to confidently introduce others to your brand.

Improve Customer Service. There’s always something that can be done to improve your business, so make a point of listening to what your customers are saying. Requesting reviews is an easy way to get feedback on what your customers love or where improvements need to be made.

Show Appreciation. Find reasons to show customers you care. Like in any relationship, feeling valued is important. Automate emails to celebrate anniversaries or offer coupon codes to celebrate special events, like birthdays.

Be Available. You may be monitoring reviews on your Google My Business (GMB) listing, but are you ready for social? Be available and respond where your customers are — social platforms. The great part about social media is that it provides an added level of transparency.

Responding to the good comments as often as you respond to the negative ones keeps your company from appearing as if it’s always in a state of damage control.

Remember, Relationships Take Time

The key thing to remember is that great customer relationships don’t happen in the blink of an eye. It is essential to nurture these relationships at each and every touchpoint.

From the first time a customer stumbles across your GMB listing to following up after their 15th purchase. By doing so you’re setting up your business for continued growth sustained by loyal customers.