What if your business was squandering its most important resource?

Most businesses focus their attention on bringing in new customers. However, it is even more important for you to hold onto the customers you already have.

That's why a customer retention plan is so important. Keep reading to learn about the most effective ways to keep your existing customers!

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1. Staying in Touch

One of the best customer retention plans is also the simplest. Your company needs to focus on email outreach with customers.

On the most basic level, email serves as a way of delivering special offers, contact info, and other retention strategies. And frequent e-mails help keep you on the customer's mind throughout the week and month.

With a good CRM (more on this later), you can also target specific customer segments. By e-mailing special news and offers to customers you haven't seen in a while, you can easily bring them back into the fold just by hitting the "send" button.

2. All About Gratitude

Loyal customers know that they have helped your business succeed. This is why they want to see that you and your business are appropriately grateful.

This is why it's important to build gratitude into every customer interaction. And that must extend to both physical spaces and digital spaces.

For example, clerks should regularly express gratitude in their daily customer interactions. It may seem corny or even forced, but trust us: loyal customers definitely notice when they aren't being thanked.

Show gratitude via your email outreach, and don't forget to say "thank you" on receipts and e-mail messages. This pairs quite well with any special offers that you send.

3. Use Special Offers

The best customer retention strategies are a blend of old ideas and new ones. For example, it's tough to go wrong with offering customers special deals because everyone likes to save money.

However, you can really take this old strategy to the next level with CRM. For instance, you can analyze a customer's purchase history and then offer a coupon tailored to their particular interests.

This is successful for retention on multiple fronts. It increases the likelihood of the customer's immediate return while also underscoring how well your company understands their needs.

4. Social Media Guru

Customer engagement is the cornerstone of any customer retention strategies. And social media is arguably your best tool for boosting engagement.

Your most loyal customers are the ones likely to follow your brand on social media. Rewarding that engagement will retain these customers while transforming them into some of your best brand ambassadors.

You can boost engagement in some ways by offering special deals only via social media. But you can also increase engagement by asking questions and conducting polls that encourage customer response.

When customers see you change your products and services to reflect social media feedback, it will increase their loyalty because they feel as if they have a genuine voice in the company.

5. Seek Feedback

Speaking of giving customers a voice: you need to be actively seeking feedback and responding to it as soon as possible.

When customers leave suggestions via e-mail or social media, don't leave them hanging. Even a simple e-mail thanking them for their suggestion helps to show that your business cares about feedback.

Consider sending out regular e-mails for customer feedback and conducting online polls via social media. This gives you a chance to solicit very specific feedback while also helping to manage expectations about your brand and its products.

6. Target VIPs

Earlier, we talked about the general importance of special offers to your customer retention plan. However, it is equally important to target your VIP customers and to help them feel special.

This may include special offers for your most frequent customers. Your messages to them should make it clear that you wish to thank them for their loyalty and continued support of your company.

Consider adding incentives for future purchases so that their deals don't feel like a one-time thing. Remember that these strategies all work together: a satisfied VIP will talk positively about your brand on social media and expand your influence.

7. Emphasize Access

Much of customer retention can be boiled down to a simple question: how accessible is your company?

When someone has a question or an issue, they want a relatively quick response. It is vital that they can quickly reach a human being via telephone or text message.

While nobody likes talking to a phone tree, your most loyal customers will feel a sense of betrayal. If they're not worth getting immediate attention, then who is?

8. Spotlight On Customers

It sounds like a cliche to say that your company cares about customers. However, you can show how true this statement is by putting the spotlight on particular customers.

If a customer wins a special giveaway or completes another achievement, be sure to brag about them in your newsletter and via social media. If someone makes a great post via a platform like Twitter, be sure to retweet them to show how much you care.

When other customers see you shining such a spotlight, it creates a natural desire to share that spotlight through regular brand engagement.

9. Personalize With CRM

There is a paradox when it comes to customer e-mail outreach. On one hand, following up with customers is easier than ever. On the other hand, your responses (and much of digital messaging as a whole) may come across as fairly generic.

With a good CRM, you can personalize almost every response. This ranges from greeting customers by name to highlighting their recent browsing and purchasing history.

You will see a major ROI with this kind of personalization, especially in terms of retention and engagement.

Customer Retention Plan: Making Your Customers Count

Now you know how to create a solid customer retention plan. But do you know how to bring in new customers while retaining the existing ones?

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Search Engine Guide > Robert Clough > Your Customer Retention Plan: 9 Effective Ways to Keep Your Customers