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I often ask small business owners what they are doing in terms of communicating with their current and past customers and what strategy they take for customer retention. The answers I often hear is, “nothing” or “not much”! Its easy to make a sale and move on, but your past and current customer base is a vital asset and one that should be treasured and nurtured by any small business. Customer retention for small businesses is key to driving ongoing sales – not just from the loyalty of the customer themselves but from referrals they drive to you and the trust their contacts have in their assessment of you.

Customers these days don”t necessarily want to buy and run – they are information hungry and social media savvy, meaning they are primed and ready to hear from you – as long as its relevant and adds value. And THAT is the key to keeping your customers close through communications, along with good customer service and making it easy for them to do business with you. There is also an element of making them look good – its nice to refer a friend, partner or business associate to a service or product that then subsequently delivers well for them – your customer will feel that nice warm “I”ve done good” feeling inside!

So here are my thoughts on the top things to consider when looking at communications to drive customer retention for small businesses:

1) Communicate with them regularly but not annoyingly so. Build an ongoing relationship with them which keeps you front of mind so they won”t stray somewhere else when they need your product or service.

2) Use the right medium, in the right way and at the right time. Social media is a great way to keep in front of customers and email newsletters are also a massive channel for small business communications.

3) Make sure that the content you send, is RELEVANT. There is nothing worse than receiving a newsletter that is so boring or irrelevant to you, that you simply can”t hit the “delete” key fast enough.  Personally, I like newsletters that contain educational articles I can dip into at the weekend or when I am waiting for someone or when I am having a quick cuppa. I am sure most customers are just like me, now we can have information on the move.

4) Make sure you are delivering value – if readers think you add value in your communications, they will perceive that you will add value in your services and products – which you do, of course!

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