You’ve probably heard the statistics about how much more it costs to get a new customer than to keep an old one.  Often this acquisition cost is quoted as being five to ten times that of keeping a current customer happy. And while there is a certain attrition to be expected from people moving away or losing interest in what you sell, it’s important that you put at least as much effort into shopper satisfaction as you put into trying to reach potential new customers.

The first key to good customer retention to to make sure that every transaction is a positive one.  Are your procedures up to date so that a sale is conducted efficiently? Does your staff greet customers warmly, and offer them good advice as they make purchase decisions?  Do you have what shoppers come in looking for? Inventory is often overlooked as an essential component of customer service excellence.

The second most important factor is communicating with your existing customer base. This engagement can be through social media, email blasts, or even personal thank you notes. Make sure that you ask for an email or physical mailing address any time a 08significant purchase is made. Be sure to mention that you offer special gifts and discounts to the customers who provide this information – and that you don’t share your lists.

The final key is rewarding customers for their patronage. A loyalty program is an easy way to do this, because it tracks sales totals for you. We have used our loyalty program to compile a list of the year’s top shoppers to invite to a private event with refreshments and prizes.

The most important element in customer retention is making your regular customers feel appreciated.  A sincere thank you at the time that a purchase is made can go a long way – and those are words we don’t hear often enough today.

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder