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Tips for Gaining More Return Customers in 2022

Learn how to boost customer retention and loyalty this year with these easy-to-follow steps. 

Christina Bosch
Christina Bosch
4 min read
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Small business owners who are just starting out are often focused on one thing: finding new clients. And it’s a good thing to focus on! After all, without clients, your business can’t survive. Plus, learning through trial and error who your ideal customer—and not-so-ideal customer— is is an important mountain to climb. Once that summit is conquered, however, another one appears: keeping those customers coming back.

At a certain point in your company’s growth trajectory, retaining your returning customers became just as valuable as gaining new customers. Why? First, it’s easier to get current customers to come back than to find new ones. Second, retention is cheaper than acquisition. While the jury’s out on exact numbers, Harvard Business Review reported that acquiring new customers can be anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than getting existing customers to return.

Make it your mission — literally

For many small business owners, taking steps to prioritize customer retention can feel like a lot. This is all well and good when your business is small and scrappy, but it can be difficult to scale as your client list grows. 

That’s why it’s important to build great customer service into your company’s mission. If you have a mission statement, does it include anything about how you treat your customers? If not, think about including this as a north star. Having this point of view will turn retention efforts from an afterthought to a non-negotiable, and after a while, it will stop being effortful and become a part of what makes your business unique.

Finally, word of mouth will always be a powerful tool for getting your business name out in the community. There’s no better brand ambassador than a happy, returning customer. So what can you do to keep customers coming back? Here are some tips for increasing customer loyalty in 2022. 

Make a great first impression

As the old adage goes, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Most of the time, that impression starts before you’re aware that the customer even exists. Things like a strong web presence, social media persona, and online customer reviews are ways to let a potential customer know your business is reputable and worth taking a chance on. Investing in a great website and making sure customers can find all the information they need will make a big difference. 

Once a potential customer finds you, there are little touches you can add to make their first transaction with you—well, less transactional. Build a brand presence that’s warm, inviting, and memorable. This goes a long way, as does focusing on great customer service. Speaking of which…

Follow up for feedback

The customer’s experience with your business shouldn’t end after they pay. Each interaction with a new customer gives you the opportunity to collect feedback. It’s a win-win - if they loved their experience, you have a new testimonial to add to your website. If they have constructive feedback, you can lend an ear and find out how you can make their experience better next time. 

Sending a quick note to thank customers for their business and asking how their experience was will let them know you care. And, it may also help them go from a one-time visitor to a repeat customer. 

Set up a loyalty program

When most people hear “loyalty program,” they think of points systems or punch cards. Both of these are great examples, but there are more ways you can reward customers for returning. 

Reframe the definition of loyalty and start getting creative. Does your business have a social media account? Reward your followers by running a giveaway or an exclusive discount code. And if your customers have opted into your newsletter, you can use it to offer subscriber-exclusive discounts (or early access to your already-planned events). 

At the end of the day, any kind of benefit you can offer customers for going out of their way to stay in touch with you is a step in the right direction.

Handle customer concerns with care

If a new customer’s experience with you is less than ideal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose them, but if you fail to follow through the right way, you just might. If you have the right mechanisms in place to capture feedback, you’re bound to have a few less-than-stellar reviews come through. 

Rather than chalking this up to a loss, you can use this as an opportunity to turn the customer’s experience around. It can be as simple as reaching out personally to apologize and offer a way to make their next visit better. 

However, being attentive doesn’t just help when a bad review rolls in. Making sure you prioritize customer inquiries—no matter how inconsequential they may seem—will show your customers that they matter. So if you get a DM asking if you’re open on Sundays, answer it! Otherwise, you may be losing an opportunity for a new regular. 

The bottom line here is that if a customer cares enough to reach out—whether it’s with a question, a concern, or a review—it will mean a lot to them if you return their thoughtfulness in kind.

While most of the tactics we’ve listed in this article get easier with time, it’s still helpful to have a tool that will help you with your retention efforts. If you want to learn more about how you can automate and streamline your customer care, start a free trial with GoSite today.

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Christina Bosch
Christina Bosch
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