For a healthy body, prevention is better than cure. For a healthy business, retention is better than acquisition.
As an agency, here are three concrete reasons why you must focus on helping your SMB clients improve their customer retention and loyalty:
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1. It’s more cost-effective to market to existing customers than new ones, since they’ve already been convinced at least once about the value of working with you.
2. Existing customers are more likely to refer your business to their network and drive word of mouth.
3. Existing customers are more likely to provide valuable feedback and insights that can help you improve your business.
In fact, an article from American Express suggests it’s 6 to 7 times more expensive to gain a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.
In other words, as an agency partner, the biggest value you can add to your clients is improve their customers’ loyalty toward their business. Here are four great ways to do just that.
1. Collaborate on customer relationship initiatives
Greater customer loyalty is a byproduct of stronger customer relationships.
Customer relationship management, aka CRM, refers to the process and tools a business uses to manage interactions (such as sales support, technical support, feedback surveys, and marketing communications) with its customers, aiming to improve their experience.
As an agency, collaborating with your clients on CRM means working together to maximize the effectiveness of lead nurture processes, capture customer feedback, understand customer pain points, uncover re-engagement opportunities, etc. A great way to collaborate effectively is to empower your clients with a branded CRM app that lets them streamline their customer communication and organize customer data.
That’s where vcita, a small business management platform, helps. It offers a white-label partner program using which you can build a custom agency-branded app (web and mobile) for your small business clients. Your clients can then use your CRM app to efficiently manage their calendar appointments, payments, documents, customer interactions, and marketing.
Specifically, your branded CRM enables clients to segment their audience based on certain attributes — such as demographics, purchase history, engagement activity, etc. — and create win-back campaigns (email and SMS) that re-engage past customers into making another purchase.
In this manner, you step back and let clients run the show with a CRM tool (under your branding) that equips them with the features they need to forge strong customer relationships. Alternatively, you can use the app as a collaborative platform to teach clients how to improve their campaign performance. You can also keep tabs on their customer loyalty metrics and advise them on new tactics to maximize loyalty — or execute those tactics as an additional billable service.
2. Create seasonal campaigns
What do holidays, festivals, season changes, and personal events (such as birthdays) have in common? The opportunity to spark customer interest in your business with special, time-sensitive offers.
For example, check out this birthday email from Applebee’s.
Or this summer season discount email from Thumbtack.
Look at your client’s business calendar and consider how you can spread out such seasonal campaigns throughout the year as a good excuse to continuously re-engage past customers. Tap into the CRM data your SMB clients possess to craft personalized offers that make customers feel more valued.
3. Build a small business loyalty program
This is a textbook approach to improving not just customer loyalty but also repeat purchase frequency and order value. In fact, 87% of shoppers want brands to have loyalty programs, and 64% of loyalty program members spend more money to maximize points earnings.
With a loyalty program, you essentially reward customers (with redeemable points, discounts, freebies, etc.) who make repeat purchases and stay loyal to your SMB client.
For instance, The North Face has a simple, free-to-join XPLR Pass loyalty program that rewards 1 point for every $1 spent by the member, along with exclusive gear and birthday gifts.
Emulate the same for your SMB clients to help them improve their customer loyalty. To do so, consider using a dedicated loyalty and rewards platform like Kangaroo Rewards that’s designed to help SMBs drive repeat business and referrals.
It also offers an Agency Partner program that lets you provide your clients with engaging ways to increase their repeat sales, while you earn recurring revenue.
4. Get glowing reviews for your clients
Serving as social proof and credibility boosters, reviews facilitate not just customer acquisition but retention, too. If a customer invests their time in writing a review for your client’s business, it is highly likely that they will be eager to purchase more in the future and refer the business to others.
Not to mention, displaying reviews on prominent platforms like Google, Facebook, Yelp, Trustpilot, etc. is excellent advertising for your client’s business, considering nearly half (49%) of all consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
So, have a step-by-step review collection strategy in place wherein after every purchase, your client confirms whether they’re confident about their customer having a positive experience. Accordingly, send out an automated yet personalized review request (with follow-ups).
Requesting reviews from satisfied customers helps you gauge their long-term level of interest in your client’s business, giving assurance about the efficacy of your future marketing efforts and that they’d be happy to engage again. Use a tool like Nicereply that lets you send simple one-click CSAT, CES, and NPS surveys to gather customer feedback and detailed reviews.
Improving customer loyalty is the cornerstone of sustainable business growth. Focusing on these four core strategies for your SMB clients will enable them to build a staunch customer base, and in turn, help you retain your clients as well.