Irrespective of whether the business is big or small, customer retention is extremely important for the survival. Obviously, if you want to retain your clientele, you have to treat them right. But, this may not always be as easy as saying as you would come across many difficult clients who, if treated right, would turn out to be the most loyal customer you have.
Communication and accuracy of information
Communication is the most important skill for a small business owner as everything including the profits will depend on how good you are in creating and maintaining business relationships and no relationship can survive without proper and adequate communication.
Having equipment such as an hotline telephone system which is, in plain words, a more sophisticated version of a home voicemail, would allow you to store messages so that you will not have to waste time writing them down and will also eliminate the human error that may occur when writing down something from memory. No customer is going to return to your establishment if you got their order wrong.
Rewards for loyalty
Small businesses may not have a lot of profit specially if you have just started. But you can try to squeeze in a loyalty rewards scheme that will attract the customers and will ensure that they will keep on coming.
If you do not have much to spend on the loyalty scheme you can start by focusing on minor customers or the kids who come in with their parents (assuming that you are running an establishment that does not prohibit the entry of kids). Giving extra attention to parents with kids, having priority ques for expecting mothers and parents with kids, giving small gifts such as candy, etc. would boost your reputation. This will not only be appreciated by the ones with kids but also by the ones who cannot stand them!
Solving customer issues and encouraging feedback
One of the most prominent reasons why people come to small businesses is that they feel freer to perform their transactions more than they would when dealing with large conglomerates. So if you allow your customers to speak freely and give you their feedback about the products or the services they will be much more satisfied while giving you a chance to improve the quality of the goods or the services.
You can have an old fashioned feedback book where the customers can write what they think, have a complaints box where they can drop in the issues or have a customer helpline. No need to have sophisticated customer care executives; you can do it yourself or assign the task to the receptionist or one of the staff members. However, if you are delegating this to someone else make sure you install a Digital Phone Recorder system first so that the attitude of the staff member towards the customer will not be effected by emotions and they will allow emotions to get the best of them and end up screaming at a persistent customer.
These small things will ensure that your customers are treated well and proper and that long lasting impression can do more wonders than any amount of advertising.