Securing a steady cash flow is one of the biggest challenges faced by small businesses. According to statistics compiled by SEMrush, 66% admit facing financial challenges, with 43% revealing that the biggest hardship is paying operational costs.
The easiest way to ensure a predictable cash flow that keeps the business functional is customer retention. Research by smallbizgenius reveals that 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, and 82% of companies agree that retention is easier than acquisition.
So, in this article, we’ll share six tools that can help you increase client retention for your small business.
1. Vcita: Self-service client portal
People like to have control, especially when making financial decisions. No one wants to be told how they should be spending money to get a certain value. Also, before investing in a product or service, potential clients want to learn everything about their options.
This dynamic highlights the need for total transparency between small businesses and their clients, where the former is expected to provide the following which will give the client more control:
- Details about their options.
- Records of their past interactions with them.
- Easy access to human service providers.
Vcita facilitates this through a client management portal where clients can:
- Interact with the business and share files the way want
- View their past financial and conversational interactions with the business
- Contact the business directly with their queries and requests
- Make payments and schedule appointments for services
This type of solution empowers the client by putting them in the driver’s seat for all interactions and making all their past data easily accessible through an easy self-service dashboard. From the small business’s perspective, it’s also a great way to keep customer lifecycles centralized through a single hub that’s connected to their billing systems, CRM and calendar. As a result, clients can enjoy the freedom of making their own choices, which keeps them feeling closer to the service provider.
2. TargetBay: Email and SMS automation
As of 2020, there were 6.05 billion smartphones and 4 billion email users all over the world, figures which are expected to grow to 7.33 billion smartphones and 4.6 billion by 2025. This makes both emails and SMSs the most convenient mode for businesses to engage with their clients.
However, adopting a one-size-fits-all approach while interacting with clients through these highly personal communication channels seldom works. An estimated 72% of customers selectively engage with messages that are personalized for them. Thus, brands must segment their customers and send them personalized messages that inspire them to take action.
More importantly, this task needs to be automated, due to the human resource limitations of growing brands – and also because automation facilitates instant communication.
TargetBay’s BayEngage is an email and SMS automation solution that helps small to medium-sized businesses strengthen relationships with their clients through:
- Audience segmentation based on their past behavior
- Automated drip campaigns for SMS and email marketing
- KPI trackings such as open and click-through rates
- Readymade email templates for various use cases
- 24/7 customer support to help budding teams and solopreneurs
The above features enable SMBs to send messages that get read and produce actions from their clients, through channels they prefer, which ultimately boosts client retention.
3. Document360: Knowledge base software
Equipping customers and clients to solve the challenges they encounter by themselves is better than helping them through a customer support system. Self-service is fast and helps clients find the answers they need all by themselves without dealing with agents and chatbots.
According to various reports, 79% of consumers say they have used self-service portals and 88% expect a business to have one.
To ensure that clients can easily find the solutions to the roadblocks they encounter, businesses need to create a knowledge base (KB) where all the relevant questions have been answered. This requires a scalable solution that can help brands keep their KB updated with time.
Document360 provides a scalable knowledge management solution to growing companies by enabling them to create a self-service knowledge base for their clients. Brands can create:
- Help Docs that help their customers get the most out of a brand’s services
- Technical Documentation to share the release notes and developers’ guides
- Online User Guides that contain how-to instructions
- FAQs that answer questions prospects tend to have
With the help of integrations and extensions, Document360 plays well into the existing tech stack of small businesses.
4. Joonbot: Customer support bot
Everything needs to be fast paced nowadays, especially helping customers when they get stuck somewhere. Keeping the business lights on 24/7 to assist clients increases retention in two ways:
- It helps address common questions clients have, helping them get the value they are looking for, fast.
- It increases the trust factor as the clients now believe they can count on the business to be there for them round the clock.
This can be challenging for small teams and solopreneurs with clients all over the world.
Fortunately, chatbots help in these situations. Over 40% of consumers find the round-the-clock availability a positive, and nearly 70% think the speed is a plus. But, building chatbots for various use cases can be difficult, particularly for small businesses that lack appropriate resources.
Joonbot unlocks the above benefits for SMBs by helping them build chatbots with conditional mapping for multiple use cases. Their no-code chatbot builder enables professionals without technical backgrounds to build chatbots within minutes.
Chatbots respond to customers within seconds, and in case they are unable to solve the issue satisfactorily, they can connect the customer with a live agent or generate a ticket. This proactiveness will earn the customer’s trust, which will help retain them.
5. SurveySparrow: NPS measurement software
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a 0-10 rating scale used by businesses to measure the satisfaction levels of their clients and how loyal they are to them. Here is what the scores mean:
- 0-6: Detractors – dissatisfied with the services and more likely to churn.
- 6-8: Passives – they are neutral and will try another service if it seems better.
- 9-10: Promoters – these kinds of customers are raving fans.
It provides a simple way for businesses to assess how they are perceived and make the necessary changes.
Businesses should make it a habit to ask their customers for feedback. When customers have a bad experience, only 1 of 26 make a complaint, and the rest simply churn. Additionally, clients are more likely to tell others about a bad experience than a good one.
Not only that, after getting more than one sub-par experience, customers immediately turn to the competitors of that business. According to a report by Zendesk released in 2020, 80% of customers will take their business elsewhere in that condition.
This phenomenon not only keeps businesses in the dark as to why their customers are leaving but also damages their reputation. One way to reverse this is to keep reaching out to clients and take action based on their feedback.
SurveySparrow helps businesses become aware of their clients’ sentiments towards them through NPS surveys, feedback forms, and more. SurveySparrow can collect feedback through different channels such as SMS, email, and Slack.
Based on the feedback, teams can set up automated ticketing workflows enabling them to resolve issues as they arise. After closing the feedback loop, businesses can identify underlying patterns to prevent the occurrence of such issues altogether.
By proactively reacting to customers’ feedback, growing brands can increase their satisfaction levels and retain them.
6. Loopy Loyalty: Loyalty management platform
So far in this post, we have focused on how budding brands can improve their client retention rates by maintaining transparency, sending them personalized messages, being available 24/7 for support, equipping them for self-service, and getting their feedback.
Another effective method is to reward clients for their loyalty through their brands. In general, growing businesses are more likely to give offers to new buyers to attract them. Unsurprisingly, 38% of loyal customers find that frustrating. Their frustration is not misplaced.
Apart from retaining loyal customers, loyalty programs increase customer engagement as well. For instance, 62.1% of respondents in a survey where loyalty program owners participated reported that their customer loyalty programs effectively increased engagement rates.
Loopy Loyalty offers a solution to SMBs where they can build and set up loyalty programs within 15 minutes. It allows the creation of unlimited loyalty offers (known as “stamp cards”) that contain offer details. Businesses can send as many messages as they like to their segmented audiences.
Through Loopy Loyalty, businesses can easily keep track of their VIPs and set up customized rewards for them to keep them returning.
Client retention is crucial for small business growth. To sum up, here are six ways (and tools) that SMBs can rely on to ensure their clients keep returning:
- Maintaining transparency with clients by making their data accessible to them and giving them more control as they interact with a business through a client management portal.
- Sending them customized emails and SMSs after segmenting them based on their behavior so that they are motivated to act.
- Keeping the customer support lights on 24/7 so that clients can get assistance at any time, anywhere.
- Documenting everything about your services that equip clients for self-service to help them get the most value.
- Getting feedback from clients and acting upon them immediately to reduce churn and keep delivering world-class service.
- Setting up loyalty programs to reward valuable clients for their continued trust and support.