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Businesses of all sizes and stripes share a common but crucial goal: cultivating customer loyalty. While you might excel at drawing in new customers, earning their trust and (more importantly) their repeat business, it is critical if you want to maintain a thriving enterprise.

Return business tends to be more sustainable and cost-effective than constantly trying to reach new markets, making your customer retention rate impossible to ignore.

Luckily, tweaking your approach and implementing a few simple processes can go a long way to turning low customer retention rates around. As a marketing expert and business leader, I have years of expertise on how to best maximize customer loyalty, and I’ve learned that these seven best practices can help ensure paying customers return and support your business on a repeated basis.

Related: 7 Ways to Boost Client Retention and Prepare for Inflation

1. Create accessible customer service

When you think about existing customers, one of the first things that should probably come to mind is “customer service.” If customers aren’t returning to your business, take a hard look at the accessibility of your customer service information. It should be displayed everywhere: on each page of your website, across your social media, and in every email you send. Essentially, if a customer needs to reach you, they should know how to.

Additionally, investing in modern technology like automated chatbots can help streamline and simplify the customer service experience, ensuring your clients are getting help and support when they need it, and without denting your budget. These innovations can help solve frequently asked questions and intervene when a customer is in the midst of leaving a transaction.

Customers are more likely to return to your brand when they know help is readily available when they need it most. After all, there’s nothing worse than being on hold with customer service for an hour!

Related: Are You Sitting on a Customer Retention Goldmine?

2. Ask for feedback

Don’t just provide a place for customers to reach you when they need to. Take steps to actively or even proactively reach out to your customers! People love to provide feedback, and new customers will develop deeper brand loyalty if they feel you truly value their opinion.

From brand surveys to individualized phone calls or emails, take time to learn how your customers feel about your product or service. You might even consider following up and giving customers credit if you use their feedback to change something about your business. Not only will they appreciate being heard, but other customers will likely notice that you’re listening to your audience.

Related: Here’s What Really Builds Customer Loyalty in the B2B Industry

3. Regularly reward customers

A great way to develop customer retention is to exceed expectations. From discount codes to random free shipping, free product promotions and more, there are many ways to surprise and delight existing customers. Consider setting up a program that randomly rewards a small number of customers regularly.

Don’t feel the need to over-promote these rewards. In our opinion-happy age, customers will likely share their feedback on social media and public review sites, touting your business and promoting your brand for you.

Related: 3 Ways to Use Authenticity to Build Customer Loyalty

4. Invest in your social media

Social media cannot be ignored as a key driver in customer retention. Like it or not, your social media presence is the first place many customers go to seek information about your brand, whether it’s a simple question or getting to know your services and philosophy. Because of that, a lack of active social media can often lead to a drop-off in customer engagement and, ultimately, customer retention.

Making an investment in your social footprint can help right the ship and build a brand conversation that keeps your business top of mind. Plus, you can use your social accounts to highlight existing loyal customers in a variety of ways, from sharing photos of their purchases to interacting with customers in the comment section.

Related: Customer Loyalty Is Your Holy Grail for Success. Here’s How to Cultivate It.

5. Be upfront and transparent

From your products to internal company processes, your brand must always be honest and transparent. Web-savvy customers are likely to seek business elsewhere when they feel they’re being hoodwinked, making honesty a core principle you can’t afford to overlook or ignore.

For instance, when issues with an order or process pop up, letting customers know about the problem can be an effective way to avoid future trouble. Aim to avoid dishonest marketing campaigns or trying to deceive customers into ordering or returning to your business because once they discover the deception, they certainly won’t return for more.

6. Provide opportunities for community

There are so many ways to cultivate communities around your brand. From Facebook groups to dedicated newsletters to real-life meetups, you can bring loyal customers together in specific spaces devoted to number-one fans. Creating a community vibe can help make customers feel special and desired.

You can also occasionally reward these groups with bespoke promo codes or freebies. In a sense, this method provides your business with a focus group that can aid with early product testing and even draw crucial insight into customer needs, a potentially significant boon for your customer retention efforts.

Related: Are You Doing These 3 Things to Foster Brand Community?

7. Keep your tech smooth and secure

Cybersecurity is a major issue for the modern customer, so ensure your website and online checkout processes are safe and constantly safeguarding customer info. Customers need to feel comfortable giving you their information, or they certainly won’t want to return to your business.

Similarly, don’t overdo email marketing or SMS texting. Prioritizing the privacy and subtlety of your online interactions will show customers that they can trust your business again and again.

This article is from Entrepreneur.com

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