Online Customer Retention for Local By-Appointment Businesses

CrowdfundingDo you run a dental office, beauty salon, massage therapy clinic, or similar business where you and your employees see customers by appointment? If so, you can still use online direct response marketing tactics to help retain customers. Of course, this works best if you employ both online and offline customer retention tactics to help improve loyalty to your service. Learn how you can improve online customer retention for your by-appointment business.

Why Invest in Online Customer Retention?

Different studies have different results, but HBR says that it costs businesses anywhere from five to twenty-five percent more to sell to a new customer than it does to an existing one. If you want to enjoy the highest returns on your marketing budget, you might focus on your customer retention plan.

Create a Simple Customer Retention Marketing Plan

Start charting out the path a typical buyer takes to:

  1. Find your service online
  2. Make an appointment
  3. Keep the appointment and pay for services
  4.  Make the next appointment

If you’d like, you can begin by simply drawing four boxes on a sheet of paper. An arrow should lead from each box to the next.The fourth box’s arrow should loop back to the third box. At this point, you can figure out what you’re doing now and then consider ways to improve your results. Now that you have your online customer retention plan charted out, you can consider some steps towards improvement.

Are Customers Finding Your Local, By-Appointment Business on the Internet?

Where do consumers look when they need to find a nearby beauty salon or local dentist? You can bet that they pick up their laptop or cell phone to search online. Your website, social networking pages, and listing in local business directories can make sure that you have an internet presence where they are looking.

If customers find you online, they probably won’t be adverse to signing up to schedule an appointment online either. You can find very affordable scheduling software that works with traditional computers and mobile devices. This software will help you save time because you let your customers view open appointments and select their own. You can even use reminder features that will automate the process of sending out emails or text messages the day before.

Do Your Customers Come Back?

If clients have a great customer experience, they should return to you. If you aren’t keeping a lot of your customers loyal, you may be able to improve their experience with your business. Naturally, you need to make sure your online scheduling systems works for you, and you work with it!

Beyond that, you should certainly work to own the experience that customers have when they visit your clinic or salon. This is, after all, your primary business. This is also your best chance to use relationship marketing to improve customer retention.

You’re probably good at what you do. However, you might consider adding in a few extras that can help customers remember you well after their appointment has ended.

For instance:

  • Make sure that people get greeted and made comfortable promptly after they walk in the door.
  • Make sure that you understand what they hope to gain from their visit.
  • As they leave, encourage them to set their next appointment.
  • Send followup messages via email or text to ask customers for feedback about their appointment and to remind them how to schedule their next one.
  • Consider offering a promotional discount or other bonus if they book an appointment or complete your service. In the best case, this should be something they need to visit your location to take advantage of.

Your Investment in Customer Retention Can Increase Profits

It’s almost always easier and cheaper to keep a customer than to find a new one. If you can invest in customer retention, you may not need to spend as much money to recruit new customers. In fact, loyal customers are likely to tell their friends and family about your service, so you might even enjoy some free, word-of-mouth marketing. Consider setting aside some portion of your marketing budget to invest in keeping your current customers loyal.




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