Building Business Relationships is a Must for Client Retention: Increased Client Retention Practices for Web Based Small Businesses from Denise Graziano and SCORE

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Online businesses, regardless of size, must take steps to increase and improve client retention as much as brick and mortar businesses for long term business success.

Denise Graziano, President of Graziano Associates, LLC

Denise Graziano, President of Graziano Associates, LLC

Building business relationships is a must for client retention.

"Building business relationships is a must for client retention," says client retention expert Denise Graziano of Graziano Associates. Online businesses live in an environment that does not encourage customer relationships, or build loyalty as easily as a brick and mortar store can. However, it can be done. Look to the online success stories to model what they have done. (Amazon and L.L. Bean created a fan base one satisfied customer at a time). Technology gives web based small businesses advantages that can level the playing field with their larger competitors. Giving sufficient attention to customer profiles and delivering what they need is an equally important component for continued online sales success. In the article Increased Client Retention Practices for Web Based Small Businesses for the SCORE Success Blog, Graziano offers ecommerce best practices.

Price shopping concerns many ecommerce businesses. But in the end, consumers buy with common emotions, the largest of which is feeling understood. As consumers, when we feel understood, we feel more comfortable and ready to buy. If a vendor consistently shows this value and interest in helping solve a problem, then a business relationship grows.

Online businesses are no different. They must create an environment where, in addition to competitive pricing, they show their prospects they have the answer to their frustrations, fears or concerns. With web businesses that can range from product quality, product reviews, on-time delivery, to great customer service. When any business consistently provides value, is reliable, and solves problems for their customers and creates an easy shopping experience, that encourages brand loyalty.

The intangible aspect of online businesses can actually be a benefit when it comes to providing information valued by their clients. Member-only access to special events and information, product reviews, interviews, trends, previews, gift ideas are all valuable to a consumer. Consistent on time delivery and product quality builds trust. Convenience is a factor (return policy, free shipping, etc). Accessible customer service is also a huge plus for any web based business. (Amazon’s customer service options and tools are a valuable part of that shopping experience).

Web Business Customer Retention Best Practices:

1. Know your customers. Who are they? (specific demographics), Where do they work, live, shop? What are their concerns and how can your product, location, policies, distribution help them?
2. Let them know how you can help them and how you are different than your competitors.
3. Reward repeat purchases and customer loyalty (with bonuses, discounts, triggered coupons).
4. Year end (or periodic) customer appreciation. Realize your customers have a choice and show them that you value their business in a more celebrated way. (advanced notice, special offers, free shipping)
5. Make mobile sites fluid and easy to use. According the 2013 Google Holiday Intentions Shopping survey, one in three 18-34 year olds plan to make a holiday purchase from their smartphone.

Improved sales and client retention are certainly possible for web based businesses when they invest in two main components:

  • technology that levels the playing field with competitors and creates a preferred buying experience; and
  • in-depth customer profiles that can help them align their sales and marketing messaging for maximum results.

Together these can increase client retention and help build long lasting business relationships.

SCORE, the nation’s leading small business resource for 50 years, offers free and confidential one-on-one mentoring, a full schedule of high quality content, and workshops to help new and seasoned businesses launch, advance and grow. Their content for November focuses on eCommerce/Retail Sales and their focus for December will be Business Plans/Start-up Strategies. Get more information at

A strategic thinker and leader with over 26 years of business experience, Denise Graziano is President of Graziano Associates and author of the forthcoming book Once A Client, Always a Client™, and creator of Client Relationship Mastery™, the formula designed to help sales professionals improve client retention.

To have Denise Graziano speak to your corporation or sales team, contact her at 203-254-0195. Please visit

Graziano Associates is a marketing and promotions firm which helps clients to get the best results from their marketing, branding, client relationships, employee rewards, sales promotion, and trade show performance. Their proprietary trade show analysis helps trade show exhibitors increase leads and sales when they exhibit. Founded in 1992, Graziano Associates is based in Fairfield, CT.

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