Next to “chargeback”, “churn” should be one of your least favorite words. For the uninitiated, churn rate is the percentage of customers who walk away from you over a set period of time. In a perfect world, that number would be zero. In the real world, it never is. Still, reducing your customer churn rate to the bare minimum is a desirable goalThese ideas will help get you there.

Listen to Your Customers

When customers identify an issue, resolve it right away. Don’t offer platitudes or excuses—deliver results and make sure they’re aware you’ve done so. Often though, customers will encounter something they don’t like and say nothing. They’ll either work around it or seek to fulfill their need somewhere else. This is where timely customer satisfaction surveys come into play. With them, you give your customer base an opportunity to tell you how they feel about what you’re doing. When you get the results, pay attention the areas in need of improvement, shore up your weaknesses and again, make sure your customers know you’ve done so. When customers leave, ask why so you can fix the problem and bring them back—as well as make sure others don’t follow suit.

Deliver Value

Value is about far more than just price. Yes, money does figure into it, but the way they’re treated is just as important for many people. Your every effort should be predicated upon helping customers get the maximum benefit from doing business with you. Let’s say you’re considering how to start a furniture store. Think beyond merely providing furniture at a good price. Shoppers can find that anywhere. You have to go two or three steps beyond. Anticipate your customer’s needs and fulfill them before they even realize they have them. Offer decorating tips, ship free, provide instructional videos if your furniture requires assembly. Do everything possible to make it hugely difficult for those who would try to steal customers from you.

Evolve With The Times

At its peak, Blockbuster Video had some 9,000 stores bringing in upwards of $6 billion in annual revenue. Netflix came along, disrupted the model and relegated Blockbuster to a few lonely outposts in places where slow WiFi made streaming video an unattractive option. Whatever your business, you can bet there’s somebody out there right now eyeing your pie chart and looking for a way to cut themselves a slice. Pay attention to paradigm shifts so you can position yourself to capitalize upon them the moment they appear. Getting back to our furniture example, the next big things in applicable tech are augmented and virtual reality. Adapting them to help customers visualize furniture in their homes will be a huge selling point for online merchants who get there first.

Maximize Your Competitive Advantage

Your customers are your customers because you’re doing something they believe nobody else can. This is your competitive advantage. You should be well aware of whatever it is, as this is the foundation upon which your business is built. You should also have a solid understanding of who your ideal customers are. These two pieces of information will give you the ability to successfully go after lookalike customers. However, keep in mind what you did to get your ideal customers in the first place is what you’ll need to keep on doing—and improve upon—to keep them in the fold.

Be Fair

Google got a lot of miles out of this motto. It’s good advice for your ecommerce business too. Naturally, you should avoid making stupid mistakes. But stupid mistakes will sometimes make you. When they do, acknowledge them right away. Apologize when you’re at fault. Put something in place to keep them from happening again and move on.

By and large, reducing your customer churn rate is simply a matter of doing unto others as you would have done unto you. Treat each transaction as another opportunity to earn your customer’s business. Consider each customer an asset. Do these things consistently—while keeping a proactive eye on changes in the marketplace—you’ll find yourself in good shape.