We all know the adage: It costs far more to get a new customer than to keep one you already have. And in today's economic climate, customer retention has become a precious commodity in its own right. So, how do you keep 'em coming back?

In a recent guest post at the Return Customer blog, Joseph Eitan offers a few timely tips to ensure customers stay happy and loyal. Among them:

Respond to emails within 15 minutes. "In the viral world, it is very hard to cause a customer to say 'Wow!', but it's not impossible," Eitan notes. His advice: "[M]ake it a business policy to respond [to emails] as soon as possible." Your best bet: respond while the customer is still at your site. Score!

Create a variety of 'new' offers. Some folks love a price drop, some value free delivery. Diversify your offers "to keep your products as appealing to [a wide range of customers] as the first time they bought from you," he advises.

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