Wondering how to get repeat business? The key to success is getting customers to come back and buy from you again. Here are four areas you should address to build customer loyalty.
No matter the size of your business, you rely on repeat customers to survive. What if Apple only sold one iPhone to each of its customers? What if airlines only bought planes from Boeing once? No business can survive if most of its customers are new.
Before we go any further, do you measure it? If you don’t know the percentage of new customers vs. repeat customers, you’re likely not solving the problem.
Fortunately, it won’t cost a lot of money. If you are primarily an online business, you can already do this by getting your customers to set up a profile. You can’t ship an item without their address, so you already have the data you need to gather statistics.
If you are a physical business, you need to think more. How about a customer loyalty program? You can set up accounts or use mobile capabilities to allow users to check in to your store from their smartphones.
How about building or using an email list? Offer a coupon that says something like “exclusive to our regular customers?” When a person uses this coupon, you know they are a repeat customer. Finally, taking the time to get to know your customers will lead to repeat business. A key question that helps measure this is simply asking them if they have shopped at your store in the past. Welcome them back if they say yes.
These are just a few ways to compare repeat business to new business. However you do it, remember that this is one of the most important statistics you will collect for your business. If any data collection is worth your time and money, it’s at the top of the list.
Maybe you’ve already been collecting data and know you have a customer retention problem? Here are some ways to keep customers coming back.
It starts with experience
There is nothing more important than the customer experience. If they don’t come back, chances are they didn’t have a good experience. Here’s what to check:
Employees– Your personal staff who interact with customers must be good with people. If they are cranky, can’t hold a conversation, don’t smile, or just don’t have that vibe that attracts people to them in a positive way, they need to be in the public eye.
On the other hand, they shouldn’t be so friendly that your customers feel awkward. Your staff must instinctively understand the balance between making customers feel welcome while giving them space.
Pricing– If they go to the big box store down the road, they’ll find the price printed on a sticker stuck to the shelf. It may be lower than yours, but it is not negotiable.
As a small business, you can negotiate package deals, fluctuate on price, and add services or other extras that make the customer feel like they’ve been heard and left with a better value. Don’t turn your store into a stereotypical used car yard with a sloppy salesman, but listen and respond to customers’ concerns about price. Remind them that your company has staff available to help them answer their questions.
Professionalism– Is your store clean, shelves stocked, signs professionally designed and printed, employees clean and professional? Here you are taking a cue from the larger stores. People feel more comfortable dealing with companies that have a corporate feel. If you lack attention to detail, find someone who can take on the task.
Along with this, how can you make your customer easier and faster? Aim to keep this number as low as possible by having an atmosphere where they can spend as much time as possible they are choose with you or your sales staff before you buy.
Privacy is a hot topic, but you can collect customer information without intruding into their lives. It would be awkward to collect all of their contact information when they buy a $5 item, but for bigger ticket items, having a record of what they purchased for warranty purposes or to provide future support is a great reason to collect their information.
Then ask their permission add them to your email list or receive notifications via text messages. Let them know that they won’t be bombarded with emails on a daily basis and that you’ll only contact them when there’s a coupon, sale, or other important event. Show them you value their time, privacy, and inbox.
Write personal notes
Email and mail programs are good, but how often you reply to non-personal correspondence? The appeal of a small business is that it’s personal – much harder for larger companies to emulate. Got an event or sale coming up? Write a personal handwritten note. If it’s an email, include something in it that confirms it was written by him personally. (Keep the recipient’s child’s name in your database and ask how they are doing, for example in an email)
Be personal and relatable. People want to do business with businesses that make them feel valued.
Go through the top
Sound like something out of a seminar? You’ve heard this popular phrase more times than you can count, but do you actually do it? If you really sifting through in the way you treat your customers, they will come back.
Too much is not necessarily convenient and you may not get much profit from the sale. This may require you to spend a lot of seemingly wasted time solving a customer problem, and you may have to attend a large customer charity event, even though that’s the last thing you want to do.
Businesses that treat their customers like family thrive. Successful business owners center everything around their customers because they know that when they do, profits, repeat business and success are a byproduct of that mindset.