Customers play a very crucial role in the existence of every business organization. All businesses need customers to survive. However, getting new customers can be time-consuming and expensive. Thus, it is essential that you develop a plan to retain and keep your existing customers.
While each customer is valuable, retaining existing customers plays a much more crucial role for small businesses. It costs less to keep existing customers than attract new ones. They also tend to be more loyal, less swayed by price and more likely to stick with you rather than switch to your competitors. Repeat customers lead to profit maximization and success in business.
Getting repeat customers is not easy, and getting tougher all the time. Here are strategies to help you retain your customers and get more repeat customers:
1. Offer solutions
While this may be tough to accept for a business owner, the truth is that customers don’t really care about your product. What customers care about is what and how can your product benefit them. How will it improve their lives? Will it give them more time to pursue the things they love? Will your products make them stronger and healthier, richer or sexier? If you want repeat customers, first and foremost, you need to offer solutions to the problems or concerns faced by your target market.
2. Start by producing high-quality product or service, and to produce that consistently
Your success depends on how well you are able to meet, or better yet, exceed the expectations of the customers. The first step is to deliver high-quality products in order to ensure customer satisfaction and build loyalty.
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3. Make their first visit a success.
If customers like their first experience with your business, they are a strong likelihood that they will return. When customers first come to your business, they need to “fall in love” with it. Don’t be rude to them. Treat the customers right and make them feel how much you value their patronage.
4. Get to know your clients and what they want.
Collect information and know what your clients want through interviews, surveys or informal chit chats. By knowing what your customers want and need, you can think of ways you can continually provide value on an ongoing basis. Better yet, know what your customers want before they do. Read the article “What Do Your Clients Need?“
5. Get feedback.
Listen to customers, ask for feedback and then act on it. Customer feedback helps you understand how your customer views your business. It is an important tool to give you their perspective on their experience, whether good or bad when dealing with your business. Their opinions can then help you make improvements that will then lead to increased loyalty from customers.
6. Thank your customers.
People love to be appreciated; there’s no better way to communicate your appreciation to customers than by saying “thank you.” You can say thank you by sending an email, or by sending a thank you gift. The gifts don’t have to be expensive, but they should preferably be gifts with no strings attached and not connected to a self-serving promotion. Stephen Covey calls this “emotional bank account.” Not only are you able to set yourself apart from your competitors, but people are more likely to remember you and set the stage for repeat business.
>> RELATED: 12 Ways to Thank Your Customers
7. Competitively price your products and services.
If your prices are higher than your competitors, be sure that customers understand the additional or unique value that they can get from your business.
8. Learn the value of segmentation.
Understand that customers do not respond similarly to the same offers. They have unique behaviors, needs, and preferences – so it is important to learn to group your customers into segments based on their commonalities including how they respond to your offers and products typically purchased. You can then tailor-made offers specific to customers in each segment, which will build a loyal relationship by developing products and services they want.
9. Connect with your customers.
Introduce yourself to give a human face to your business. Let them know that you are in charge and they can reach out to you if they have any issues. Customers are more likely to come back if they build a relationship with the business owner. Make it easy for them to talk to you or get back to you.
10. Get them to sign up to your newsletter.
You can then do relevant follow-up and engage them further with creative email marketing through newsletters. Newsletters help you keep in touch with your customers, which in turn helps your business be on top of your customers’ minds. The aim of your newsletter should be to help customers understand what your business is all about and the value of your products or services. Be sure to keep the quality of your newsletters high, filling it with useful tips and ideas that add value to your business. Your newsletter should help customers realize how your products can make their lives easier; only then can you win their repeat business.
11. Remember that little things matter.
Customers are more likely to return when they have favorable experiences with the business. Oftentimes, it is the little things that make their visit a top-notch memorable experience. Some of the little things that you can do are to remember names, acknowledging customers with a smile and eye contact, and anticipating customer needs and likes.
12. Settle disputes quickly and strive for a satisfactory issue resolution
How your business handles complaints can be integral to winning the customers’ repeat business. If a customer has an issue and it does not get it resolved, he or she will likely never come back and may even spread the word about their negative experience in social media and in review sites such as Yelp. Dealing with angry customers can be a delicate procedure. The key is to douse the customers’ anger, listen to their complaints, and show them that your goal is to help them. If customers see that you respect and work towards resolving their issues earnestly, you can transform that initial rage into admiration for your business, which in turn can help them become repeat customers.
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