It's a great day when your business lands a new customer, and it's an even greater day when they stick around for more of what you have to offer. As a business owner, it's your job then to boomerang your customers, or as our headline suggests, find ways to retain them, so they return to you again, and again, and wait for it… again!
Businesses can thrive from repeat customers, and looking for ways to keep them on your side is often cheaper than expensive marketing strategies to find new customers. It's not easy; there is always the pesky competition to worry about, doing their bit to steal your customers from you, but it is possible.
In this article, we have some ideas you may find useful. By adhering to our suggestions, you should have little trouble keeping your customers on your side.
#1: Excel in business
If your business is the best that it can possibly be (a lofty goal to attain, we know), then why should your customers go anywhere else? To excel in business, consider the following examples.
- Beat the competition. Your product or service should be better than that offered by your nearest business rivals. It's your job to research the competition and to take steps to outdo whatever they have to offer potential customers.
- Make your business secure. There has been much in the media about cyber hacks and data breaches, and your customers need to know that they are safe doing custom with you. By strengthening the cyber-security in your company, you are giving your customers peace of mind. Can they get that with your nearest rivals?
- Do what you say you are going to do. If you offer next-day delivery, make sure you offer it. If you have a price-guarantee on your product, don't try to wriggle out of it when your customers let you know they have noticed cheaper offers elsewhere. Break your promises, and your customers will lose trust in your business. Stick to them, and your customers will have reason to trust and stay with your business.
In all areas of your business, be excellent. It takes time and effort, we know, but consider every aspect of your business, and ask yourself, 'how can I make this better?'
#2: Optimize your customer's experience
If a customer has a negative experience with you, they are unlikely to return. Thinking about your customer's journey then, ensure they have an excellent first impression and continue to care for their needs throughout all further interactions. This includes the following.
- Offer excellent customer service at the first point of contact. With a friendly attitude and an honest sales pitch, any potential customer might just make their first purchase with you when they gain a positive feeling about your business.
- Personalize your approach to the customer. When you gain an understanding of the customer's purchase history, you might get in touch with them to cross-sell another product you think would be of interest to them. If it's a natural fit, they should thank you for taking the time to consider their needs, and possibly return to your business.
- Reward your customer. We will be going into more detail on this shortly, but when your customer shows loyalty to your business, do something to show your appreciation. This will increase their loyalty and keep them coming back to you.
By focussing on the customer's journey with your business, from that first sale to any continued communications with them, you will retain your customer if you create a positive experience, and you might also find new ways to market to them. This is often referred to as behavioral segmentation, and while we will be touching on some of the facets to this in this article, here's a good guide for beginners to give you a deeper insight.
#3: Offer excellent customer service
We alluded to this above, but it's worth going into a little more detail. You see, if you don't offer excellent customer service, your customers are less likely to stay with you. Think about it: Would you stay with a company who didn't treat you well? We are assuming your answer is NO!! Here are some of the ways your business can offer excellent customer service.
- Focus on communication. When a customer calls you or speaks to you face-to-face, be friendly and talk to them with respect. If they have a complaint, work with them to understand the problem instead of brushing them off with a terse response. And should they have any questions about your product or service, answer them honestly, giving the customer your time and attention to make them feel valued.
- Don't ignore emails or phone calls. When a customer tries to get in touch with you, answer them as soon as possible. This isn't always easy, we know, especially when you are busy, but delegate emails and calls to your staff, or outsource your phone calls to a virtual receptionist. As you will understand from your personal experience, waiting for a response or being put on hold can be incredibly frustrating when you're trying to get through to somebody, so don't let your customers get away by giving them a delayed response.
- Monitor your staff. Check up on them occasionally to monitor the way they relate to your customers. And offer training in customer service, be that in-house or by bringing in an external training provider to instruct your team. The better your team are, the stronger your business will be, and the more valued your customers will feel.
Excellent customer service is the lynchpin of any business. Without it, your business will fall down, as your customers will a) leave your business in the dust, and b) spread the word about your terrible customer service online, through social media and review sites such as Yelp. In all of your communications with the people you do business with, use the golden rule of customer service: Treat others as you would want to be treated!
#4: Reward your customer's loyalty
Don't treat your customers like a commodity. Yes, they are there to help you make a profit, but they need to feel valued. By rewarding their loyalty, you will show them that value, and they should return their positive feelings to you by continuing to use your business. As examples, consider the following.
- Reward your customers occasionally. Send them a free gift through the post, or email them with special offers tailored to their purchase history. Give them customer discounts, and offer a referral scheme, rewarding them for attracting new customers to your business.
- Thank them for their custom. After a sale has been completed, send your customers a handwritten thank-you note to show your appreciation. You could do this via email, but as you will possibly know from personal experience, there is something special about receiving something in the mail. That letter hidden within the pile of bills within their mailbox might just make their day!
- Invite your customers to a special event. You might hold a promotional event at your store, for example, or an anniversary party at your business premises. Use this opportunity to get to know your customers better, and to show the human side of your company. Relationships will be built upon, and hopefully, you will continue to secure their custom.
We all like to feel special, and this includes your customers. Treat them well, and they will treat your business well with their continued spending power.
By attracting and retaining people to your business, your company will prosper. It might take you a lot of time and effort, but because your business will profit, the hard work you put in will be worth it. Let us know what you think, and should you be a successful business owner, tell us what you did to boomerang customers to your business. Good luck, and thanks for reading!