It’s a well-known fact that it is more expensive – and more difficult – to find new customers than to retain old ones in business. Yet so much emphasis is put on discovering those new clients, that the old ones, the loyal ones, can be forgotten about. If customers don’t feel appreciated, they will move on to another company who will look after them; if that happens too often, your core customer base will disappear, and you will have to spend even more money growing it again. These tips will give you some great, practical ideas on how to keep your current customers loyal and ensure repeat business all year round.
Get Their Opinion
Sending out a survey to all your customers does more than simply give you answers to the questions you are asking. Although that is useful when it comes to marketing, and you can use the information you receive back to make the customer experience a better one, what is really important about having your customers carry out surveys is that it will show them that you value their opinion. It will prove to them that you want to listen to what they have to say – and that will make them feel happier to use you in the future.
Keep In Touch
If you want your customers to keep in touch with you by buying your goods and services, then you need to reciprocate. In fact, in many instances, you need to make the first move. Send out regular newsletters that are full of information and discount codes – but don’t send them out too often. Once a quarter should be fine. It will remind your customers about you, offer them money off deals, and show them that you are thinking of them. This will entail some work on your part, but the business it brings in will be worth it. Newsletters such as this can be sent on to friends and family too, making your company’s reach even better. If you don’t want to create a newsletter, why not introduce a loyalty scheme? Every time a customer shops with you and spends a certain amount, they can get a stamp on a card (or something similar). When they have enough points, they can get something for free. It doesn’t have to be anything big or costly; it is, in this situation, the thought that counts.
When someone feels that they are getting something for nothing, it makes them happy. That’s just how humans work. It doesn’t take much to incorporate this into your business model either. If you are solely online, then why not pop a branded pen, coaster, or other promotional products Australia into the buyer’s package? If you have a shop, you could leave some items on the counter and point your customers towards them, letting them know they can have them for nothing. They don’t even have to buy anything. Not only is this good customer service, but promotional items mean your business name and website can be seen by many more people who may have never been to your business – you might pick up some new customers this way.
Doing more for your customers than anyone else – within reason, of course – will keep your customers loyal to you rather than them going elsewhere to buy their goods. What do we mean by ‘doing more’? It’s sending a card on their birthday (or the anniversary of the first time they bought something from you). It’s greeting them by name when they come into the store. It’s seeing what they are buying and suggesting less expensive alternatives, or complimentary products. It’s offering a helping hand if they look lost or need advice on what to buy. Little things like these can really make the customer feel special and valued, and this will keep them loyal for longer. Perhaps forever.
Social media is a wonderful thing, and if you use it correctly in your business, it can give you customer loyalty easily and quickly. The key is to write engaging posts that people want to share and respond to. What’s also important is that you reply to comments that are made. Make this a two-way conversation, inject some personality into your organization, and your customers will return again and again. People like to buy from people they know, and what better way to get to know someone than by ‘speaking’ with them thought social media in an informal yet informative way?
Say Thank You
The simple phrase ‘thank you’ means a lot. Say it as often as possible, both in person and through social media and emails. Say it in you advertising. Making customers feel as though they have helped you, and that their contribution is important, will keep them loyal for a long time to come, and saying thank you – something that should be completely natural anyway – is one of the best ways to do this.
The Owner Should Lead
Having good staff is a great thing, and it will certainly help when it comes to customer retention, but having the owner be a part of the business rather than stepping back and letting others deal with customers is another great way of maintaining a good, core, loyal customer base that will not only come back to you again and again, but will tells others about their great experience with you too.
Own Your Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. It happens. Whatever the reason and whatever the outcome, a mistake in business is likely to upset a potential long term, loyal customer. It is important to own up to your mistakes, admit when you are wrong, and apologize. It’s also important to try to fix that mistake if at all possible. It may not bring the customer back to you, but at least it won’t leave them with a poor opinion of you either. Of course, in the best cases, that customer who was upset will be won over and will return to become a loyal customer.