For small business owners, returning customers are the lifeblood of the business and essential to survival. Business leaders need to understand how to build a base of customers who return to do business with you time and again. Here are several strategies and ideas to consider:
Repeat Customers Cost Less Than New Ones
Studies show that it is less expensive to bring an existing customer back than to attract a new one. It makes sense, considering the expense of advertising, marketing, media, and other tools necessary to lure new customers. Also, getting a new customer's attention can often be a matter of timing. Work hard to retain your existing customer base.
Being consistent builds repeat customers. On the surface, a solid base of repeat customers might seem to be just a matter of providing an excellent service or great products. This is true to an extent, but repeat customers also return because their experience with you has been consistently solid.
Hire The Right People
All of your employees – even those not directly involved in sales – are in fact 'sales people' for your business. Their attitude and the way in which they interact with customers speaks volumes about your business and can be a major factor in determining whether customers come back and give you further business.
Individuals who are positive, friendly, and who care about doing a great job are essential. Anyone who is going to interact with customers – from the receptionist through to the collections department – has to understand the importance of creating a positive interaction with the customer.
Know Your Customers Well
It's hard to build repeat business if you don't know what your customers value. One way to do that effectively is through customer relationship management (CRM) software. Even a small, home-based business can take advantage of CRM to gain valuable customer insights.
Keep It Personal
By definition, a repeat customer is someone you get to know. Nurture that by keeping your relationship as personal as possible. For instance, get to know your customers by name. Connecting on a personal level with customers is one of the best competitive advantages there is. Everyone loves it when they go into a coffee shop and the server remembers their name and their favourite beverage.
Stay In Contact
Encourage repeat business by staying in touch with your customers through a blog, newsletter, or some other vehicle that affords on-going communication.