No business can survive without repeat customers, but it’s not always easy to keep customers coming back. Even if you do everything right and provide quality service, there are bound to be times when some of your customers will want to take their business elsewhere—even if they really enjoy doing business with you! To keep customers coming back, here are 10 tips that you can use today.
1) Ask questions
What can we do for you? How are we doing? What can we improve on? Is there anything else you’d like us to offer/do? These questions not only let your customers know that they are an important part of your business, but they will also provide valuable information about their needs and wants. This is one of the key things that keep customers coming back.
If you don’t already, always ask your customers if there is anything more you can do for them. You might be surprised at what they come up with! And, as a bonus tip: write down everything they say! You never know when it might come in handy later.
2) Write down what you want
Write down what you want your business to achieve. For example, Provide high-quality dry cleaning services. It should be clear and actionable: Provide solutions for customers’ needs. Keep it focused on one aspect of your business; don’t try to cover everything all at once.
Use positive language that focuses on what you can do for customers rather than how they can help you. Avoid negative words like don’t or can’t. Instead, use words like will or are able to. Avoid jargon that only makes sense to a few people (like acronyms). If possible, have someone else read over your plan and ask them if they understand it.
3) Put it all together
Go back and review what you wrote. Does it read like a cohesive piece? Is it well-structured, and does each section have a clear beginning, middle, and end? Are all of your ideas supported by specific examples that drive home your main points? Can someone read your work and learn something about marketing with no prior knowledge of what you’re talking about? If not, revise.
4) Go through the process with them
If a customer calls or emails with a question, walk them through your process. This sounds so simple and obvious but it’s not always easy. If you need more time, tell them. Never make up an excuse, and don’t rush your customers off when they ask questions; take time to explain what you do, how you do it, why you do it that way, and how they fit into that process. The more transparent you are about your business, and how they fit into it, the better chance you have of retaining them as a customer.
5) Call back on those who didn’t buy
Even if you don’t have any wiggle room for your prices, you can still make up for some lost sales by following up with customers who didn’t end up buying. Before you do that, ask yourself why they walked away from a purchase: Was it your pricing? Your service? Or something else entirely? Contacting people who passed on a deal is a good opportunity to address concerns and push them back into making a decision.
6) Offer aftercare support
If a customer has just bought from you, reach out and see how they’re getting on with their purchase. This will help make them feel at ease and more inclined to recommend your company or service. Social media is great for connecting with people who have purchased from you, as it allows you to keep them updated about what you’re up to. People like feeling part of something, so take advantage of that if you can!
7) Follow up regularly
Call or email each customer within a week of their purchase. Thank them for their business and offer any additional services you might provide. Follow up with a handwritten note three weeks after purchase, reminding them that you’re always happy to help with anything they need and thanking them again for their business. Send out birthday cards and holiday cards every year to your customers, as well as special offers when appropriate.
If you have an online store, send out automated emails on birthdays, holidays and other important dates. These are just some ways to make sure your customers remember you when it comes time for their next purchase.
8) Review everything, every month
Reviews are a critical part of getting new customers and retaining existing ones. If you’re not getting positive reviews, you should be working on obtaining more positive reviews from happy customers. A great way to do that is by periodically reviewing your business with an outsider’s eye. Have someone who doesn’t work for your company review it on a regular basis (at least once per month). Have that person make notes about any areas where improvements could be made, then have them implement those changes.
9) Be social with everyone you meet and talk to
The small-business owner is always looking for ways to build a brand and engage customers, right? The next time you go out of town or run into someone you know at an event, remember that every person you meet could be a potential new customer.
Even if your first interactions don’t end up giving you any business opportunities directly, it’s still worth making an effort when meeting new people. You never know where your next customer will come from.
10) Make everyone part of your team
When a customer comes into your business and has an issue, it is your responsibility to make sure they are pleased with their experience. Sometimes you might not be able to solve their problem right away, but you can always apologize for any inconvenience and ask them if there is anything else you can do for them. This way they won’t feel like they are just another customer that you don’t care about and they will definitely come back because of it.
And, more than likely, bring others with them. People love feeling important and knowing that they have made a difference in someone’s life. If you show your customers how much you appreciate them, they will remember that when it comes time to choose where to spend their money next time around.