Oftentimes, businesses and business owners put a lot of efforts into getting new customers. However, the truth remains that the success of a business depends largely on repeat customers.
Customers who return and keep doing business with you are like the backbone of your business. They form the support base that makes growth and expansion possible. Moreover, it is cheaper to retain the loyalty of existing customers than to win new customers.
These customers are the ones who would readily tell others about you. At some point, they turn into brand ambassadors for your business. They become your external eyes, make it a duty to give you valuable information to help you improve, and will stand by you when you’re experiencing some shifts.
Every business owner’s dream should be to increase the number of loyal customers, and in this article, we will be looking at some ways to achieve that.
1. Keep in touch
Don’t only pursue sales from customers, seek to build relationships. The end of a transaction doesn’t have to be the end of communication or contact with a customer.
Explore different avenues to stay in touch with them. This can include email newsletters, text, calls, connecting with them on social media, etc.
And when you notice a customer has not patronised your business as often as they used to, you can check up on them to know how they are doing, or offer them an incentive for their next order.
While doing this, it is also important to not constitute a nuisance and become intrusive.
2. Exceed Their Expectations
Customer satisfaction is great and remains key in winning customers’ loyalty. However, today’s customers not only want their expectations met or satisfied, but they also want them exceeded. Many businesses are striving to satisfy these same customers, and win their loyalty. So, it is important to add some element of surprise and leave them feeling delighted and excited.
When a customer is excited about what they got from you, they will most likely tell someone about that experience out of the sheer excitement.
Improve your customer service practices, train your staff to value customers highly, and ensure that customers get the same exciting treatment from whichever employee they encounter.
3. Shorten your customer journey
Make it easier for customers to do business with you. Cut down the lengthy processes they have to go through before getting to the point of actual purchase.
Apart from the fact that a lengthy sales cycle will require more resources from you, it also leaves a lot of chances for the customer to back down.
For the ones who go through to the final stage, your product/service would have to be exceptional to make them want to go through the rigour again.
4. Personalise your services/offerings
Loyal customers want to believe they matter to you, you care about them, and you take note of their individual needs.
One way to demonstrate this is to keep track of customer’s data when they come to you. Recognising a customer, remembering their previous orders or preferences, and making initial offers to them based on that information can increase their likelihood of returning to you again.
Sometimes, the thought of having to explain themselves to another service provider can make a customer decide to use a previous business again. Some customers like to pick up the phone and have the confidence that you know what they already like.
5. Appreciate your customers
Be expressive of your gratitude to customers. However awesome you think your offers are, there are still other businesses out there that they could have taken their money to, but they chose you.
Something as simple as thanking them sincerely for doing business with you can go a long way. You can do this in different ways, including sending a ‘thank you’ note, giving them a shoutout on social media (where it is okay to do that), surprising them with gifts and incentives when they return, giving them a special discount when they refer you to someone else, etc.
6. Listen to your customers
Every business exists not for itself, but to serve customers. The best way to serve someone is to know what they want and how they like it.
Before now, it was okay for businesses to operate by the Golden Rule, which in this case means treating the customer as you would like to be treated.
But that is no longer the rule now. What works now is to treat customers, not as you would like to be treated, but as they want to be treated.
Listening to customers, seeking their input, giving room for their feedback, sending them surveys, etc., would go a long way in telling customers that they matter to you. It would also help you improve your business so you can serve them better.
Social media and the internet in general, have made it very easy to get an opinion from your customers. Ask them what they like and make it available.
7. Give them a reason to come back
Discounts and special offers are still very powerful marketing strategies. You can use them to give customers a reason to come back again.
Offering a customer a discount on their next purchase could work. If the product/service was great and they need it again anyway, they’ll likely want to save some change and use the discount deal you offered them, instead of going to a different place.
Would you like to design an excellent customer experience for your business or train your staff on the best customer service practices? Reach out to us, and we’ll be glad to help.