Yesterday on our Twitter page, we had a few minutes’ discussions were we presented our followers with a few tips on how to encourage customers to return to their business. Keeping customers makes great business sense but it is not always easy to get customers to return to your business repeatedly and consistently. The old business adage that 20% of your customers account for 80% of your sales does ring true. So what to do when you have thrown in your line and made your catch? We give you our 5ive tips below…
1. Give them a reason to come back. The most fundamental part of encouraging return sales is making sure that your service or product is up to scratch in the first place. This extends to the experience they have when buying from your business – customer service should be flawless. Make sure staff are attentive, friendly and helpful at all times, and that they know the products and services well so they can explain them to customers (spend a day or two training them if necessary). Online, get friends to test your website to make sure it’s really easy to use, and resolve technical hitches ASAP. If customers order by phone, don’t keep them waiting, and make everything as easy as possible.
2. Build a relationship with them. Making a customer feel that you are paying them special, personal attention goes a long way to building a relationship with them. Say hello with a smile and have a chat if you meet them face-to-face, and try to remember their name. Online, send an email of thanks when they place an order – use their name rather than ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. Asking a customer for feedback tactfully can make them feel valued, but you need to be careful how you do it – a note of thanks with a one line ‘Is there anything we could have done to make your experience more enjoyable?’ is enough, as you don’t want to annoy them.
3. Incentivise them. Loyalty cards and deals that offer discounts and special offers for return custom are a great way to encourage customers back to your business. Below is what Douala based winery and restaurant Lynk did.
4. Out do the competition. Keeping ahead of the competition is also a key step. (Although bear in mind good customer service can often be important to the consumer than price differences. Hence why people are willing to pay far more for luxury brands, which essentially the same product as non-luxury brands, but really pay attention to their customers.) How you stay ahead will depend on your market, but keep your USPs and target customers in mind, always, and try to always maintain an edge.
5. Handling complaints and negative feedback. This is a crucial part of encouraging return custom, as bad customer service can be a huge black mark against any business. Customers far more often tell friends about bad experiences with businesses than good ones. If a customer complains, the first thing they should hear is: “How can we make it better?” If it’s a serious complaint, a full refund and possibly also a free product should be offered. Customers hate being passed from person to person. You either need to train staff to deal with complaints or have a system in place that directs them directly to the most senior person available in the business. Dealing with a complaint in a very positive way, quickly and efficiently, can sufficiently please a customer that they leave happier than when they came in. And it’s the kind of service people tell their friends about – which means a nice bit of word-of-mouth marketing for you.
Hope these 5 tips help you to grow your customer base and keep them returning!
Credit: Smarta | Curated: ModeMaison PR | Image: Lynk