Question: How can our business encourage customers to return?
Once you’ve sold ’em, then forget ’em? Many businesses do a great job of recruiting new customers , and then dropping them like a hot potato.
Sometimes, much of the attention is on getting new customers rather than developing business from existing ones. Too much marketing efforts concentrate on “getting” customers instead of “keeping” them.
If your business is serious about customer service, a primary goal must be to encourage existing customers to come back repeatedly. Cultivating current customers is one of the best ways to increase sales in the long term.
Building a bond with customers should top the list of any company that wants to succeed.
So, how can you keep customers coming back? Here are a few ways to create an atmosphere what welcomes customers back again and again.
– Say “thank you” on a regular basis.
Those two little words are so important. Handwritten thank-you notes are so rare these days that some businesses even frame them. After a sale is made, a thank-you note shows that you care about developing a solid business relationship.
– Become a source of information.
Very few companies these days do a good job of customer education. Of course, it takes time to stay on top of current industry trends or recent product developments. But, if your customers perceive you as an encyclopedia of knowledge, they’ll return with a listening ear to your recommendations , and sales pitches.
– Let your customers know why they are smart to do business with you.
Customers should be reminded of the good decision they made in choosing you. However, sometimes you need to prompt their memory with an assortment of communication tools, such as: a copy of a favorable newspaper article on your firm; or, a newsletter that touts success stories or recent awards. Also, a newsletter can tell current and potential customers about your products and services (believe it or not, many customers may not be aware of all the things you can do for them).
– Generate new business for your customers.
Nothing demonstrates your sincere interest in your customer than helping him grow his business. You can endear your customer’s heart forever by using your influence to recommend new customers for your customer’s firm.
Written by Sheryl Charleston, the president and chief executive officer of the San Diego Better Business Bureau.