Story by Hannah Clark
Most business owners spend their time – and marketing budgets – trying to bring in new business. But as gratifying as it is to see new interest in your business, returning customers spend roughly 67 percent more than first-time buyers. It’s also 10 times more expensive to try and attract new customers through ads, events and promotions than it is to cater to your current customer base – but how do you keep previous buyers coming back for more?
Get to know them and let them know you
Take time to get to know your customers by asking them questions beyond the basic, “Is there anything I can help you find today?” Learn their names, where they’re from and what problems they’re trying to solve with your product or service. This will allow you to recommend the best solutions for their needs, positioning you as their new go-to source for honest advice on the subject.
Prioritize customer service
Nothing leaves a worse impression than leaving customers on hold for hours or replying to their emails with a canned response. Train your staff to be responsive, empathetic and attentive to customers’ needs. Address inquiries and complaints promptly, and go the extra mile to exceed expectations. A positive experience will leave a lasting impression and encourage customers to return.
Build a community
There’s a reason why clothing labels are such a big deal. It’s never just a shirt or a dress, it’s also a sense of status, community, and identity. So while people might not wear a T-shirt with the name of their favorite plumbing company or candle brand on it, you can still create a sense of community between your customers in other ways. Engage with customers on social media and create forums or online groups where they can interact with each other, and share their experiences. By fostering a community, customers feel more connected to your brand, making it more likely for them to stay loyal.
Implementing a rewards program is a tried-and-true way to incentivize repeat purchases. Offer discounts, exclusive access to new products or points-based systems that allow customers to earn rewards with each purchase. Regularly acknowledge their loyalty to your brand; they will be more likely to choose you over your competitors.
Doing the bare minimum for your customers isn’t a great way to earn their loyalty, but going above and beyond for them once, then never again? That will seem like a bait and switch. Ensure that your products, services and customer experience remain consistent across all touch points, whether it’s in-store, online or via customer support. A consistent brand experience reinforces customer confidence in your business.