It’s a fact: Your small business won’t survive without repeat customers. The key to a thriving business—big or small—is a steady and a loyal customer base. Did you know that selling your product or service to existing customers is easier and cost-effective? In fact, if your sales strategy is solid enough, your customers will not only buy from you more frequently but also recommend your brand to others.
Yes, it is important to keep on expanding your customer base; however at the same time, it is essential to the core to have good relations with customers who have used your product or services before. Whether it is an immediate follow-up with the customer after a sale or a simple e-mail thanking him or her, there are numerous ways to build strong customer loyalty.
1. Provide Excellent Customer Service
Your customer has taken the pains of selecting and buying the product from you. Don’t let him or her regret that decision. Allow the customer to revel in happiness post sales. How can you ensure this? By going the extra mile and providing after-sales service.
Lend your ears to their complaints and grievances. By doing this, the customers give your business an opportunity to rectify the problems and improve your service. So be accessible, open and cordial. Customers always like to be treated well.
2. Provide Incentives & Treats
The best way to ensure your customers come back to you is by offering them incentives. Options such as “Buy two, get one free”, “shopper points”, “small discounts” and “complementary gift cards” often create maximum hype amongst the customers. Who wouldn’t mind a surprise discount or a gift card? No one!
In order to make this strategy a success, all you have to do is bring your marketing efforts in sync with your target audience. You can make use of this incentive program effectively to boost your small business during a slow season or to promote a new product or service.
3. Promote Product Awareness
In this time and age, all businesses shouldn’t leave any stone unturned to promote their new product or service. This is an extremely crucial step in the supremely aggressive market. Start a digital campaign—opt for an appropriate social media channel and revamp your e-mail marketing strategy. Your customer base will take time off and listen to what you have got to say. But you need to have an impactful scheme to begin with.
From an employee’s point of view, make sure your staff is trained and understands the product or service. They need to be convinced with what their company is selling in the market. If they are clueless or don’t have clarity, the employees will not be able to convey the same to the customers. They should have knowledge about the history of the company, the on-going discounts and post-sales services available.
Your traditional form of selling should be bang on!
4. Be Flexible with Customer Policies
Every customer is unique—and has a unique set of preferences, expectations and complaints. Your small business should be able to deal with each customer accordingly. No matter what the circumstance is, do everything in your power to resolve that complaint. Don’t assume the gravity of the situation; instead make proper efforts to view things from the customer’s perspective.
If you show that you really care and want to make the customer happy—your chances of retaining him or her automatically go up. Avoid saying phrases such as “That’s our policy”, “Sorry but that’s what it is” and “We can’t help you on this”. It would just piss off the customer badly.
5. Remember The Special Occasions
Make it a practice to send birthday and anniversary cards (hard copy or online), personalized newsletters and fancy yet inexpensive holiday cards to your existing customer base! Don’t spend a fortune on demonstrating the fact you care as a small business.
But the truth is the little things do matter to people—no matter how digitized the whole world has become. It’s the personal touch that makes an impact on the customers. So don’t be afraid to use dollops of creativity to come up with exciting gifting options. Don’t take it as a task that you ‘have’ to do. Think of it as a customer base-bonding activity that will fetch you greater revenues (and support) in the future.
6. Make your payment modes reliable
More often than not, customers don’t complete their purchases. The reason being they didn’t feel the payment modes were reliable enough, or thought they didn’t match those offered by bigger industries.
But the challenge is, that many small businesses are misled or misinformed by the payment processing companies. The reason being their lack of knowledge and not being able to understand their processing statements. This only results in business losses and reduced customer loyalty. Look for an honest payments and POS processing company, and ask them to guide you through the process instead of taking a chance.
Remember: A customer is the king of the market. Whether your business is thriving or has just started, you have to walk the extra mile to make sure your customers are genuinely satisfied with your brand. Whether it is a service you offer or a product you put up on sale—make sure the whole shopping experience is so empowering—that the customers keep coming back to you!