Want more business? Of course you do. Yet wanting more business from the same customers and actually getting repeat business from your customers isn’t always as easy it may seem. So just what can you do?
To start, consider why an existing customer would actually want to spend money with you and your business again. Is it because you offer them a service or a product they can’t find anywhere else? Or possibly you deliver customer care they don’t get anywhere else? Possibly, however, you don’t know what it is that gets customers coming back or for that matter, you think you know yet they still aren’t returning. Whatever your reason is as to why you believe customers would want to spend money with you and your business again, consider the three tips below.
Tip 1: Provide staple products or services your customers need
Nearly all businesses offer two types of services or products, and they are staples and statements.For a grocer, for example, a staple would be milk. A statement, on the other hand, would be eggnog. Likewise, a hardware manufacturer would consider nails a staple product, where as specialty screws in a very rare size would be considered a statement item. A service based graphic designer, on the other hand, may consider logo development a staple service, while also offering pamphlet design as a statement service that is not purchased nearly as often.
You get the idea between staples and statements, right?
Now, consider how you apply staples and statements to your business. Staples should be items or services that are sold the most often, as well as the items and services most needed by your customers. Statements, on the other hand, should be considered up-sells, or items and services that may be considered seasonal. For some businesses, statements may also be one time purchases, whereas staples are typically items or services that may need to be purchased more than once over a period of time.
Identify what your staples and statements are in your business. Are they holding their weight when it comes to getting customers into your business and keeping sales steady? If not, consider how you can better balance your assortment of staples and statements, with staples being your “lead” to get customers in your door – so to speak – and statements being the items and services that keep them always intrigued and returning. The key is to ensure your staples hold stronger weight than your statements in terms of total sales, since these are the items and services your customers typically need most.
Tip 2: Deliver memorable customer experiences… for all the right reasons
We’ve all had those experiences where we’ve been on the receiving end of bad customer service. And most likely, nearly all of us have shared our bad experiences with others – whether it was intended to prevent someone from repeating what you had experienced or simply during a casual lunch with friends. Either way, the moral of this story is that bad news spreads… and you don’t want your customers to spread bad news about your business.
Make it a priority to deliver memorable customer care that is remembered for all the right reasons. Identify customer service standards for your business that all employees are trained to deliver – with expectations measured to ensure results. Collect customer testimonials, welcome customer feedback, track online review ratings on sites such as Yelp and aim to gain a reputation for being the best in customer care within your niche business sector. The key here is to ensure your business implements customer service standards, as well as actually takes the time to train all employees on how to communicate, support and ultimately sell to your customers. Believe it or not – little things like smiling, saying thanks and greeting customers within in-store environments are often overlooked. Then again, you likely already know this since you are – in fact – a customer yourself.
Your goal? To keep customers wanting to return to your business again and again. Photo Credit: Retail Minded
Your goal? Aim to please and do it well. Customers remember places they like to shop or spend money with, and your goal should be to become one of these places. Another tip? Aim to beat customer expectations. Few places do this nowadays, and if you can stand out as being a business that exceeds customer care expectations, it’s more likely you’ll be discussed over the dinner table among friends about how great your business is – as well as more likely repeat customers will want to work with you again and again.
Tip 3: Nurture existing customer relationships vs. always trying to get new customers
Too often, businesses are seeking ways to get new customers and gain attention from consumers they have never met. Yet for most businesses, seeking customer attention from existing customers is actually the key to greater business success. Giving customers attention who have already spent money in your store or other business is a great way to gain repeat sales. It can be as simple as saying “thanks” for a recent purchase via an email, with an incentive of 10% off or a $5 store credit to come back again included within the email. Or possibly it’s a handwritten thank you note – something more luxury based purchases should consider. Another way to show your thanks towards existing customers is to host customer appreciation nights or other special events that they are exclusively invited to.
Finally, stay on top of caring for your customers. All businesses – and particularly business owners – are busy, but don’t let that dismiss the care your customers deserve. Competition is tough, and keeping customers on the top of your to-do-list should always be considered. Your reward as a result? Repeat sales and more business!
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the Author of Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business from McGraw-Hill.
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