There a big difference between getting people to come through the doors of your business and getting them to come back. Customer retention is paramount for the success of your business.
It costs about six times more to acquire a new customer than to sell to an existing one.
Retaining your customers is so important for long term sustainability and growth. It should be central to your business strategy.
There isn’t just one way to keep customers coming back. It requires implementing various customer focus techniques.
Overall, the best method for retaining customers is by simply taking care of them. Going above and beyond to make sure their needs are met. This requires a lot of effort on your part and the part of your employees.
Customers expect to be treated well when they go shopping or go out for a nice dinner. They come out to spend money on your goods or services and in return they want to feel like they are receiving a positive return on their investment.
It starts with you and your staff. If you own a restaurant or retail space, you are probably interacting with your customers quite often. Being on the forefront of your customer’s personal experience with your place of business brings with it a lot of responsibility.
The best way to identify your customer’s wants and needs (and hence retain them as frequent guests) is by developing good guest relations. How do you do this?
If you are a restaurant owner or own a retail store, you have the advantage of interacting with your guests on a regular basis. You can develop this relationship with them on a daily basis.
Nothing can replace having a face-to-face interaction with your public. You can have an immediate positive influence on their experience. You can even turn around a less than positive experience they may be having and make it one they will remember in a good way.
This is especially important for small businesses, and even more so for new small businesses. Trying to develop a customer base and retain it is a big challenge for small businesses just entering the game.
Getting them through the doors to begin with is a big enough challenge. And once you do, what do you have to offer which will make them want to come back again?
How about a customer loyalty program? This offers them incentives, discounts and free stuff to keep shopping with you.
Offering a quality product or service should be of the utmost importance. It doesn’t matter how great you or your staff are with people, if you aren’t offering a quality product, your business will suffer.
Nothing hurts a business more than a group of customers who are dissatisfied with the products they purchased. Be sure you are giving them GOOD reasons to shop at your place of business.
No one wants to spend their hard earned money on junk.
Once you’ve developed a reputation for providing quality, you can “excite” your customers by offering them special deals or discounts on various items.
Having a “Friends and Family” sale periodically is a great way to promote yourself to your customer base and gives them an “event” to look forward to.
You can hand out coupons, flyers or “passes” to your customers in the weeks leading up to your sale which they can then redeem on the day of the sale for discounts and perks. Maybe throw in a free item as an added incentive and a way of saying “thank you” for their continued patronage.
There are plenty of loyalty programs you could adopt to help keep your guests coming back. These programs are designed to inspire your customers to continue shopping at your store in exchange for discounts, freebies or points they can redeem in-store.
The discounts are applied at the time of purchase on select items or you could use a point system where they earn points towards future purchases.
Many of these loyalty programs (designed specifically for customer retention) are now digital and are simply a download away on the customers’ phones. Once they download the app and signup for your program, you can reach out to them any time you want through the app!
How many people do you know who carry their phones around? Yeah… pretty much everybody. Think it would be pretty easy to reach hundreds or thousands of subscribers in mere minutes? You bet.
Loyalty programs can be highly profitable.
These programs also help you track your customer’s needs and buying history so you can design your sales strategy to target their needs more effectively.
A lot of small businesses use punch cards to encourage their customers to return often. They hand out a punch card to their guests and add a punch to it every time they make a purchase. Once the punch card is filled, they give them a free item or a huge discount on certain purchases.
Digital punch cards are an easier way to go nowadays… no more imitating stamps or punches and now paper to continue ordering and keeping track of. It’s all on the app of a phone, now. So easy…
There are many ways to keep your customers coming back. All of the methods mentioned here are effective and they have been proven to work for countless types of businesses.
This isn’t to say they will all work for your business. Or, maybe they all would work. It depends on the type of business you have, the products you offer, and your personal goals and objectives as a business owner.
But if your goal is to gain as many customers as possible and keep them coming through your doors, as it is for every business owner, take some time to develop your customer relations.
They are literally the “bread and butter”… the pulse of your business. Without them, you would not be the business owner you are today!
Make customer retention one of your top priorities. Take care of them and they will take care of you.
Want a great strategy to retain customers for free? Give us a call, (888) 510-9871, and we’ll be glad to strategize with you!