Businesses often focus on gaining new customers. They’ll do whatever it takes to get those new folks in the door, expending their resources to make the business an attractive one. And then once the newbie client is persuaded to take the plunge, they don’t pay much attention to them anymore. This is what not to do. Existing customers are one of the best sources, if not the best, of sales growth. In the book 1,001 Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back, the authors collected several broad strategies for customer retention that stand the test of time. The following outlines a few of the most important tactics for your business.
1. Give customers an incentive to come back. This could be a gift, a discount on their next service, a chance to win something or a customer loyalty card, where repeat visits get them a free service or product. Once you have a new customer in your office or business location and they’ve purchased their first service from you, don’t let your shiny new guest leave without giving them a great reason to return.
2. Make your service or product the best on the block. Why would they ever go anywhere else? You have thought of everything they need or want while on your premises and have delivered it to them in such a customer-service-oriented way that there’s no need for them to consider the next guy. Keep it as simple a process as possible for them to buy from you, and be a good listener. This tactic has a LOT to do with customer service. Strive to always give the client the best experience possible. There’s something to the saying that “the customer is always right.” And remember, good customer service always starts with the boss!
3. Network with your customers. By network, we don’t mean invite them to your business networking events. We mean, strike up a little conversation like you would at one of those networking events — be memorable, and try to remember something personal about your customer (like their favorite football team or that they love to garden) the next time they come in. This is about building good relationships. If they like you, they will return.
4. Give them something to remember you by. Do double-duty by combining brand recognition and customer-retention strategies with take-home promotional products. These customer gifts could be anything from a fun personalized mug with your logo on it that they see every single day at their own office to “advertising pens” that feature your company name and contact information on it (who doesn’t love a new pen?) to custom magnets, in the form of business cards or a calendars perhaps, which make your brand stick — to a customer’s fridge or metal filing cabinet. An every-day reminder that you are just a call or visit away.