A poor economy, greater competition and more savvy buyers has had a huge impact on businesses, especially small to medium enterprises. If you are losing your customer base you need to act fast to retain their custom.
The best way for repeat business is getting them to love your products or your company. An advocate of your brand will also positively advertise your business too through word of mouth. So how do you get a customer to climb the loyalty ladder and move from a first time buyer to a brand champion?
On average, a brand champion is worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
1. Get in touch with your long term customers directly
People buy from people so don’t become another faceless company. Build relationships by meeting with your customers or calling them directly. The closer the relationship the more valued they will feel. Talk to them about your latest product or service and ask for their honest opinion, what they like or how would they change it? Regular communication will keep you at the forefront of their mind.
2. Analyze your customer’s buying behavior
All the data you need is there already, you just need to put it into a manageable format in which to act upon it. Look for buying trends such as what is selling, what is not selling, who is buying, who is not buying, who should be buying. Once you have this data you can work out whom your biggest customers are and prioritize time with them around their buying habits. This is one of the best ways to cross sell additional products and build long-term relationships.
3. Send an email campaign with a discount or offer included
This may or may not work for your business as it depends on your industry. But for most this is an effective way to get repeat business and interact with your customers. Surveys can be a great tool for this however the ones that really draw me in are the ones that offer something in return like a discount or coupon on a future purchase for filling it in. Not only do you potentially get future business you’ll also gain some great demographic information and your customers thoughts about your brand, product or service.
4. Treat a customer like a valued partner – two way communication
As I’ve already mentioned your customer’s feedback is vital, so take it seriously and act upon reasonable requests. There’s no point in listening to customers if you’re not going to do something with their feedback. If customers see their suggestions implemented you’ll strengthen their trust, loyalty and overall fondness of your business. After all it is your customers’ using your product or service so why wouldn’t you give them what they want?
5. Deliver what you say you’re going to do
Everyone has an expectation level, some higher than others. So to have a one hundred percent satisfaction rate your service needs to be exceptional and exceed all expectations. Many customers are price sensitive but more are service led – especially in the B2B environment. Therefore you need to get the basics right and build from there. Ever heard of the phrase “don’t run before you can walk?” well I think that’s a perfect quote here.
Don’t mis-sell to your customers either, be transparent and completely honest. If you can’t do something for them, then tell them. By managing their expectations you’ll be deserving of long-term customer loyalty.