Getting repeat business means spending less time and money on advertising, and having a guaranteed income stream. It can also mean a predictable work level and hours. These factors make sales and marketing less stressful and free up time to work on more important aspects of running a business. Having loyal customers has been shown to increase profit, even if the overall number of purchases is the same. There are 10 basic steps that every business, large or small, needs to take to ensure repeat business.
Brand Your Products
Customers need to remember who made the product. Choose a simple and memorable company logo, then put it on everything. Its a good idea to have the logo relate to the company name. Consider the logos of companies such as Apple, MTV, 7-11, or MacDonalds. Attach it as a header on emails, print letterhead, packaging, and all advertising. Do not change your logo often or use more than one.
Include Contact Information
A website and phone number on the package or later emails makes further purchases easy. Customers are easily frustrated by unavailability. Dont expect them to search out your product or service- make it simple. Make online ordering available, or have a contact form embedded on the website.
Even something as simple as a satisfaction survey a week later can remind the customer what a good experience they had working with your business. This is also another chance to give them more information and contact methods.
Have a Loyalty Program
Studies have shown that a loyalty program increases customer retention regardless of the actual value of the program. Make repeat orders attractive to the customer, but dont sacrifice the bottom line to do so.
Give Great Service
Service is half of the customer experience. Slow, grudging, or rude service will not win repeat customers. Customers dont feel loyalty to an object or product, they feel loyalty to people or a brand. Contact should be consistent and polite.
Dont Hunt Your Customers
Learn the difference between following up and hunting down. Sending repeated personal emails or calling customers more than once can be viewed as aggressive. Before firing off a message, ask yourself Is this strictly professional? Some services and products are only needed once or twice a year. Sending weekly emails wont make the customer need more.
Send Holiday Cards
Wondering how to keep in touch without becoming a hunter? Holiday cards are an accepted form of communication which many businesses use to remind customers of a good experience. No need to hand-write them, simply print and mail. No one minds receiving a nice holiday card. But be sure to include contact information and the brand logo!
Work On Social Media
Everyone wants followers on their social media accounts, so why not follow some customers? Twitter provides a way to engage customers on a small level and get to know them better. Inviting them to like the business Facebook page is another great way to keep them involved. Just make sure to actually post interesting content, and keep personal and professional separate. For example, King Arthur Flour has a great Facebook presence. If over 200,000 people like a brand of flour, they must be doing something right.
Know Your Demographic
Once youve connected to social media its easy to figure out who is interested in your product or service. But you can do it right in the office too. Record some simple customer information on excel and see who likes the product. Age, interests, political leanings, gender, and income are pretty easy to approximate based on social media. These statistics are valuable for advertising to new customers.
Have A Good Product
You can do all of the above and see zero customer retention. If youre doing everything right and still have poor results, its time to consider the product. A great product can bring repeat business despite a total lack of retention efforts, and a poor product can ruin any other efforts put into the business. So before making a Twitter account, make the product the best it can be.
Ashley Hughes works with individuals and companies worldwide to help with brand management and strategy. When she is not building reputation online, she is busy learning how to become the worlds next best chef.