The success of a business, especially a service-oriented business, depends on turning one-time customers into repeat customers. Increasing customer loyalty is the best way to ensure continued growth and success, even through slow economic times. There are several ways to increase customer loyalty, and most of them are easy and inexpensive. Here are a few examples of how to turn one-time customers into repeat customers.
- Give them something they can’t get anywhere else. Whether it is a new product or stellar customer service, it is important to stand out from your competition. Ask yourself questions like “Why would a customer purchase this item from me rather than from my competitor?” Perhaps your business is located in a more convenient location, or your business is open more convenient hours than your competitor. Perhaps you have a bigger parking lot, or have a nicer and more modern decor. There can be hundreds of answers to this question.
- You’re not just selling a product, you are selling an experience. Have you ever wondered why some day spas are successful and others are not? They might offer the same services and use the same products, but the successful spa understands that a client is looking for more than a massage or a pedicure; they are looking for a great overall experience. This experience begins the moment the customer opens the door. If a customer has a great overall experience, they will return.
- Offer incentives. Chances are that your wallet is full of cards offered to you by restaurants and other businesses entitling you to some kind of discount after so many visits. Purchase four cups of coffee and your fifth cup is free. Purchase nine sandwiches and your tenth sandwich is free. Why do businesses utilize these cards? To build customer loyalty.
- Remember names and details. Remembering the names of your customers and the names of their spouses or children is a great way to increase customer loyalty, and best of all it costs nothing. People like to be remembered. After all, if you were a customer, wouldn’t you rather go to a place where everybody knows your name?
- Service after the sale. If you are selling a big-ticket item, pick up the phone and connect with the customer a few days after they made the purchase. Ask them how they like the product, and remind them that they can call on you if they have any problems or questions. Customer service does not end when the customer is handed their receipt; customer service is an ongoing process.
Repeat customers are the lifeblood of a business, and these five tips will help ensure that customers will leave happy, eager to do business with you again in the future.