Keep Those Customers Coming Back

keep customers coming back retail loyalty cx bootstrap business

If you want your business to be a runaway success, then one of the things you really must get right is customer retention. You should be able to take a first time customer and turn them into a lifelong devotee to your brand. If you can do this, then you’ll always have a steady stream of money coming in from your loyal customers, and you’ll be able to encourage new customers to give your company their money off the back of your good reviews too. 

Obviously, keeping those customers coming back time and time again is a challenge. There are always new products and services coming onto the market with fancy new features and intriguing marketing which can turn the loyalist customers’ heads, but if you hold firm, stay the course and do the following, you should be fine… 

Always Thank Your Customers 

It might seem like kind of a small thing, but thanking your customers whether face to face when they’ve made a purchase from your store or visited your office for a consultation, via an email when they’ve made a purchase online or over the telephone, will make them feel appreciated and that can go a really long way to keeping your business in their favor. 

Ask For Feedback And Act On It 

It’s kind of difficult to keep your customers coming back and keep them happy if you don’t know you’re doing anything wrong in the first place, which is why, as a business owner, you should make it a priority to obtain feedback from your customers. 

You might not think so looking at online reviews, but the average customer or client is very hesitant to inform business owners when they’ve experienced a problem with their products and services. They’re much more likely to put it down to experience and avoid that business in the future. If you don’t want to lose out on repeat business, you must, then make a real effort to ensure your customers are satisfied, even if you just send them a quick email survey to ask for their feedback. If it isn’t forthcoming, consider offering a small voucher or cash prize to be raffled among respondents, and you should see an increase in the amount of replies you get. 

Once you get feedback, if it is negative in any way, you must do what you can to rectify the problem. Most people are very forgiving and won’t hold a grudge against a company if they deal with problems swiftly, effectively and gracefully, So, offer a free replacement, send out a voucher or apologize to a client personally when something goes wrong, and you might just be surprised to see them again in the future. 

Give Them What They Need, Not What They Want 

You know how they say that the customer is always right? Well, that isn’t always the case, and sometimes going against this wisdom to give the customers what they need, rather than what they asked for can earn you vital brownie points. For example, if you work in a hardware store and a customer comes in looking to buy a new pair of pliers in order to remove stuck fasteners, but you know that using a TurboSocket by Hudson Bearings will get the job done faster and more effectively. Don’t be afraid to tell them so, and don’t be afraid to occasionally offer them a discount on the better product to make them more likely to try it out. They’ll be thankful that you gave them good advice, and be blown away by you’re going the extra mile to the extent that they’ll always come to you first when they’re in the market for new tools. This is something which can be applied effectively to most markets, and it will build customer loyalty very effectively. 

Sing Your Praises 

Another great way to increase customer loyalty to your business or brand is to make sure that the customer knows they’ve made an excellent choice in giving you their business. So, if you sell the same products at more competitive prices than the competition, if you offer little extras that others do not, or you do anything else that elevates your company above the competition, mention it to the customer. You should be subtle about doing so, rather than turning your interactions into a sales pitch, but you should get it out there so that the customer feels good about their decision and is likely to make the very same choice again. 

keep retail customers coming back cx loyalty bootstrap business

Offer A Guarantee

Whether you’re selling televisions, used cars or graphic design services, it makes sense to offer your customers a guarantee if you want to build confidence in your business and keep those customers coming back for more. This could be a guarantee that products or parts will be fixed and replaced should they breakdown or a personal guarantee that you will fix any errors or make any changes to your work that the customer isn’t happy with personally. 

Adding the personal touch is a very good strategy for increasing customer loyalty because customers like to feel that they are doing business with a person rather than a company, so if you can assign one person to deal with each customer on every occasion (this won’t always be possible) you will notice that those customers will keep returning whenever they have a need for the products or services you offer. 

Go Above and Beyond 

All businesses, if they want to retain customers should go above and beyond their customers’ expectations and deliver more than the customer ever imagined they would get. It’s a lot easier to do this when you’re working in a service industry than when you’re selling products, but you just have to work harder to find ways of offering more. For example, you could offer same-day shipping in some areas, where your competitors only offer next day at the earliest, or you could throw in a few freebies with a major purchase. It doesn’t matter what you do, but if you can make your customers feel like they’re being truly spoiled by you, then you give them a very real incentive to do business with you again. 

If you’re in a niche with a lot of competitors. It may even be worth stating that you will at the very least match their prices, and possibly even beat them. You might feel like this will hurt your bottom line, but if it brings in more customers and fosters their loyalty to your brand, then you will actually make a lot more money in the long term because you’ll have more customers coming to you, even if your prices are a bit lower than you would actually like. 

Ace Those ‘Moments of Truth’ 

A very successful businessman, Jan Carlzon who used to be the president of Scandinavian Airlines wrote a very interesting book called ‘Moments of Truth’ over 30 years ago now. In that book, he referred to moments of truth as being any moment when customers have an interaction with your business for any reason. He firmly believed that these moments could make a business wildly successful or cause their downfall depending on how they were handled, and I think he was right. 

Whether a customer is emailing you a query about the size of the clothing you sell, asking you to correct a piece of content you wrote, visiting your office for an appointment or talking to your secretary on the phone, they need to leave that interaction feeling satisfied. They need to feel like they’ve been listened to, treated with care and received a resolution that they are happy with. That’s why it’s important that you train all of your employees in customer service and ensure that best practices are enforced. You also need to ensure that you, yourself, are always polite, friendly, attentive and genuinely interested I what your customers have to say. You simply cannot let a customer leave one of these interactions feeling like they’ve been fobbed off, treated rudely or ignored if you want them to keep coming back for more. 

So, there you have it: Some very real ways to increase loyalty from your customers. But reading about them alone will not help you to achieve your goals. You need to put each and every one of these steps into action in your business now and in the future and you need to do it well. If you don’t agree with all of the points raised in this post, and you may well not, at least make an effort to incorporate the ones that you do think could work for you and maybe even come up with a few more of your own. In this time of great competition, no business can afford to rest on its laurels, especially when it comes to retaining customers. 

CX Conclusion

So, make a start, keep working on your CX strategy until you’ve refined it and show your customers exactly why you are the best in your business, and a decade from now you could be as big as Apple or Coca-Cola!

I hope you enjoyed this article about how to keep your loyal customers coming back and providing you with repeated business.

Interested in more articles about customer loyalty?

Read My Posts:

- Customer Compliments: Get Your Workplace Customer Ready 

- How To Analyze Customer Service To Improve Business

Published by Michael J Schiemer
Owner of the Bootstrap Business Blog
Media - Money - Marketing - Motivation
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