Growing your business is not all about getting new customers through the door. Return customers are also critical, and they can make up the largest portion of sales. Did you know 80% of your sales will come from just 20% of your customers?
Therefore if your business is attracting new customers, but few come back and buy from your business again – it’s time to switch your focus to customer retention strategies. Here are just 10 ways in which you can encourage them to keep coming back for more.
Improve your customer service
Retaining customers starts with how they rate your service. If you go above and beyond to give your customers the best experience possible, they’ll likely want to return. If your service fails to impress by being too slow or by making big mistakes, a customer is unlikely to want to use your services again.
Complaints or negative reviews are a good sign that your customer service is lacking.
Start providing the best service that you can with these steps:
- Training and support of your staff
- Use a live chat app
- Use transactional emails for feedback
When employees know what is expected of them, they can consistently provide high service levels. With eCommerce now, a key to a more significant chunk of sales using a live chat app to provide a contact point for customers will help improve sales and customer repeat business.
Offer loyalty discounts and freebies
You can also entice back customers by offering them the opportunity of a discount or a freebie.
Introducing a loyalty card or points card could be one way of doing this – this allows customers to get a discount or a freebie after a certain amount of purchases or after spending a certain amount. These cards are commonly used by retail companies and cafes. You may be able to stamp the card, or you may be able to simply collect points digitally. You’ll find custom loyalty card manufacturers online.
For companies dealing with more significant purchases, another option could be to give away a voucher with the purchase to spend next time or simply offer the promise of a discount. For example, if you’re a car mechanic, you could offer loyal customers a discount on their subsequent repairs or service to encourage them to come back.
Offer membership perks
Another way of encouraging customer loyalty could be to offer customers the chance to become members. On top of getting access to discounts, becoming a member of your company could have other advantages. It could allow access to faster delivery services or unique services that aren’t available to others. This could be a creative way to keep people coming back.
You could even supply a subscription fee with your membership. This could allow you to still make an income even if customers choose never to return.
Advertise future deals
Making your current customers aware of promotions that will be taking place in the future can encourage them to make another visit when the promotion is running. For example, if you own a clothing store, you could put up a poster about a sale you’re holding in a month.
On top of promotions, you could also advertise new products coming in. If you own a coffee bar, this could include advertising special Christmas drinks in the lead-up to winter. This could help build up excitement for these products and get customers back.
Embrace social media
Social media is the perfect network for encouraging return customers. Many people that follow companies on social media do so as a way of staying in the loop when it comes to company news and promotions.
Make sure that you’re posting regular news updates and promotions to encourage these people to pay you a visit. If you’re not savvy with social media, you can always hire a social media marketing company to handle this element for you.
The hardest part is often getting your customers to follow you on social media in the first place. Try to make social media a significant portion of your branding.
Print your Facebook address, and Twitter handles on signage, business cards, and other physical forms of advertising. You can even print it on the side of a company vehicle or on a company t-shirt. Meanwhile, if you communicate with clients via email, put your social media addresses in your email signature. As for your website, consider adding plug-ins that allow visitors to easily follow you on your social media channels.
Create a mailing list
Another way to entice customers back with promotions and news is to sign them up for a mailing list. Physical mailing lists have largely gone out of fashion, but many companies still use email mailing lists.
Use a bulk mailing service. You can send out the same email to lots of people at once. SMS messaging also involves sending out information via text message – there are similarly bulk SMS messaging services that you can use for this purpose.
To put a customer on your mailing list, you’ll need their contact details and consent. You can ask customers whether they’d like to be added to your mailing list, or you can offer a box to tick when signing up for your service online. It’s also possible to place a pop-up ad on your website asking people to sign up for your email mailing list.
Always allow an opt-out feature – when it comes to SMS marketing, many companies allow customers to text STOP to automatically take them off of the mailing list.
Build a customer app
Building an app could also be a way of encouraging return customers. Whenever the customer opens their phone, they’ll see your app and be reminded of your company, which may prompt them to reuse your service. An app should always have a clear purpose – it could be a digital takeaway menu, a digital loyalty card, or a live progress report.
You can build an app by approaching an app development company. The cost of producing an app depends on how elaborate you plan your app to be – flashy and intricate apps are likely to cost a lot more than more basic apps. Once you’ve produced your app, you may want to look into mobile app testing services. This can help you fix any flaws that your app may have, allowing you to polish your app before allowing your customers to use it.
Encouraging people to download your app can be difficult and is much like encouraging people to follow you on Facebook – you can’t force your customers to do it. You’re best to recommend it to your customers in person and highlight its perks.
For example, if you own a shop or a restaurant, make sure to put up signage to let customers know about your app and its benefits.
Respond to positive and negative feedback
Responding to feedback can also encourage customers to return by acknowledging their criticism. Such feedback could be in person, via email, or via an online review (the likes of Trip Advisor allow companies to reply to customer reviews). Those leaving positive feedback are likely to want to return on their own accord, but you can still thank them for making them feel appreciated and further encourage them to return.
As for negative feedback, it’s possible to offer these unhappy customers discounts if they decide to use your services again. This can encourage these customers to give you another chance. You may be able to use this opportunity to prove that you can provide good service, turning these unhappy customers into loyal, happy customers.
Get to know your customers
Simply getting to know your customers and developing a relationship can significantly impact loyalty. If a customer feels that you know them, they may trust you more, resulting in extra convenience for them (for example, learning a regular customer’s order before they’ve even placed it). Try to engage in small talk when appropriate and get to know your customers’ names – all in all, do whatever you can to build a rapport.
Keep ahead of the competition
Customers may not be returning simply because your competitors are offering better deals or better services. By offering better deals and services than your competition, you can stop your loyal customers from jumping ship.
Try not to get too caught up chasing competitors by beating their prices – instead, try to single yourself out by providing a USP (unique selling point). This involves finding the gap in the market and exploiting it. For example, if you own a bar, think about which drinks other bars in the area aren’t selling. If nowhere has a good selection of gin, this is something that you could provide to keep the gin drinkers coming to you.