It’s not all about getting new customers through the door. Return customers can make up the bulk of business for many companies and can be more important as a result. If you’re getting customers but none are wanting to return, here are just 10 ways in which you can encourage them to keep coming back for more.
Improve your customer service
Good customer service is everything. If you go above and beyond to give your customers the best experience possible, it’s likely they’ll want to return. If you provide slow service or don’t smile or make 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 and ensure that any employees are trained up to a proficient level so that they offer the same standard of service.
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 bigger 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 off their next repairs or service as a way of encouraging 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 service 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 up poster about a sale you’re holding in a month’s time.
On top of promotions, you could also advertise new products that may be coming in. If you own a coffee bar, this could include advertising special Christmas drinks in the lead up to winter. This could help to build up excitement for these products and get customers coming back.
Embrace social media
Social media is the perfect tools 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 major part of your branding. Print your Facebook address and Twitter handle 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, make sure to 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 to 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. There’s also SMS messaging which involves sending out information via text message – there are similarly bulk SMS messaging services that you can use for this purpose.
In order to put a customer on your mailing list, you’ll need their contact details and their consent. You can ask customers in person whether they’d like to be added to your mailing list or you can offer a box to tick when signing up to your service online. It’s also possible to place a pop-up ad on your website asking people to sign up to your email mailing list. Always allow an opt-out feature – when it comes to SMS marketing many companies allow customers to text STOP in order 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 you app and be reminded of your company, which may prompt them to reuse you service. An app should always have a clear purpose – it could be a digital takeaway menu or 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 to fix any flaws that your app may have allowing you to polish your app before you allow 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 recommending it to your customers in person and highlighting the perks of using it. If you own a shop or a restaurant, make sure to put up signage letting customers know about your app and the benefits that it carries.
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 to make them feel appreciated and further encourage them to come back. 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 develop a relationship can have a big impact on loyalty. If a customer feels that you know them, they may trust you more and could result in extra convenience for them (for example, knowing 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 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.