Wednesday, 12 June 2013

8 tips for generating more repeat business

It's estimated that the average small business generates 80% of its revenue from just 20% of its customers. Most experts also believe that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to retain an existing one.
What do these two statistics have in common? They both demonstrate that, should you find yourself at the helm of a small business, customer loyalty should be your number one priority.
Here are eight straightforward tips for turning first time buyers into long term customers.

Invest in Frontline Staff Training

The first rule of generating repeat business is that customer service is everything. A disinterested sales assistant mightn’t always put a customer off making their first purchase but you can rest assured that it certainly will put them off making a second or third. Every single member of your front line staff should be trained on how to deal with customers in a professional and attentive fashion.

Provide Excellent After-Sale Support
It’s not uncommon for small business owners to work tirelessly on generating sales only to treat after-sale support as something of an afterthought. While such behaviour can of course lead to handsome sales numbers, it’s never going to be an effective strategy for generating repeat business. If you’re not available to handle a customers post sale enquiries, you can rest assured that you’ll never see that customer again. An effective after-sales support system is therefore very much a necessity.

Keep in Contact with Your Customers

A surprisingly easy way to encourage repeat business is to simply come straight out and ask for it. If you’re not already doing so, you should devise a strategy for collecting your customers contact information in a non-obtrusive fashion. Such information should then be used to keep them informed about your companies latest products and promotions. You might be surprised by just how much repeat business can be generated with a small monthly newsletter.

Use Social Media

Another surprisingly simple way to spark repeat purchases is to encourage your customers to follow you on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Every time a customer subscribes to one of your social media accounts, they are giving you multiple opportunities to tempt them back to your business. The easiest way to build a healthy social media following is to simply offer subscriber exclusive discounts on your companies products/services.

Offer Loyalty Discounts

Speaking of discounts, if you’re serious about generating repeat business, you should also be serious about rewarding it. Even a discount of ten percent off future purchases can mean the difference between a repeat customer and one that you never see again. While the primary attraction of loyalty programs is of course the financial discount, in providing such a discount, you are also demonstrating just how much you value repeat customers.

Invest in Promotional Gifts
Another tried and tested method of boosting repeat business is to invest in promotional gifts. You might be surprised by just how cheaply you can get your hands on a few thousand calendars, magnets or USB drives emblazoned with your companies name. You might also be surprised by just how much repeat business such simple gifts can generate. After all, it’s a lot harder to forget about a business when its logo is staring you in the face every day.

Be Consistent
The funny thing about customer loyalty is that it tends to disappear the moment you start taking it for granted. In other words, it doesn’t matter how many purchases a customer makes, you are always just one mistake away from losing them. Consistency is therefore a vital component of both winning and retaining loyal customers. Sales figures might fluctuate, customer service levels, on the other hand, they should remain constant.

Pay Attention to Your Competitors
Finally, there’s the small matter of your competitors, never underestimate just how much they want to steal your most loyal of customers. It’s vital that you develop a keen understanding of exactly who your competitors are and the exact areas in which they have the potential to outperform your business. If you don’t know about your competitors latest promotions, how can you possibly expect to compete with them?
Getting the existing customers to buy from you again is not very difficult and repeat business can increase your revenues significantly. Have you used any of the methods I have mentioned here to increase your repeat sales? Do you have any tricks that you want to share with me? Please use the comments section to tell me about what you do to make your customers love you even more.
Featured images:

This post is courtesy  of Greg Fisher. His company, Berkeley Sourcing Group, provides services for contract manufacturing in California. An astute businessman, he knows the nuances of customer management extremely well and has shared some of the tips in this article.

1 comment:

  1. Great points...I would add to that: ask your clients for feedback. This really helps us improve our service as we learn about what we do well, so we can do more of it but also what we have not done so well, so we can work on it next time.

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