When customer turnover is high, your business loses money. A loyal customer will return with little effort on your part, while attracting new customers involves spending money and time on marketing and advertising. Even when you can convince someone new to give you a chance, you'll limit your earnings if that customer only buys from you once.
Customers return to a business because of exceptional products and stellar customer service. Even the best product may not be able to overcome a bad customer experience. However, a positive customer experience can make a good product even better.
"To be a successful entrepreneur, one must be so 100 percent focused on customer satisfaction that you know in advance your client will absolutely be an automatic repeat," says Rey Grabato, Owner of National Realty Investment Advisors. "You must separate yourself and deliver your product with such quality that no other market participant even remotely compares to your results for clients."
That's a tough goal to reach, but if you make your customers' experiences uniquely positive you can increase return visits. Here are some ways to do that.
If your business only had one customer, personalization would be easy. As your business grows and you juggle an ever-growing list of loyal customers, you'll likely find it increasingly challenging to customize each experience. Use tools that allow you to keep track of customers and create experiences that are personalized to their buying interests and behaviors. This will differentiate you from companies that aren't keeping track of their customers that way.
It can be tempting to let your business approach stagnate a bit as you work hard to grow. However, when a business continues on the same path year after year, that business risks falling behind cutting-edge competitors. Instead of allowing your offerings to grow stale, revisit your concepts every year or two and add small refreshes that can keep customers interested. If you provide specialized services to clients, consider investing in training for your employees that will improve their credentials and keep your firm relevant for many years to come.
Even if your business operates solely online, you can benefit from reaching out to your local community. Consider finding ways to participate locally, whether it's through sponsoring youth sporting events or throwing your support behind a charity that's close to your heart. If your business is B2B and your client base is specialized, join an industry-specific organization and become as active as possible. Customers are more likely to stay with you when they see you as part of their community.
Review Your Policies
Coming on the heels of the holiday returns season, it's easy to see how brands lose customers over inflexible policies. Weigh the cost of losing a potential loyal customer against the lost income you'll get from reducing your protections against return fraud. If any of your policies have the potential to anger or alienate your customers, carefully review the benefits of those policies and consider loosening them in the name of customer retention.
One way to quickly lose customers is to fail to listen to them. Whether customers are calling, emailing, or posting social media feedback, take each attempt at communication seriously, replying quickly and working toward a resolution. If your customers feel that you don't care, they'll make a quick exit toward a business that will listen.
Major retailers have found that by slipping coupons into customer shopping bags and email inboxes, they can almost guarantee a return visit. The coupons are usually dated for a slightly later period and will entice customers to come back a week or two later to shop at a discount. Even B2B companies can benefit from this type of discounting, handing over percent-off offers whenever a client pays an invoice.
Your customers expect top-quality customer service and great products. If you aren't meeting those needs, your customers will choose one of your competitors. To keep your best customers coming back, month after month, you should invest in the tools and practices that show your customers you're not only listening, but you're continuously striving to improve based on their suggestions.