Written by Guest Writer: Lindsey Patterson
As a business owner, you undoubtedly spend a great deal of time and money in an ongoing effort to attract new customers. This is all well and good; however, it would be a large mistake to ignore the loyal customers you already have.
Consumer studies have shown that whereas a new customer has an average sales conversion rate of only 2%, a return customer converts to a sale as much as 70% of the time. Additionally, not only do repeat customers purchase more frequently they also spend an average of three times more on each purchase. That’s a number that no business can afford to ignore. Here are a few strategies that will help your business create and maintain customers that return to your products over and over again.
If you want to prioritize creating and keeping repeat customers, a good customer relationship management platform is an absolute necessity. Skilled salespersons and innovative sales closing techniques will win you customers, but to maintain them you need a system that helps you maintain their information, track their purchases and recurring payment as well as organize your communications with them. A great CRM will do all of these things and more.
Sales, product demonstrations and special events are wonderful tools to attract the public and they are certainly enjoyed by loyal customers as well as new ones. But if you want your existing customers to feel special, you need to come up with a few rewards that are available only to them.
Loyalty programs are an effective and relatively simple strategy that incentivizes repeat business. There are several approaches you can take. You may choose to run a point system in which consumers receive points for each purchase they make and are then able to redeem those points for merchandise when they have collected enough. You can appeal to the human interest in exclusivity by offering a tiered system in which the more a customer spends the higher they move up within the loyalty program. As they move up the tiers they receive increasingly more fabulous rewards such as free merchandise, discounts or exclusive offers. A popular loyalty program is a valuable program in which instead of offering gifts to the customer for their purchases, you donate to a good cause in recognition of their patronage.
Customer feedback is a valuable resource, and that includes negative feedback. Customers like to feel that they are seen and heard and that their opinions have an impact.
You should begin by soliciting your customers’ feedback. You can ask for feedback in a variety of ways. When you send follow-up emails after a purchase, always include an invitation for the customer to provide feedback on their sales experience and on the product they purchased. It is important to include a feedback form on your business website and encourage customers to use it. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, go old school and provide feedback cards in a designated corner of the store.
Once you have succeeded in gathering feedback, it is crucial that you respond to it. React to positive feedback by sending out a thank you along with an invitation to join your customer loyalty program. React to negative feedback with compassion and make it right if you can. You can offer a discount on a future purchase, a free gift, or if the feedback is serious enough, a full refund. You may be surprised to find out that some incredibly loyal customers were once dissatisfied customers whose complaints were dealt with in a manner that won them over.
Finally, use your feedback to cement positives and to change negatives and let your customers know about your response. Consumers enjoy knowing that they can have actual effects on the companies they shop with.
In your mad rush to secure more customers, make sure you are taking the steps to make the ones you already have feel valued. Loyal customers are the very backbone of any successful business. Make certain that yours knows how important they are to you.