One of the greatest downfalls to customer retention is a poor follow-up procedure. Businesses spend a lot of money and time getting people to walk in their door, but spend almost no time or money getting them to come back. If they do follow up, however, it is usually in a meaningless, standardized, or even harassing way — like sending junk e-mail or promotional mail.
There are definitely better ways to follow-up with your customers! Today we’re going to share a few suggestions for keeping your business top-of-mind with your customers and encouraging them to come back again and again.
Step One: First Impressions Can Make Or Break The Relationship
The first step, and arguably the most important step to creating lifetime clients, is to create a great first-customer experience. If customers don’t believe that you care about them from the get-go, they won’t care about returning. Train your staff to prioritize the client above the sale. Spend time training your staff and invest resources in their customer service skills. Teach them how to be kind, accommodating and welcoming to your customers.
Building trust with clients is a major key to acquiring long-term customers. Have integrity in your dealings and always come through with what you promise. Don’t get discouraged if you lose a sale, instead be encouraged that you gained a lifetime consumer! In the long-term, it is much more profitable for your company to lose a sale but gain a loyal client, than it is to get sale and fail to build a relationship. If customers have a great initial experience with your company and with your staff, they will come back. Not only that, they will tell their friends about it as well. Word-of-mouth advertisement is always the best advertisement!
Step Two: Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
The second step to ensuring that clients return is having a great follow-up process. Connect with people after an experience or sale in a way that is relevant to their life and also adds value. If you are a part of small business, connect with people personally by giving them a quick phone call to thank them for their business, or send them a hand-written note with a $5 Starbucks gift to let them know they are appreciated.
Avoid making your follow-up procedure standardized, because that only results in people feeling like they represent a number to you instead of a name. Go the extra mile to “wow” your customers. How blown away would they be if you remembered a personal detail in their life and then capitalized on it? For example, write down their favorite candy or their favorite restaurant and send them a box of candy or a gift card. Something so simple can make people feel incredibly valued, and will make them want to come back.
Step Three: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
Do you have a ‘favorite’ customer? You know, the one who always takes your recommendations, pays their bills on time and comments on your social media posts? They are your ideal customer — and ideally you want to duplicate them a thousand times to build your business the right way! The best way to do this is to simply ask them for a referral.
This doesn’t have to be unnatural or awkward. When you’re talking with them, be upfront and tell them the truth — that you would love to work with more customers just like them. Then ask if they have any friends that they think would also like bike rentals, financial plans, hand-painted bowls (or whatever it is that YOU do.) It feels difficult to do in the moment, but it’s surprisingly simple once you get the hang of it!
If your business is located in the White Rock area and you want to know more about how to increase customer return, the White Rock Business Association is a great resource to be connected with. We are an association that is passionate about maintaining a thriving business community in the White Rock area. Contact us today to find out what other tips and resources we can offer you for enhancing your business!