In business, it is commonly stated that it costs six times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
Why is this the case?
There is no doubt that acquiring new customers takes time, effort, and money; therefore, long-term customers are small business gold; they allow us to pay the bills, hire employees, and grow our businesses. They are the means by which entrepreneurs keep the dream alive.
That begs the question, how do you create repeat, long-term customers?
While a one-time customer is appreciated, it is the repeat customer who makes all the difference. Customers can choose any business to meet their needs; they will only return to yours if you provide them with something above and beyond the ordinary.
Here are five strategies for keeping customers coming back for more:
- Be excellent at what you do.
People either hire you to do a service for them or visit your shop or online store to purchase something from you. If your product or service is mediocre, they may return, become a regular, or not. But most likely not.
But what if you were exceptionally good at what you do?
They will almost certainly return.
If you sell flowers, always make an exceptional bouquet. If you cook, use high-quality ingredients and cook with passion.
- Provide excellent customer service
Customers love you when they know you love them back, and vice versa.
Nordstrom is well-known for providing excellent customer service, which is one of the reasons its customers are so loyal. Costco, on the other end of the retail spectrum, provides similarly excellent customer service and, once again, has exceptional customer loyalty.
That is how you build a great brand.
- Take good care of your employees
One of the most intriguing small business surveys I’ve ever seen looked into what made someone a good franchisee. What distinguishes the best franchise business owners? The biggest difference was, surprisingly, how the owner treated their employees, not some brilliant marketing strategy or a fantastic location.
It turns out that the better the boss you are, the happier your employees are, and the happier they are, the better your customers are treated. Happy customers become repeat and loyal customers.
It is a success cycle that begins at the top.
- Include additional value
I recently decided not to charge some of my oldest customers for the weekly content that my company produces for them. I told them how much I appreciated their patronage over the years and that this was my way of saying thank you.
Yes, they were satisfied, and I doubt they will look elsewhere for their content needs.
- Express gratitude to your customers.
When most people finish doing business with even a mediocre store, they say “thank you.” They are the ones who say thank you when you leave a great company. It’s not the only time they say it. They say it even if it is unexpected or for no apparent reason. Great businesses genuinely appreciate their customers and communicate this to them.
So, one last thing: Thank you for coming here and reading my column; we sincerely appreciate it!