You Will Never Lack if You Keep Your Customers Coming Back
By Charles Hopkins
Published 04/20/2006 | Marketing
Good times, bad times, business ups and downs. Profit gains and money loss in a merry-sales-go-round. Oh yeah! Finding new customers is not always easy, and you can suffer for it during those times when it's not.
You can keep putting out the deals in expensive advertising, but when that fails does that mean you go broke? Absolutely not!
Not if you have already built up a customer base, and have provided those customers with good service and good products. What you have built up by doing this is your company's number one asset.
Do you know how much that asset is worth? Do you know the lifetime value of your customers? That is how much a customer spends a year on average with you, times the number of years they stay a customer, times the number of customers you have.
It can add up to a lot, if you are doing things in the right way.
Do you have marketing geared toward your current customers?
Do you take the trouble to find out things they specifically and generally like and dislike? Do you ask what you might do to serve them better? Do you publicize a solid guarantee and honor it?
With the right customer service you can keep your customers for LIFE!
Find out information about your customers. Keep a list of their names and addresses so you can keep in constant communication with them by sending a heads-up on deals, new stock, and anything that would make them feel special. Postcards are perfect for doing that. Even get their month and day of birth so you can send them birthday cards giving them their own special discount on anything they want.
Give away things to your customers. Make promotional items freely available like pens, pencils, pocket planners, calendars, calculators, key-chains, mugs, you name it. All those things will have your business name, address, and phone number on them. Sending something like that to them in the mail would even give it more value in your customer's eyes. The more useful the item, the more you will be in the customers sight and mind. That is a good thing!
If you have a clothing store, get to know your customer's sizes. As soon as they walk in the door, greet them by name and say you have saved something for them that you know will look great on them. Then pick the newest most expensive piece of clothing to show them. Say that they simply must try it on, and while they will be in the changing room anyway, fix them up with everything to go with it for trying on as well. You will collect sales for more items once they see how good they look in them. Throw them over the edge by giving them a break in price if they get the entire outfit with accessories.
If you do not have a clothing store, find a way to get samples of what you do have to your customers that they can try. Get them to use something on a trial basis. Once you do that, their ownership of it is practically assured! Once someone is in possession of something, giving it up creates the painful emotion of loss.
A happy customer is a loyal customer. Loyalty comes by your customers knowing you care about them, are actively educating them in the things they are interested in, and knowing you will continuously be able to meet their needs in the best way for them.
The customer is always right in that they know what they want. You are always on top of it by presenting what you have as not only something they want, but something they've got to have. And not just something they themselves got to have. Maybe they have a husband, wife, or children. Compel your customer to treat the family too.
Here is something to jump on. Perhaps your customer is a business owner. Get that person to send the customers for their business over to your business. Beyond word of mouth referral, they can do that by giving coupons good for things in your store, or maybe you can get permission to put a raffle box in their store that gives prizes given by your store. You can either pay them to do it or return the favor. There can be many ways to help each other in cooperation, even paying each other commissions, and also bundling your two company's products and services together at favorable prices for customers. You will find that such arrangements, called Joint Venture Partnering, can be very lucrative as it quickly builds your customer base.
It pays to know your customer, and to know how to supplement and expand your products and services with things like go-along additions, deluxe automatic maintenance service, special package deals, premium upgrades, complimentary products, etc. Think of anything you can.
Give your customer something to put in their purse or wallet, something that equals money to them. A discount card that gives discounts on purchases, or a buyers card that gives rewards after a determined amount of purchases accumulated from multiple visits are two examples. The surest way to get your customer to spend more with you is getting them a charge card. Your own store credit card in your customer's possession is guaranteed to spike sales.
You will have a solid relationship with the customers you have already gotten, and through that relationship, your business will evolve!
This gives lifetime value of a customer a whole other meaning. You are finding ways to improve yourself and your business. Take periodic customer surveys. That way the customer is giving intellectual input as well as money into your business, and if you are innovative enough to make use of them, the customer will more than likely also be giving you new customers by recommending you to their friends.
Other things you can do: offer your customers incentives for making referrals & collect testimonial stories from them to use in your ads because the best advertising comes from satisfied customers. Not only that, a customer that gives a testimonial for you will become even more loyal by doing it. Imagine that! It just goes to show how things get solidified when written down. Do you write down the goals you have for your business? How about the goals of your business?
Write a Service Pledge to your customers. Post it up where you do business so your customers know what great service they can expect. Find the greatest benefit that solves the most major concern to your customers, perhaps something unique that no other business in the area offers. Make a catchy slogan out of it. Use it wherever the name of your business is displayed so that your business will be known by the slogan. When employees eagerly answer the phone, have them not only say the name of the business, but the slogan as well, followed by giving their name and asking "how may I help you?"
If you spruce up your business enough to make it an interesting topic of conversation, your customers will even talk you up to strangers they meet. Your reputation will travel by work of mouth.
Instead of you looking to find new customers, they will be finding you. And on top of that, their lifetime value will be much greater by your building the greater value into your business. This happens just by catering to your current customers rather than doing the usual routine of chasing after new ones.
That is why you will never lack if you keep your customers coming back.