The greatest superpower that small business owners have is excellent service. With incredible service comes repeat customers and referred customers who also become repeat customers.
By providing a delightful customer experience, people remember positive interactions with your small business and eventually return to your business again and again.
There are several essential ways to generate repeat customers, so you can start seeing familiar faces return as soon as next week.
Use Personal Forms of Communication (as well as traditional)
These suggestions assume that you are actively collecting emails and phone numbers to re-engage your customers with future updates, promotions, and news about your business.
Email is still the preferred medium for customer communication. Functionally, it works great. You can let customers know about your most recent deals, promotions, and new products. Frequent emails put you at risk of being perceived as cold, disconnected, or formal.
SMS marketing (also known as text marketing) can prove to be a powerhouse for customer engagement, assuming they have opted-in for it. With an open rate of nearly 99%, SMS messaging puts your business message right where your customer is looking all the time – their phone.
Don’t forget to add personalization to your campaigns. You want your customers to know you are thinking of them. It’s as simple as selecting the ‘First Name’ field into your outgoing messages and using their first name instead of just “Hey” or “Hello,” or “Hi.”
And it can make an immediate good impression.
Remember the customer
You can personalize the experience for your customer simply by remembering small details about them. For example, if they mentioned they have children or grandchildren – ask how they are doing during their next visit. Are they dog lovers? Maybe ask them how their dog is doing. These gestures are such simple things to do, but they make a huge difference. It is moments like these that make customers want to return to your business.
Reach out to customers you haven’t heard from in a while
Many customers purchase from you once or twice (almost a repeat customer), then you never hear from them again. Life gets in the way. To re-capture these customers, find out who has gone quiet and reach out to them with a re-engagement offer. Send them a friendly email or text to remind them that you care and want to serve them more of what they came for in the first place.
Remember: You should never prioritize acquiring new customers over satisfying existing ones.
Because it can cost up to five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an existing one. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your existing customer base is already loyal to you and doesn’t need to be treated with the same fantastic service they’ve come to know and love. It doesn’t matter if they’re a brand new or long-term customer you need to give them a reason to come back
Customer churn is a silent killer of small businesses. (That is, how many customers use your business once and never return.) When you incentivize old customers to come back with excellent service, reasonable offers, and tangible rewards for repeat customers, you’ll unlock an immense force for business growth.
Being there for a customer when they need you is imperative to whether or not they become a repeat buyer. 90% of customers rate an immediate response (30 minutes or less) as essential to their questions and inquiries. (Per Hubspot).
Gone are the days of “Call us for more details….” Your customers will bombard you with questions and comments from various channels nowadays – phone, email, website forms and chat, social media platforms, and more
To achieve the illusion of an all-seeing, spotless customer experience, your staff needs to be always present on these platforms. But don’t worry, that’s what Social Media Dashboards like Buffer and Agora Pulse do. You can handle all communication and engagement for all your social media platforms through them.
Customer Loyalty Programs = Gold Mines
The most effective way to generate repeat customers for your small business is an attractive customer loyalty program. The right loyalty program can skyrocket your sales, so make sure you do your research ahead of time and choose a program that works best for your business. Examples of a high-performing loyalty program include:
- Offer First-Time Purchase Discounts to Customers
- Present Offers in Exchange for ‘Reward Points’
- Celebrate Customer Birthdays with Discounts/Coupons
- Give Out Rewards for Referrals
Using a CRM to Make This All Possible
What’s a CRM?
CRM is short for ‘customer relationship management software,’ and it’s a tool business use to manage potential and existing customers. Some initial benefits include:
- Simplify your lead management process (never lose out on a potential sale by not remembering every encounter).
- Get data-driven insights about your customer base (what they like, dislike, and purchase habits).
- Make your sales process more efficient (keep on top of customers who need a little push to buy).
- Provide a better customer experience (by providing news, updates, and even support in real-time from your CRM.)
- Increasing your productivity as a small business owner (saving you money & time.)
The most reputable and effective CRM software will only set you back between $50-200 per month. However, there are free alternatives as well as higher-priced options as well. Ultimately, a CRM is the backbone of the modern digital business, and it’s the secret recipe for establishing a network of repeat customers.
Here are five ways in which a CRM could help your small business generate repeat visitors:
- Circling back: a CRM will keep your customers in the loop. If you’re savvy enough to have the next few months planned out with sales and promotions, you can set up automated campaigns (email & SMS) that inform your customers on exact dates about your deals.
- Valuing the new customers: with customer data being tracked in a CRM, at the click of a button, you can see what products are hot in the past week, month or year and keep track of individual customers’ specific buying habits.
- Email marketing campaigns: you can use a CRM to send out bulk emails to customers who have opted in to your communication, and most reputable CRM programs will allow you to personalize these campaigns (addressing them by their first name, sending out a discount on their birthday, etc.)
Exceptional Customer service is the key.
Customer service is the key to the survival and upkeep of your business, and it’s likely the single most crucial element to achieving repeat customers.
Your ability to connect with customers (beyond their point of purchase – meaning when they no longer matter financially, you need to treat them like they’re family) demonstrates your dedication to their needs and goals as customers.
This caring is how you earn a customer’s business, repeatedly, time and time again. And referrals too.
No small business has ever failed because they have too many repeat customers. Invest in a CRM to boost your small business this year and pair that with a loyalty program. Once you have everything set up, you will have the data you need to re-engage old customers and treat your repeat customers like royalty – this is the only formula for success you will ever need.
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