Here’s an age-old question: How do I gain customers and keep them? We’ve all thought about this long and hard. The answers are simpler than you might think! Try these 10 tips for keeping your current customers loyal while attracting new ones.
1. Speak their language.
A customer’s favorite word is free. While giving your product out for free might not be the best idea economically, offering a free estimate, free review, or free phone consultation is a genius idea. Try using these eye-grabbing words in your marketing or on signs to get customers’ attention: free, new, instantly, save, proven, and guarantee.
2. Surprise them.
Starbucks keeps customers for many different reasons, but one is their giving attitude toward their customers. For example: if the barista makes an extra drink, instead of throwing it out, he offers it to the next customer in line. That kind of generosity immediately brings a smile to the coffee-lover’s face and keeps them coming back. Bonus: it prompts them to tweet about it, thereby giving Starbucks free publicity.
3. Slow down.
Nobody likes to be rushed—especially not your customers. Take time with them to learn what their needs are so you can meet them—and exceed them. When a customer says he needs a new tool set, talk to him and find out why, what kind, who it’s for. Learning more about your customer takes time, but it’s well worth it. When a company works hard to deliver quality over speed, they’re more likely to care about their customers and keep them.
Interested in the data? Check out this study by the Gallup Group.
4. Reward them.
A loyalty program is one of the best ways to keep customers coming in for more. Whether you’re selling cupcakes, clothing or hardware, the loyalty card gives customers an incentive to buy more. The most interesting rewards are where customers reach a certain amount and get a freebie! To learn more about offering an incentive program, try Paladin’s Rich Rewards program.
5. Get old-fashioned.
Sure, it’s easier to just send an email, but what if you stepped it up a notch and sent your loyal customers a thank-you note? That goes a long way! It’s unexpected, and it’s a memorable gesture. Slip your business card in and perhaps something promotional, like a magnet. Make sure they are handwritten, proofread, and sent promptly after a significant purchase.
6. Be prepared.
Have a “Goof Kit” to send to customers if you make a mistake. Was there a misunderstanding with customer service? An unsatisfied client? It’s easy to think that losing one person will be fine. It’s scarier to think of what a dissatisfied customer will tell others.
It’s important to learn how to bring customers back if you lose them. Your “Goof Kit” could include a freebie, a handwritten apology note, and a promotional item. Be honest, be authentic, and admit the problem. Let them know you care.
7. Eliminate the hassles.
Domino’s perfected online ordering by eliminating the “inconvenience” of making a call to order a pizza. Now, pizza buyers can customize their pizza, track its creation and delivery, and even leave notes of encouragement for their pizza makers. Not only did this fun experience bring in more customers, it kept them. Make a list of your potential hassles and solve them in fun or interesting ways.
How are you supposed to know what’s working and what isn’t if you don’t ask? Keep your surveys short and practical. Sign up for KwikSurveys, SurveyMonkey, or SurveyGizmo. If your customers aren’t computer-driven, print out a survey and leave it near the cash register. Offer a prize or discount in return for the best surveys. Incentives will help you receive feedback.
9. Offer a referral discount.
Banks love to offer money to their current customers if they refer a friend who actually sets up a bank account. Giving $25 to an already-loyal customer is cheaper than advertising—plus, it brings in more customers. Think of a referral program you could use for your company to keep your customers loyal and bring in more.
10. Revamp. Rebrand. Rethink.
Technology changes every day, and it’s imperative to stay up-to-date. Does your website need to be revamped? Does your ad copy represent your brand to its full potential? Do you keep your social media sites updated? Take a hard look at your company on the web and see where you can make it better. Be objective: as a customer, how does the content (website, social media, written copy) solve her problems? Can your customer find the product or answer they’re looking for? It’s always a good idea to analyze and rethink the available resources.
These are just a few ideas that will help you improve your customer service. Remember, the better you are at keeping existing customers happy, the less you have to work at attracting new ones. Happy customers will do that for you.
So which tip will you use first? Any other customer-attracting tips come to mind? Let us know in the comments below!
Post written by: Shayla Eaton