- Posted by Sue
- On 4th February 2019
When it comes to marketing for a great many businesses the strategy is to generate new customers at a faster rate than their present customers drop off. A strategy guaranteed to put a strain on cash flow, profits and it will also certainly produce a fair amount of stress and sleepless nights.
A much better way is to consider the idea of customers for life. You have done all the hard work to get them to know like and trust you so why let them slip through your fingers?
Here are just three low cost ideas that if implemented correctly will keep your customers coming back time and time again:
- Give outstanding service – You may be thinking “Well we already do that” most people do, yet if you were to ask your customers what level of service do they perceive they are getting it would probably not be a the level you think you are providing. This is a concept commonly known as perceived indifference. I sometimes ask business owners to rate the level of service they are getting out in the marketplace and they will give a score which is much lower than the level they perceive they are giving to their own customers. One of the main challenges here is the fact that some businesses do offer outstanding customer service and then because they may consider themselves to be the best they get complacent. Competitors will always be snapping away at your heels in effort to catch up and overtake your levels of service. You can never stand still in business you’re either growing or dying and this is particularly true when it comes to service. I like the analogy of walking against an escalator if you keep moving you stay in place, stop moving and you are going backwards. So a permanent focus on improving the customer experience and giving outstanding service will mean customers will be compelled to return time and time again.
- Have a loyalty program – Most of us will have a loyalty card in our purse/wallet for instance; frequent flyer, supermarket, restaurants etc. The reason they work so well is because they are a constant reminder to shop somewhere and the fact that you do shop there means you are going to get rewarded. What’s at work here is a concept known as Operand Conditioning. This is a form of conditioning that is based on the fact that as humans when we gain a reward it produces endorphins in the brain that make us ‘feel good’ and when we feel good we want more of that, so the tendency is to shop at the same place. Consider what kind of loyalty program you could put in place, these may include; a free purchase for every xyz purchased or number of visits, reward points towards future purchases, using some kind of BOGOFF concept. It is entirely up to you what program you put in place, just make sure you have one and all your customers are aware of it. One caveat here; watch out again for complacency. It is possible that customers stick with you because of the loyalty program and not because of the level of service you are providing
- Communicate continually – I can almost guarantee that 100% of your customers will not be aware of 100% of the products/services you supply. By having regular communication with your customers you can educate them on your whole range. How many times have you heard “I didn’t know you did that?” it is a dangerous way to do business because if your customers are using one of your competitors to purchase a product they didn’t know you offered you are giving your competitors the opportunity to impress and entice your customers away from you. Email, newsletters, blog posts, social media, videos, direct mail and the telephone are just some of the platforms you can choose to deliver the message. You just need to choose your platforms and have a plan in place to keep regular contact with your customers to let them know what is available.