Don Resh asked:
The formula for success for any business is to make your customers stick with you. It’s a proven fact that the real value of a new customer isn’t in the first sale, but in the continued relationship, with that customer either buying from you again and again or buying more from you as you introduce new products and services just for them.
The following tips will help you retain your customers and get into the position where you can sell them anything because what you offer is exactly what they need.
Stay in contact with customers on a regular basis. Customers don’t want to feel abandoned. So, offer them a free e-zine subscription. Ask customers if they want to be updated by e-mail when you make changes to your web site. Don’t guess. After every sale, follow-up with the customer to see if they are satisfied with their purchase.
Ask your customers questions. When you are working with your customers, it is important to constantly ask them what you can do better or what else they need. You’ll be amazed at how many of your customers have the same needs. It may only take a little work to be able to provide a service or product that meets the exact need.
A simple questionnaire when they buy from you may be able to give you a good insight into what they may need soon. You could also set up a forum where customers can discuss your products and make suggestions for what they’d like to see in the future.
Have a web site that is easy to navigate. Create a website where the customer must see all your products before they can leave. Add a frequently asked questions page and explain anything that might confuse your customers or visitors. Follow up with an electronic survey with questions on how to increase your site’s user-friendliness.
Resolve your customers’ complaints quickly and successfully. Answer all e-mail and phone calls within an hour. If possible, you, as the owner of the business, should personally take care of the problem. Never take a customer for granted. This will show your customers you really care about them.
Make it easy for your customers to contact you. Offer as many contact methods as possible. Allow customers to contact you by e-mail. Hyperlink your e-mail address so customers won’t have to type it. Offer toll free numbers for phone and fax contacts.
Give your customers more than they expect. Send thank you gifts to lifetime customers. Humans like to be treated as if they are special, and they will return to businesses where they have had these positive experiences. E-mail them online greeting cards on holidays or birthdays.
Be polite to your customers. Use the words “You’re welcome,” “Please,” and “Thank you.” Be polite to your customers even if they are being irate with you. Always apologize to your customers if you make a mistake. Admit your mistakes quickly and make it up to them in a big way.
Recognize positive feedback. Whenever your company receives a letter from a customer commending an employee’s performance, always contact the customer immediately and thank him or her for taking the time to send a positive word. Typically, most companies drop everything to respond to negative feedback. Remember that customers complain more than they praise. When a customer takes the time to extend kind words, it is imperative to respond and share the feedback with your entire staff.
Reward customers a point for every one dollar they spend. It’s best to reward customers by offering special value on products or services you regularly provide. Let’s say customers can get a free computer for 300 points. That means customers will spend $300 dollars on your products and services to get enough points to get the free computer. To push slower-selling products or services, just offer more points per dollar spent for those particular items. The kind of rewards you give should depend on what your business can afford. Cheaper rewards could be gift certificates, coupons, or movie passes. Expensive rewards could be jewelry, vacations, gift certificates, or computer equipment. People remember the nice touches.
Build strong relationships with your customers. Invite them to company meetings, luncheons, workshops or seminars. Create special events for your customers like parties, barbecue’s, dances etc. This will make them feel important when you include them in regular business operations and special events.
I hope these ideas I’ve given you help make your business more successful.