The greatest superpower that small business owners have is great 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.
In this article, we will reveal a number of important 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 you are actively collecting emails & phone numbers to re-engage your customers with future updates, promotions & 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 – but at the risk of being cold. You might be coming off disconnected and 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 into your campaigns. You want your customers to know they are thought about. It’s as simple as selecting the ‘First Name’ field into your outgoing messages and using their first name instead of just “Hey”, “Hello”, or “Hi”.
… And 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 about how they are doing during their next visit. Are they dog lovers? Maybe ask them how their dog is doing. This is such a simple thing to do, but it makes a huge difference. Moments like these make customers want to return to your business.
Reach out to customers you haven’t heard from in a while
There are also plenty of customers who 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 5 times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an existing one. Don’t assume that your existing customer base is already loyal to your brand and doesn’t need to be treated with the same fantastic service they’ve come to know and love. No 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 great service, good offers and strong rewards for being 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 important or very important 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 a variety of channels nowadays. Phone, email, website forms & chat, social media platforms & more!
In order to achieve the illusion of an all-seeing, spotless customer experience, your staff need to be present on these platforms at all times. But don’t worry, that’s what Social Media Dashboards like Buffer and Agora Pulse are for. You can handle all communication & engagement through these for all of your social media platforms.
Customer Loyalty Programs = Gold Mines
Undoubtedly the most effective way to generate repeat customers for your small business is an attractive customer loyalty program. The right royalty 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
Wait…What’s a CRM?
CRM is short for ‘customer relationship management’ software and it’s a tool businesses use to manage potential and existing customers. We use Ontraport in our agency. Some initial benefits include:
- Simplifying your lead management process (never lose out on a potential sale by remembering every encounter!)
- Getting data-driven insights about your customer base (what they like, dislike and what their purchasing habits are.)
- Making your sales process more efficient (keep on top of customers who just need a little push to buy.)
- Providing 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.)
Most reputable & effective CRM software will only set you back between $50-200 per month. Although 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’s 5 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 automatic 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 into 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.
I can’t be more serious when I say that customer service is imperative to the survival and upkeep of your business, and it’s likely the single most important 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 is how you earn a customer’s business, repeatedly time & 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 setup, 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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Linda Musselwhite is an author, speaker and co-owner of Musselwhite Marketing (est 2009). Linda’s previous positions as Human Resources Administrator. Combined with extraordinary customer service makes her the obvious choice of day to day operations for Musselwhite Marketing.
Connect with Linda on LinkedIn.