The key to any successful business is to get repeat customers. Your business can profit greatly if you increase the number of loyal customers you have. Getting that loyalty will take some work on your part but it will be well worth it because they will even buy items when you are not holding a big sale.
Why Loyal Customers Matter
You can always expect new customers to come in when you have a special event or sale. They are attracted to the lower prices and may want to see what you have in stock and to just look around. Since you are unlikely to have sales every week (unless you are a grocery store or large retailer), you need to have an ongoing income when you are not promoting a sale.
Developing a large base of regular customers will enable you to get through the difficult seasons. It will help to keep your business in the black and out of debt. Some ways that you can expand your customer base include:
Develop Personal Relationships with Your Customers
Not many businesses today get to know their customers. When they enter your place of business, or if you interact with them on the phone, take a minute or two to learn more about them. Let them know that you value their business. You can briefly chat with them about their children, health, or the products they purchased. Send them birthday cards or emails when that time of year comes around.
Provide a Customer Loyalty Program
This type of program allows your loyal customers the opportunity to get special deals. These deals are only for them and it will make them feel appreciated. These deals can be announced via email or snail mail if you do not have an email address.
A customer loyalty program can be conducted in many ways. You can issue credit cards that build points toward free purchases or issue a punch card that entitles a card owner to get a free product after so many purchases have been made. Special opportunities, such as games or holiday sales, can also be given that will enable them to earn extra points.
Offer Payment Plans to Help Your Customers
If you have seasons when you are busy followed by slow ones, you may offer payment plans to meet your customers’ needs. You can accept payments in advance of needs in such cases as weddings, trips, holiday shopping, and more. The advantage of this approach is that it will enable more customers to do business with you and it will also provide you with a more stable income through the year.
Have Great Customer Service
Train and retrain your employees to put your customers first. Customers are glad for great service and they will let others know where they are appreciated and treated with respect. They will quickly stop going to a business where they are not treated right or appreciated.
Good customer service should always include a smile with the service. One study conducted in the U.K. discovered that this little action – which costs nothing – resulted in shoppers spending more than 65 percent more than those who did not receive a proper greeting.