All managers and business owners know that repeat business is half the cost of attracting new customers. There are millions of dollars spent every year by brands and companies to retain customers. These dollars are spent in market research, product development, advertising and other brand related activities such that the customer remains in awe of the company.
As long as the company invests in customer retention, the customers will be happy with the company. So what are the various tactics and strategies you can implement to get repeat business from customers? and how can you retain them with your brand? Here are 8 tactics to get repeat business from customers.
1) Give excellent service the first time – Most of your customers will become repeat customers if you give them excellent service the first time itself. This is because while giving you an order, the customer will be apprehensive about placing order with you. What if you break his trust? But by giving good service the first time, you are gaining the customers trust. And the better service that you give each time, more will be the customers trust on you and he will become a repeat customer for your business. Thus good service first time means repeat business in the future.
2) Hire the right people – You need people in the front end who are smart at handling angry or demotivated customers. At the same time, you need the right people in the back end who can help you meet customer expectations. An excellent front end customer representative, combined with the good work done by the back end, can result in customer delight, which is the goal you should be aiming for if you want repeat business from customers.
3) Talk about future requirements during closure itself – Always know a client’s requirement beforehand. For example, if a client is buying 10 units of air conditioners, than ask him will he require more in the future. At the same time, does he require service contracts for old ac’s lying with him. Thus during closure itself you will get an answer of whether the customer can become a repeat customer. Your job now will be to follow up with the customer on time and whenever he had said he will need the second lot of products.
4) Follow up in the near future – The above step takes us to the next most important point – follow up. Please don’t think that the customer will come to you by himself. It might be that first time service was improper and customer is regretting hiring you. Or already the customer has received quotations for the next job from someone else. By being complacent and not following up with customers, you will probably lose very valuable repeat business. You can be one step ahead of your competitors by hiring dedicated manpower in office just for follow up with customers. This will lead to further word of mouth for your company which will bring in more customers.
5) Use technology and be personal (but do not intrude personal space) – I had a fantastic experience with a small tours and travels company who were the epitome of customer service. The guy who was managing our tour was constantly in touch through watsapp and emails and had done everything proper. Once we returned from the tour, we got mails from him once a week about future offers which sounded very enticing. In all this time, we never thought of any other guide. His service was so exemplary that we thought of hiring him again.
The lesson here is that you should use technology to your advantage. This tour guide was beating top companies just because of watsapp and email and being in touch personally. Such small steps can make a huge business provided you always give the required importance to a customer.
6) Go out of your way for user convenience – Customer loyalty will not be built by being normal or giving regular service. Customer loyalty is built when you go out of the way for the customer and give a really personalized service. I once entered a restaurant where we wanted to have a dish but it wasn’t in the menu. We requested the manager whether we could have that dish as the recipe was simple. The manager went out of the way to bring in the chef, get the idea of how we would like the dish and then served it within minutes. You can imagine how many times we went back to that restaurant just because of the service.
Top automobile manufacturer’s realize that they need to go out of the way to satisfy customers. Examples include companies like Harley Davidson, BMW and other manufacturers. These companies realize the importance of customization and personalization as tools to make customers happy. And thus they provide the best service to their customer.
7) Generate references through existing customers – This is not direct repeat business, but rather, you are increasing the customers lifetime value by getting more customers for yourself. You can always ask an existing customer for references. The existing customer will give references ONLY when he is happy with your service. Otherwise he will not support word of mouth for your brand or service.
8) Maintain a database / CRM system – The reason why domino’s as a pizza chain was able to prosper is because of its database. Each and every customer is cataloged as per their mobile number. Their last order is maintained in the database. And when you call domino’s, they already know the delivery address because that too is stored in the database. So for a company which is into pizza delivery, domino’s is doing a fantastic job by maintaining its database.
Small business firms can benefit even more from a CRM system. The more existing clients you have, the more promotions you can do to your limited set of clientele. These clientele Will also generate references for you through forwarding your mailers to people they know. Similarly you can run various tactics when you have a limited database which will ultimately attract more customers and ensure that the existing customers remain repeat customers.
Overall, all of the above points come down to one simple thing – Taking care of your customer. If you take proper care of your customer, give him proper attention and give him excellent and personal service, the customer should ideally remain a repeat customer throughout his life. And customers who give repeat business are the most profitable customers for the company.