How to build long lasting relationships with your customers

If you want to grow a profitable business, it’s important to attract new customers. But what too many small business owners overlook is the importance of ensuring those customers come back again.

Long term customers spend more than new customers. It also costs you less to keep a loyal customer than it does to win over someone new.

But now do you ensure than a healthy percentage of any new customers you acquire buy from you again?

In order to encourage people to come back, you need to develop relationships with your customers. And to help you do this, here are four suggestions.

1) Focus on customer service

If you want to encourage your customers to come back and buy from you again, you need to provide excellent customer service.

If you have a team working for you, make sure you hire people who are friendly and demonstrate a good understanding of customer service. These employees will automatically know how to relate to customers, especially if a problem arises.

Speaking of problems, have a strategy to handle customer complaints professionally. Things will inevitably go wrong at some point. How you handle a dissatisfied customer can make a big difference to whether they decide to buy from you again.

2) Start a loyalty program

Everyone loves a deal. So encourage repeat business by creating a loyalty program for your customers.

A loyalty program rewards them for purchases by offering deals, discounts, gifts, offers or privileges. You can establish a system that rewards purchases over a certain amount, or gives points for every purchase.

Loyalty programs can even be as simple as a card you stamp every time they make a purchase – giving them a free purchase once the card is full.

3) Increase brand awareness

You are more than just a business selling a particular product or offering a service – you are a brand. And customers build emotional connections to (and, importantly, stay loyal to) brands. So it’s important to increase your brand awareness if you want to encourage repeat business.

Start with the name of your company and your logo. Your name should be easy to spell and remember. So not only will they remember you, but they can easily search for your website or social media profiles, and recommend you to friends.

And invest in creating a memorable logo. It needs to be recognizable and appropriate to what your business offers and the kind of customers you want to attract. Use your logo everywhere – on bags and napkins, as well as on your website, social media profiles, and any paperwork.

4) Interact with your customers

Let your customers know you care about their experience by actively asking for their feedback. Encourage them to leave you reviews and ratings, and invite feedback – you can even incentivise them to fill out a customers satisfaction form with a free draw.

Ask them about their whole experience – from the atmosphere and decor of your business (if you have a bricks and mortar business), to the service, online experience, staff friendliness, delivery… everything!

And don’t forget to act on any feedback you get. If a customer has had a poor experience, get in touch and try to resolve and make up for it. Use any negative feedback as an opportunity to improve your business and show that you genuinely care that you’re offering your customers the best.

Photo by Patrick Amoy