Look across almost every industry in business and you find that they are focused on growth. Increasing revenue by driving sales. The big question is how? How much attention should the business owner’s focus be on acquiring new business? How much time and money do they need to spend on advertising? These are all great questions and important ones. The most successful businesses, however, are not only focused on acquiring new customers to drive sales. They are focused on bringing back repeat customers.
Think about a business where you love to shop. How many times do you shop or purchase there on a given week or month? Do the math for how much you spend in a year. You should arrive at a fairly good sum of money. Now multiply that by 10 (years) that is the value you bring to that business. Just you. Imagine hundreds of other loyal customers. That’s a lot of sales, all from established loyal customers. Statistically speaking it costs 5-25 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. Which means you could be saving on advertising costs by shifting a portion of your time and resources toward increasing customer value.
Most people will have to see an advertisement seven to nine times before they will think about purchasing a product. That’s an average of eight separate ads running at the same time. Not cheap by any means. However, what does it take to keep a customer loyal? Relationship building. If you are visiting a favorite business weekly or monthly chances are that business did a few things to keep you coming back. Here is a simple list of customer-oriented actions successful businesses use to build and keep customers coming back. Consistency of customer service, experience, quality of the product, and customer appreciation all play important factors in building and sustaining customer relationships. Consistency is the common denominator among all of these actions. It only takes one bad experience with a poor response to lose a loyal customer. Most loyal customers are willing to forgive a business that makes a mistake but the business must be willing to put in the effort, it’s like any other relationship.
When beginning to decide on how to build customer relationships and keep them alive and well think about this. Your customers have interests, needs, and wants. Sometimes those are not directly tied to your business. Your job as a customer relationship expert is to help your customers understand those needs and meet them. That takes effort to go above and beyond for each customer. This is usually easier when you are first starting your business. Your first hundred customers should be treated like royalty. Remember their interests, likes, and dislikes. Send them a thank card for being a stellar customer. Always ask how you can make their experience better. These are all ways to make them feel appreciated. As you grow these actions may not be as easy to implement but the intention should always be there when you interact with a new or repeat customer.
“Business Tips” was written by Alejandro Castañon, Business Development Specialist of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the ASU · SBDC, contact him at Alejandro.Castanon@angelo.edu.