Your existing customers are your most valuable asset. This is because it’s easier and far less expensive to get an existing customer to buy off you again than to find new customers.
So here are 8 ways to gain repeat business from existing customers, or to get your customers to think more positively about your business. The golden rule for success in business is to get your customers to believe that they are more important to you than anyone else.
Because small businesses are very diverse, not all these tactics will be relevant to your particular business. But many will be, so make a commitment NOW to try at least ONE, if not more, of these tactics.
Please also note that most of these ideas involve using your database of customers so make sure that you comply with the Privacy Act.
- Send a thank-you letter within two days of the customer buying off you. If at all possible, send a note the next day.
- Send an offer of a product or service that’s related to what they bought, usually after one month. Offer a discount or special deal. If you don’t have any complementary products or services, then find a business that does and offer their products. Then get that business to do something similar with their customers, but this time with your products or services as the offer.
- If you sell products (such as printers) that use consumables, use your database date-of-sale records to predict when they might be ready to buy these consumables so that you can send them a ‘special offer’. Use the same technique for products that have a definite use-by date (such as timing the letter for when a lease arrangement on equipment is about to expire and newer technology is available).
- Send out a questionnaire once every three to six months to see what your customers now want, and to see if your market has changed. Use the feedback to update your database and refine your product and services mix.
- If you have a small number of highly loyal customers, then nurture those relationships by sending birthday and Christmas cards to them
- Try a telemarketing exercise. Ring up the customer with a brief message about a special or new product they may like to try. If possible make the offer free, or offer some incentive that provides a genuine saving or deal for existing customers only.
- Send out a regular or email newsletter to your customers (even once every six months). Inform them about what is happening in your industry, community or area. Give tips relating to whatever business you are in. If you run out of ideas, then contact another business to share the newsletter (you can also share costs). Note: an email newsletter costs only a fraction of a conventionally printed and posted newsletter and the Internet offers a huge resource of useful information.
- Run a customer contest that only existing customers can enter. This rewards them for being your customer — not the competition’s.
There you have it! 8 simple ways to get repeat business that you can look to implement immediately within your business!