Businesses spend lots of time and money in gaining new customers. Just look at how many ads are on the TV, radio, in the newspapers, on the Internet, billboards, sports sponsorships and on and on.
All of these things can work in their own way but much of the money spent is probably wasted but which part? Who knows?
One of the things that I have found in business though, is that all too often we are concerned about getting new customers but may forget the ones that we already have. Very few businesses will only sell to a customer once in their lifetime and so should endeavor to build a good relationship so that the customer will come back for more.
This should start with the very first meeting with the customer, whether that is face to face on the phone or the website they visit. The customer must feel important and valued. They want good service and to be treated well. They buy and they are happy. However now comes the really important part if you want to make sure that they come back.
Keep in touch with your customers! People can forget you even when you are good!
Collect the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses and form create a database. For businesses on the Internet this is easy because customers need to give you these details to buy their goods. It will be much more difficult in a grocery store but not impossible. Where customers will not give you their address normally you could organize a free prize draw where customers have to fill out a card that will collect this information so that you can notify the winner. Make sure you comply with local laws about data and prize draws.
Having a memorable business phone number can also be of advantage to your company. Non-geo numbers like 0845 numbers are not only memorable numbers but also can help your business create a better image to attract more customers nation-wide…
What are you going to do with all this information? Here is a warning: Do not be tempted to blast out sales leaflets!
The best way to build a good relationship with these people who after all are already your customers is to produce a quality newsletter that you can post or email to them. In this newsletter tell them about things that will interest them that in some way tie in with your business. For example a grocer could have an article on growing vegetables including recipes and you may sneak in a special offer discount voucher connected to the products in the article.
This will generate interest in those products without a direct “in your face” come and buy my product advertisement.
In my business as a mortgage broker, I buy in a professionally written newsletter that has varied articles. For example, articles about house prices, property maintenance, the need for life insurance, understanding mortgages and so forth. I can guarantee that when I send these out by post that within a few days I will have customers asking me for information which will result in more business. The newsletter is a reminder that I am waiting for their call. Quite often the newsletter also produces referrals as the customers who receive the newsletter tell their friends and family about my business. However more about referrals in another post!
Keeping customers is all about building and maintaining a relationship between you, your business and the customer. If your business is large still try to develop a personal relationship between people in your business and the customer so always have letters / emails written from individuals rather than just the business name.
The time spent on this will more than repay itself and will be far more cost effective than any advertising campaign. Therefore build your database, keep in touch with customers and watch your business.