by Neil Jones
Businesses in the real world and online, would be inclined to believe that once a customer, always a customer. But the old time notion of loyalty to a brand, store or a website no longer holds true. While trust and personal interaction do play a role, but it can no longer be assumed that a customer will continue to buy from you. Repeat business and a loyal clientele are dependent on a series of factors and a lot of concerted effort to woo customers. It is a battle that is won by those who have mastered the art of keeping customers so happy that they keep returning for more. It is now well known to all businesses that acquiring customers does not happen without incurring expenses, and having them come for repeat purchases also costs money. For online businesses, this comes in the form of internet marketing expenses and auction site fees, and for others, it is expenses incurred on advertising and publicity.
It would indeed be naïve on the part of a business to think that a customer has already come to them, and knows them well enough and is sure to return. There is no way to guarantee his return unless a few steps are taken. Some of these include:
- Remind the customer about your existence and that you want him back- Customers, like all humans, love to feel wanted. They would like to be approached by a business and be convinced that they are wanted back. They need some kind of signal or message be it an email newsletter, a blog post, new information on your website or a friendly greeting on a special occasion. Any of these, will please the customer and make him feel special.
- They like to asked for feedback and inputs- Customers may not say so, or even complain, but the truth is that they would like to be asked for their opinion about a product, its performance and quality, and whether they have been satisfied with it. An unhappy customer will feel gratified if the business owner reassures him of a better product or service the next time, or make an attempt to rectify problems if possible. A phone call or an email from him can go a long way in clinching a repeat purchase.
- Reliability matters to all customers- This is a golden rule for all customers-they always like to buy from people and places they consider reliable. If a mistake is made, efforts to rectify it, a humane apology and a phone call or mail admitting the mistake and fixing it, help to win a customer’s forgiveness. If an order does not reach on time, offer a discount, and see them happy. A general, cold email sent I bulk does not impress any customer, and you can be sure he will never come back.
- You have to be different- Customers like to buy brands that are unique, and shop from places that are different, or rather places that stand out in some form. Brands are special for the quality they represent, and businesses stand out for the packaging of their goods and services. It is this packaging that customers remember and return time and again. Packaging includes the entire shopping experience. Stand out among the rest, and your customers will never abandon you.
- Sell products that are not a one-time purchase- If the products you sell are the kind that are bought once in a lifetime, the question of a repeat visit from a customer will not arise. Make sure that the range of products you sell generate a demand for others in your product list, so that customers can keep coming back for the next requirement.
Getting a customer is half the battle, retaining them over time alone ensures that it is a battle won.
Author:- This is a guest post by Neil Jones who is head of marketing for eMobileScan, one of Europe’s largest online retailers of handheld computers and barcode scanners, including the Symbol MC70 and Motorola MC9090