When you’re a large business, you can afford to lose customers. Offering a diverse range of products to customers all around the world, the simple fact is you’re never going to please everyone, but when you have a turnover of a few million dollars per year, losing the occasional customer isn’t going to have too much of an impact on your operations.
As a small business, however, the effects are greatly magnified and if you rely on each and every customer who enters your store or who makes a purchase on your website, when a handful of them don’t come back and they aren’t replaced, it can have a devastating impact on your financial position.
Therefore, it’s extremely important you do everything you can to ensure your customers return time and time again and these points should help get you on track to start being able to do just that.
Give customers space to breath, but have any information they need readily available
Consumers don’t like the hard sell. For years it was a regular occurrence right around the world and although it still happens throughout the country in certain industries, more and more organisations are becoming savvy to consumers’ growing needs of a more relaxed approach to business.
Whilst you shouldn’t stand completely back from any customers who, for example, enter your store, expecting them to make a decision about buying a product on their own, you shouldn’t stand over them either and bombard them with information. Instead, simply welcome them into your store and make sure any information they want is available or can be easily provided.
The prime example of the way this works best is if you take a look at a bazaar in somewhere such as Turkey or Egypt. You’ll see dozens of store owners acting almost as your shadow as you look around their store, as they believe they need to be pushing products under your nose to get you to buy them – this simply doesn’t work.
Occasionally, however, you’ll find a store where there is no hassle. No pushy sales people and no hard sell, just a relaxed shopping environment. These are not only the stores you are drawn to, but they’re the ones that stick in your mind and are the ones you want to return to time and time again.
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Don’t forget to use basic manners
It might seem like something that’s overly simplistic, but you’ll be surprised at how many members of staff don’t use basic manners when interacting with a customer. It doesn’t cost a thing to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’, but as soon as you don’t use these basic phrases, your customers will pick up on it and no doubt ask themselves why they should return to a ‘rude’ store.
Make sure customers remember you – in a good way
Out of all of the other organisations in your industry, you need to be certain that as soon as a customer has shopped with you once, they aren’t tempted to try elsewhere and you therefore need to do your utmost to ensure your customers remember your business.
Do you offer an exceptional level of customer service? What about providing products at prices which are generally low or competitive, without any promotions? Perhaps you can throw in a few free items for customers when they make a big purchase?
Whatever you do – and it doesn’t need to be something extravagant or over the top – you need to feel confident that your customers will remember you, as if you want to simply blend in with the crowd, this is exactly what will happen when your customers try to remember you – they’ll see a general business with no ‘wow’ factor and then decide to go to any store to get the products they need, when the truth is their custom could be yours.
Getting customers to return time and time again to your business is not something that’s easy to do, especially as industries are rapidly growing and are therefore becoming more competitive. It’s by no means an impossibility, however and you simply need to ensure you always deliver a service to your customers that is of benefit first and foremost to them. There are numerous pointers under this umbrella term, as shown above and you should be able to increase your returning customer rate considerably by simply delivering any techniques or processes that improve the customer experience.
This post was originally featured on June 12, 2012.