During the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season, it can be easy to focus on generating as much new business as possible. But don’t shortchange your business by forgetting to do some of these basics to help you create loyal customers not just during times of peak interest, but throughout the year.
Here are seven must-dos to make the most out of each new customer you get.
1) Get Their Email Address!
Landing a new customer is an important task for any business, but it’s also critical to make sure you can easily stay in touch with them to keep your business top of mind. The best and easiest way to do this? Request (or confirm) their email address when they purchase. This critical step is easy to overlook but incredibly powerful, so make sure you have a system in place and train your team on how to collect the email address of every new customer.
2) Get Their Feedback
How was your new customer’s experience with your business? What did they love? What could use improvement? What additional products or services might they be interested in? Once you’ve got new customer email addresses you can easily send a follow up email asking them to fill out a customer service questionnaire to help you continually improve your business.
3) Share a Next-Visit Offer
Want to entice new customers to come back? Give them a good reason – like an offer, coupon, or reward. Encouraging repeat business through a coupon can be a great way to build the habit of purchasing from you and help cement you as a preferred provider in the mind of your customers.
4) Send a Newsletter & Offer Emails
Keep your business top of mind through using drip marketing such as a monthly newsletter, regular offers, and emails with useful, helpful content that helps your customers get more value out of your products and services. For example, a health spa might send tips for DIY relaxation methods while an auto repair shop might offer a checklist of repairs that could save you money to do before a service issue gets out of hand. By regularly emailing your existing client base, you can help remind them of your business and encourage repeat patronage.
5) Ask Them for a Review
Every happy customer experience should follow by asking that customer to share thoughts in a review. Identify a few review sites, such as Yelp or Google+, that customers find helpful and let your customers know how much you appreciate reviews. Not only does this give happy customers a positive outlet for their praise, it also helps prospects who are searching about your business online get a balanced view of what it’s like to work with you and can help encourage new customers.
6) Offer Customer Rewards
While you’re thinking about customer retention, it’s a good idea to consider creating a loyalty or rewards program for your customers. Reports show that 25% of consumers consider loyalty programs to be very important to important, and another 25% consider them “somewhat important.” While you may not be able to compete with a large company on price alone, a unique and appealing loyalty program could set you apart. For example, in addition to in-store specials, you could include customer loyalty rewards for other local businesses your customers enjoy by leveraging creative partnerships. Offering a sustained, valuable loyalty program can help you retain valuable new customers.
7) Keep Customer Service Expectations High
During the holiday season you have likely prepped your business for an influx of customers through ramping up staffing and rewarding your team for outstanding customer service. But don’t lower your standards once the holidays are over. Continue to train and coach your staff on how to keep the customer first and provide outstanding customer service – always. Ultimately, this is what will continue to set your small business apart and help you retain new customers.
You’ve got new customers! Congrats. Now, keep up your momentum by making sure you’re keeping your eye on the prize and putting these best practices in place. You may not be able to accomplish all these steps overnight, but don’t let perfection be the enemy of good. If you can’t do them all right now, start with one, and put a plan in place to tackle the next item on the list until you’ve got them all in place!
What are you doing to make sure you’re retaining new customers? Share your customer retention best practices or questions in a comment below!