Repeat business is the golden trophy that keeps every small business in the black and it’s a common reason why small businesses apply for funding. Everyone wants to know how to get it and everyone wants as much of it as possible. Why? Because it’s easier to sell to someone who has already bought your product or service. They trust you to give them what they want and they have chosen you above your competitors. So when a customer has experienced what you have to offer once, how do you get them to come back? Here are some surefire ways to create repeat customers from day 1.
1. Keep it personal
They key here is to be genuine. One of the benefits of small businesses with limited funds is that they can still personalize every interaction with their best customers. Voice mail and email make it easier to depersonalize customer communication. Write handwritten notes and place personal phone calls. If you find you are expanding, consider acquiring funds to update what you are offering. Kevin Harrington, founder of As Seen On TV talks about personalizing confirmation emails: Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, wrote something different for his budding company one day as a lark; it starts with “Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow . . .” this confirmation email has become a famous example of how to inject a little soul into your customer’s experience. If you have multiple employees, find the funds to invest in a great customer service policy.
2. Be responsive
All businesses experience customer concerns and problems and all businesses make mistakes. The damage is done when they drop the ball on responding effectively. Injecting the funds it takes to give customers the attention they deserve goes a long way. Customers expect you to be making the effort to ensure these problems don’t occur in the first place and it follows that they expect you to be concerned about fixing any issues that arise. The biggest mistake a small business can make is passing the buck or even worse, not responding at all. Respond straight away, show them you want to resolve the issue immediately. Listen, acknowledge, validate and apologize. Take home message? Be accountable. Everyone wants that.
3. Provide excellent customer service
A small business can have good bones and the product may be great but if you don’t have great customer service you may as well be dead in the water. It is definitely necessary to fund an effective training program for your staff and to pay for better employees and if you haven’t done so already you will need to acquire funding to do this. You most certainly will not secure repeat customers with lousy customer service. A well-funded customer service program will ensure your passion for customer service runs through every level of the company. Founder and chairman of ActionCoach, Brad Sugars recommends that small businesses never compete on price alone. “If you do, there’ll be no reason for customers to return if a competitor has a better deal.” Make customer service your top priority and you already have an edge in the marketplace. Make it better than your competitors and you’ll be ahead of the game.
4. Show gratitude
Offer exclusive discounts and awards. Offering exclusivity lets your customer know how much you appreciate their business and their loyalty and in turn, they will keep coming back. It’s worth reverting funds into a few loyalty programs which offer your customer higher discount rates, faster service and exclusive access to new products. Also, try to create a human bond which builds mutual respect and friendship. Ever hear someone say “I’ve got a guy for that?” It’s their guy, they have ownership over the relationship and not only have they established loyalty, they are now promoting that business through word of mouth. This doesn’t just work with single owner operators, fund a great staff training program that encourages your employees to remember customer’s names, their preferences and offer them small incentives like personal discounts and extra products or samples.
At the end of the day, repeat business, like most things in life, is about how someone feels about your business instead of how inexpensive your product or services are. It’s a simple step to take that makes a ton of difference. Fundkite understands the importance of repeat business to the bottom line. Let us find the funding option that suits you best and apply now.