It takes a lot of time, effort and sometimes money to win a new customer – but many businesses, once they have done all the hard work to get the customer, do not work hard enough to keep them.
There are many statistics quoted about the difference between a new customer and an existing customer, but typically it costs you as much to get 1 new customer as it does to keep 5 to 12 existing customers. You have a 20% chance on average of acquiring a new customer, but a 70% chance of getting an existing customer to buy again – and typically they spend 50% more!
Here are some ideas to make it easier for existing customers to buy from you again:
Thank them for choosing to buy from you – it is surprising how many businesses forget to do this!
Ask them for feedback – make sure you tell them when you use the feedback to improve your business as it shows that you value them.
Have a simpler buying process for them if possible. For example, try to remember them and what they have bought. This is easy for e-commerce businesses but also possible for other businesses. I spent time staying at a small country hotel which kept a simple card index system for every guest. They sent a thank you message every time I stayed and each time I phoned to book again they quickly looked me up on the card system and asked me if I wanted to stay in the same room, did I want my favourite table in the restaurant booking etc. This made my life so much easier as, when I was stopping in the area, it was the only place I booked. If you can keep details of customers, try to make sure that you do not ask for the same details when they buy from you again. This cuts down the time taken for the customer, makes them feel valued and it is much more likely that they will continue to buy from you.
If possible, be proactive. By that, I mean if a customer has bought a product that will need replacing or is consumable, track how often they buy initially and then start to anticipate when they are likely to be close to running out so you can send them a message or call them to ask if they want to reorder. It shows the customer that you have a keen interest in them and increases the chances of them buying from you again!
And here is one thing that you should NEVER do:
Offer a better price for new customers than the price for existing customers. Whilst this may bring you more new customers than before, they are price sensitive and unlikely to buy from you at higher prices. It also really annoys your existing customers who see it as proof that you do not really care about them and they soon start using your competitors!
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