Repeat customers can spend an average of three times more in your business than new customers. They're easier to sell to, cost less to acquire and often talk about marketing your business for you too!
However, gaining repeat customers can be challenging. Many businesses usually only manage to turn a small proportion of new customers into repeat business. The good news is, there's an opportunity to grow your business right under your nose.
Here are some ideas to get you started...
(1) Be exceptional
One of the best ways to get more repeat customers is by staying at the top of your customers' mind. And you can do so by going above and beyond to deliver an amazing experience for your customers.
This is a foolproof way to make sure that your competition cannot mimic your business style. If your customers want more of what you have, they are not going to get it anywhere else. So they come back to you, turning into loyal customers.
Being exceptional in all areas of your business may take some time. So it's important to start by focusing on one area of your business first. This can be anything from customer service, onboarding process, the quality of your service, or the unique way you communicate with your customers.
Creating an exceptional experience for your customers doesn't have to be expensive either. Often it's the small gestures and attention to details that will really make you stand out. So why not try out some low-cost and high-impact ways of wowing your customers
(2) Use the element of surprise
The element of surprise encourages returning customers. That's why mystery boxes are frequently promoted by businesses - and sell out. If you can find ways to surprise your customers at every stage of their journey with you, they'll bring you repeat business, AND they'll shout your praises from the rooftops!
For example, you can provide unexpected bonuses in your courses, content and packages, or give your best customers a surprise small gift. It's an easy way to encourage customer retention. People will keep coming back to you - delighted by the value you give them.
Just like providing an exceptional experience, surprise elements don't have to be time-consuming or costly to create. A bit of imagination will go a long way.
(3) Offer a follow-on service
Another great way to attract repeat customers is by offering a follow-on service that's a natural next step to the core service you provide.
For example, if you're a branding specialist and your core service is to create a brand strategy for your customers to implement, you can offer a follow-on service whereby you actually implement the strategy for your customers, without them having to do anything.
If your customers are happy with the quality of your original service, they will be much more likely to hire you for the follow-on service and become repeat customers.
(4) Turn mistakes into opportunities
It happens to all businesses at some point. Something will go wrong. Mistakes will be made. Your customers will get upset.
When it happens, don't attack and blame your customers. Instead, acknowledge your error with an apology and reassure your customers you're committed to not repeating the same mistake.
Saying sorry is the most effective, and cheapest, way to remedy a bad customer experience. In fact, it can turn upset customers into loyal, repeat business. Use this experience to connect with customers involved and explain what you are doing to remedy the problems. And when you've resolved the issue, offer your customers something in return (such as a generous offer or a surprise free gift) to hook them back in again.
(5) Reward loyalty
Rewarding loyalty doesn't have to be limited to an occasional discount offer via email, and it shouldn't. These tactics do not demonstrate anything exceptional.
Instead, find creative ways to reward your loyal customers. Give them direct access to your team, offer them valuable and exclusive incentives. Find unique and/or quirky ways to make your returning customers feel special.
(6) Create memorable milestones
In their book The Power of Creating Moments, authors Chip and Dan Heath talk about how creating moments are hugely beneficial for all kinds of businesses. They talk in detail about creating significant loyalty and milestone bonuses that grow in value as your customers remain loyal.
Here are some ideas:
Incorporating prizes for milestones accomplished from a subscription programme. For example, a cap or t-shirt after six months subscription or completion of a challenge. Or an exclusive free workshop after some time or commitment from the customer.
Consider rewarding your loyal customers on their accomplishments after working with you. For example, after the launch of their new website.
Tangible items are also excellent reminders of you and your business if your returning customers use them at home. And while exclusivity might be cost-free, it's a desirable reward for many loyal customers.
(7) Get feedback
Feedback is vital at every touchpoint in your business. How else would you know what your customers are thinking? If you don't know what your customers think you can't be exceptional, nor can you surprise them and fix friction points.
Make it a central part of your business process to ask for feedback when a project ends. Online survey tools such as Survey Monkey makes this process very easy.
If a customer leaves, be sure to find out why in a non-pushy way. If they're dissatisfied or have a complaint, find a way to deal with the problem. They may still leave, but your commitment to addressing the issue may just be enough for them to give you a second chance.
(8) Respond to your client feedback
Thank your customers when they provide you with feedback. They've taken the time to help you with your business for free, and deserve a personal response from you or your team. Unfortunately, most businesses don't do this.
Send your customers a quick email update when you implement their suggestions, or to thank them for their feedback and inform them that you've added their ideas to your list for the future.
(9) Keep in touch
Keeping in touch with your customers is a great way to ensure customer retention; that's why an email list can contribute to 25% of a total businesses turnover.
If you have an email list of subscribers, come up with a schedule to get in touch with them regularly. You don't have to, and shouldn't, bombard your customers with 10 emails a day. Just a quick update, an element of surprise, an exclusive offer, a useful tip or a link to a useful blog post is all it takes.
Getting repeat customers doesn't have to be hard. In fact, it's easier and cheaper to earn repeat business from an existing customer than it is to go out and find a new one. Take every opportunity you have to motivate them to come back. Every satisfied customer can turn into a loyal repeat customer, AND bring you new customers by word-of-mouth recommendations.