It’s easy to forget about your customers once they’ve paid their bill and left the door, but a good business will find ways to focus on its customers in and out of the store. Every store needs return customers to keep business ticking over throughout the year. Employ some of the following tricks of the trade and you’ll soon be seeing regular faces (so much so, you may even get sick of them!).
Get to know your customers
No customer likes to feel like they’re just another pay cheque on a conveyor belt. Get to know customers by engaging in small talk during non-busy periods. You’ll connect with them on a personal level, which will encourage them to come back. Invite people to open up about themselves by letting them know about you and your business background. Some regulars may develop such a rapport that they’ll become advocates for your business, coming in with their own friends and families and effectively marketing your business for you.
Encourage customer feedback
Customer feedback can make happy customers reflect on their good experience and remind them to come back, whilst it can also allow unhappy customers to vent their bad feelings and allow you to entice them back through promotional deals and apologies. Not everyone will tell you how they feel face-to-face, so encourage written feedback cards or online reviews. If you have customers’ emails you can even send them feedback forms to fill in privately. There are many types of online reputation management software such as RenegadeWorks that can keep you on top of online reviews – good and bad – whilst also encouraging more conversation on places such as social media.
Introduce loyalty schemes
A loyalty scheme encourages customers to return by giving them a reward after a certain amount of visits or money that has been spent. This could include a points card that gives you a discount after a certain amount of uses, or a loyalty card that gives you a free drink after having bought a certain amount. People love freebies and discounts, so give them this as an incentive.
Keep previous customers updated
Remind previous customers that you’re still there by constantly advertising new deals and changes. You can do this with outdoor signage, by advertising in local news outlets, by telling people on social media and by emailing customers with news (if you have their email address). If you offer a delivery service, you may even be able to post a leaflet through their door (a thank you note to loyal customers can go a long way – especially if it comes with voucher or some kind of complementary treat).
Beat the competition
You may lose some customers to competition, in which case you need to win them back by beating the deals offered by these rival businesses. Competition can be healthy if you’re a good sport about it. Keep tabs on competitive business and either try to outdo what they’re offering, or make yourself stand out by offering a promotion on something unique to you.