By Frank Legudi 

    There’s a lot of data supporting the idea that it’s less costly, easier and more efficient to encourage repeat customers than bring in new ones.

    Among the stats Hubspot lists are that a 5% increase in customer retention is responsible for more than 25% increase in profit; repeat customers are 9 times more likely to convert than first-time visitors; and a 2% increase in customer retention has a similar impact to your bottom line as reducing costs by 10%.

    That’s a lot of motivation to encourage repeat customers. Here are 4 tips to encourage your customers to keep coming back.

    1. Build relationships with customers

    Take time to learn more about your customers.

    Do they mention family members? Ask about their loved ones. Do they frequently buy the same products? Keep track of when that customer comes in and have some items set aside for them. Do they always order the same meal? Mention similar dishes to try. Go the extra mile to show your customers they’re important to you.

    Ask for their input, as well. They’ll get to know your products and services and can offer insights into what’s working and what could be improved. If you engage them–and make changes based on their feedback–you’ll develop a loyal customer base. The more special your customers feel, the more likely they are to come back. They’ll appreciate that you remember them and value their input.

    1. Make it personal

    Your loyal customers deserve communications that are more personal and less formal. It’s fine to use impersonal emails for your larger email list but use more personal communications with your best customers.

    If you want to let them know about an important business-related matter, phone them or suggest an in-person meeting. Keep track of important dates, as well. You can send gifts or cards to mark important occasions, or just to reach out.

    Make your best customers feel as though they stand out from the rest by being more personal with them.

    1. Share relevant information

    Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with your customers and let them know what you’re up to, but if you get to know your customers well, you can pass along articles, books, or other information that might interest them, even if it isn’t related to your business. It shows them you understand, and that you care.

    1. Remember your loyal customers

    Businesses sometimes focus their attention exclusively on new customers, forgetting about loyal and repeat customers. You need new customers to keep your business thriving; however, excluding long-term customers results in customer churn.

    It’s great to offer new customers rewards and incentives, but that leaves existing customers feeling ignored. Offer your long-term customers bonuses for their loyalty.

    Final thoughts

    Encouraging repeat customers makes solid business sense. To be successful, you need a balance of new and long-term clients. This means building relationships with people, personalizing your attention, sharing relevant information and remembering your loyal customers.

    A great product or service at a reasonable price might bring your customers in, but outstanding customer service that gives them a positive, memorable experience will keep them coming back.

    Frank Legudi is a partner at Collins and Co.

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