Five ways to build repeat business

Repeat business is just as, if not more important, than attracting new customers for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's easier and more cost-effective to appeal to existing customers rather than search for prospects. Secondly, returning customers reflect the level of service and the quality of the product a business is providing - if it's above average, they're likely to come back.

Here are five easy ways to help you retain customers and build up profitability.

Be nice

This may be simple, but all too often consumers are put off by rude and unhelpful customer service representatives. A pleasant and informative demeanour at the first point of contact - reception, call centres or sales representatives - can make a huge difference in the way a customer feels about your business. Read our four ways to provide quality service in a way that isn't too challenging or expensive.

Provide information for free

It won't hurt you to give away advice or information for free, and the benefit to your customers and to your business in the longer run is invaluable. Even if each customer interaction doesn't lead to a sale, providing information such as how to troubleshoot minor problems, free e-books, helpful resources and statistics can establish your business as an expert in the field and create a positive relationship between you and your customer.

Provide a service with a repeat buy

Create opportunities for your customers to return and purchase something from you - whether it's more of the same product or service, or a complementary one. For instance, plumbers can offer a regular maintenance service to clients and retailers can provide refillable products that are cheaper than purchasing a brand-new model.

Thank your customers

After closing a sale, ensure you follow up with a thank you call, email, handwritten note or small gift to show your appreciation. This can be a discount voucher for their next purchase, a loyalty card or a small gift branded with your business logo.

Build a database

Following the above four steps may prompt some customers to return of their own free will, but for those that might not, it's a good idea to capture their information so you can stay in touch with them. Storing details such as names, phone numbers, emails and any relevant lifestyle preferences can help you send out communications, offers and newsletters - but remember not to spam your database!

Also read:

How to create a great customer experience

Developing an effective loyalty program

The key to profitability lies within your own customer base

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