How can I ensure that my customers keep coming back?

The golden rule for success in business is to get your customers to believe that they are more important to you than anything else.
Below are more tips on how to get customers to keep buying from you.

1. Listen to your customer
Asking for feedback about a customer’s experience shows you are interested and looking for ways to improve. Act on constructive feedback so you can please the customer with an improved offering. Some ways of capturing feedback data include satisfaction surveys, monitoring, responding to comments on local customer review sites and responding to questions and requests on social media.

2. Keep promises
Keep customers happy by fulfilling your promises. For example, if a customer orders a product and you promise to deliver within two days, make sure you do so. Be honest if for some reason you can’t honour a promise.
You can similarly exceed customer expectations. For example, if you own a car paint business you could give re-spray customers a small can of touch-up paint and brush to fix future small problems in the paintwork. The goodwill gained can earn you repeat and new business.

3. Be quick to resolve problems
Not every product works 100% all the time. Customers should be able to easily access various escalation channels – there is nothing worse than situations where frustration levels are high and a customer cannot track down the right person to assist. Accept that a customer is disappointed and follow up diligently to ensure issues are resolved to their satisfaction. View such occurences as an opportunity to earn your customer’s trust.

High operating costs in emerging and frontier markets inhibit proper servicing of consumers. That said, brands that serve their customers well tend to gain loyal following.” – Jan van Zyl, head of property development at Novare Equity Partners in Ghana

4. Consistent communication
Gather contact data on your customers and keep the list updated. Reach out to them regularly with discounts on products and services, or send them useful resources that will deepen their experience with your brand. Social media offers vibrant channels that can help build retention if used correctly.

5. Reward loyalty
Once in a while treat a loyal customer with a free product, special discount or other gifts. It is surprising how much goodwill this generates.

6. Say thank you
The fact that your customers chose you instead of your competitors is something you should appreciate and show. Thank them every time for choosing you and let them know how important their business is to you.

We began handwriting personalised thank you cards in 2006 when we got our first customers. It wasn’t long before they started writing back with positive feedback. Customers appreciate sacrifice and generosity in a world where communication is becoming less personal.” – Paul Galatis, director at online kitchenware store Yuppiechef.

7. Empower employees
As a business owner you need to make sure that every employee understands the impact they can have on the customer experience. Focus on building a customer-centric culture that drives quality and excellence. The goal should be to delight the customer at every opportunity.

View your employees as the people who make your business happen. It is important to treat them as you would a customer. If you treat your staff well, they will treat your customers well.” – Frans van der Colff, director of Fruit & Veg City Africa and International.