Successful businesses depend on repeat customers.  Here's how to get them

Successful businesses depend on repeat customers. Here’s how to get them

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There is a widely quoted statistic in business that it costs six times more to create a new customer than it does to keep one.

Why is that?

Well, there is no doubt that getting new customers definitely takes time, effort, and money, so as such, long-standing customers are indeed small business gold; they allow us to pay our bills, hire employees, and grow our businesses. They are how entrepreneurs keep the dream alive.

And that begs the question: how do you create long-term repeat customers?

While a unique customer is good, it’s that repeat customer that really makes the difference. Clients can choose any business to suit their needs; they will only choose yours over and over again if you offer them something above the ordinary.

Here are five ways to keep customers coming back for more:

1. Be excellent at what you do.

People hire you to provide a service, or they come to your store or online store to buy something from you. If your product or service is average, they may return, become regulars, or not. But probably not.

But what if you were great at what you do?

So they will almost certainly come back.

If you sell flowers, always create an exceptional bouquet. If you cook, use good ingredients and cook with love.

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2. Offer excellent customer service.

Similarly, customers love you when they know you love them too.

Nordstrom is known for its excellent customer service, and that’s one of the reasons its customers are so loyal. Costco, at the other end of the retail spectrum, has equally great customer service, and again, exceptional customer loyalty as well.

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3. Treat your staff well.

One of the most interesting small business surveys I’ve seen examined what makes a great franchisee. What distinguishes the best franchise business owners? The biggest difference wasn’t a crackerjack marketing program or a great location, it was, surprisingly, how the owner treated his employees.

It turns out that the better boss you are, the happier your staff will be, and the happier they are, the better your customers will be treated. Satisfied customers, in turn, become repeat, loyal customers.

It is a cycle of success that starts at the top.

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4. Add value.

I recently decided not to bill some of my older clients for the weekly content my company creates for them. I told them that I really appreciated their patronage over the years and that this was my way of saying thank you.

Yes, they were happy and I doubt they would go anywhere else for their content needs.

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5. Thank your customers.

Most people, when they’re done doing business with even a mediocre store, say “thank you.” But when you leave a great business, they are the ones who say thank you. And it’s not the only time they say it. They say it even when it is unexpected, or for no reason. Great companies sincerely appreciate the people who patronize them and let people know it.

Let me end by saying one last thing: thank you for coming here and reading my column. We sincerely appreciate it!

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