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  • 30 October 2017
  • Eric Michaels

What Tricks and Treats Keep Customers Coming Back?

The days of the 18th-century traveling salesmen are long gone. No longer do these salesmen knock on your door, hoping to create demand for their products. Today’s most successful businesses have deep relationships with customers, earning repeat business and building loyal brand evangelists along the way. You don’t have to be a large, multi-national company to excel here either, but it does take time. You have to devote energy to taking the necessary steps to drive an emotional connection that keeps customers coming back.

Are you taking the necessary steps to establish brand loyalty?

1. Streamline your checkout process

Have you ever experienced the following frustrating situation as a customer? You are ready to make a purchase, but no one is at the cash register. Or perhaps the business does not accept the form of payment you have on you at the time.

When situations like these arise, consumers sometimes leave a store on principle—never to return—because the company in question has made it increasingly difficult for them to make a purchase. When it comes to your own business, it’s crucial that you make the checkout process as seamless as possible. Although it can be an investment upfront, you should strive to accept all forms of payment at your physical location and have your eCommerce technique down pat.

2. Follow up after the sale

Following up after any sale is a good business practice, but it is especially important to make the effort if you are a new company and it’s the customer’s first time doing business with you. You can achieve this goal in a number of ways, from an email requesting feedback to a thank-you card (sent online or via direct mail). Customers love it when you pay attention to them and show appreciation for their patronage. By following up and adding a personal touch, you have a great shot at earning a return customer.

3. Exceed expectations

One of the best ways to keep customers coming back is to exceed their expectations. A seasoned consumer usually knows what to expect in a product at a certain price point. When you go above and beyond the standard in that field, consumers recognize the extra effort and superior quality instantly. Think of ways that you can transform a given product or service into a memorable experience for the customer. Meanwhile, they are also more likely to recommend you to friends and family—allowing you to increase your customer pool.

4. Make loyalty worth their while

Take your customer service to the next level by actively rewarding a customer for returning. You can do so by setting up a loyalty rewards program—which could offer anything from referral discounts to points earned whenever the customer makes a purchase. These kinds of rewards also benefit you: Referrals, for instance, are highly valuable to any new business, since they expand your market at minimal cost.

Make sure customers who help your outreach initiatives in this way feel your appreciation – either through exclusive events, offers, products or discounts.

5. Keep your ears open

Are you a good listener? If you want repeat business, you need to listen to your customers. Keep the lines of communication open—especially early on—so you know what customers are saying about their experience. Surveys and reviews can be helpful, but you should also evaluate what your audience is saying on social media. Sometimes you can get a much faster response by putting together a brief Twitter poll or asking questions directly through social channels. When you listen receptively to both positive and negative feedback, you can develop a thorough understanding of what customers like and what you should change about your business practices moving forward.

6. Use customer feedback to enact positive change

Customers want to feel valued. In the case of a social media influencer, you may want to honor someone's recommendation by turning it into a testimonial on your website. When it comes to negative comment, you should let the customer know you appreciate their feedback and are working on improvements. In any case, make sure you treat anyone who took the time to offer feedback with respect.

In order to be successful, you must develop a thorough strategy to keep customers coming back to your business. The customer experience should be considered in every communication, every operational process, in each and every thing that impacts a customer’s interaction with your business.

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