What’s better than getting a customer? Getting a happy repeat customer of course! Here are some simple yet effective ways you can make sure your customers return to you again and again, because let’s face it, they don’t have to.

  1. Encourage feedback at all stages so that you can discover what your customer really feels about their experience with you.


2. Keep in touch. Most customers leave because of perceived indifference. This means that you didn’t necessarily do a bad job, just that you didn’t keep in touch enough. You might not have the time to call every customer personally, but you can make time to send out a newsletter or a postcard to customers on at least a monthly basis.


3. Generously give added value. If you are good at what you do, the chances are you have knowledge that would be useful to your customers. By sharing at least some of that information, you do two things – demonstrate your expertise and appear generous. Newsletters, seminars and websites are all places where you can share knowledge with your customers and potential customers, while enhancing your reputation. This is why we have a monthly email to help you get new marketing ideas and inspiration. We also offer a free marketing consultation, a free website review and a free social media review.


4. Avoid misunderstandings. Clear communication at all stages is very important in keeping customers happy. It’s important to manage customer expectations at all times by making timelines clear and letting them know what input you need from them.


5. Value for money. You may charge more than your competitors, but if you represent good value in the eyes of the customer, then they will be happy. After all, you expect to pay one price for a lunch in a burger chain and quite another in an exclusive restaurant, with both experiences representing value for money. But don’t take it for granted that your current and potential customers understand this value. You may do work behind the scenes that they would benefit from knowing about. Communicate the ways you provide value, so they don’t regret or rethink their decision to work with you.


6. Show your customers you care about them. If appropriate, take note  when their birthday is, who their children are and what hobbies and interests they have. This creates a far deeper level of communication and shows that you are interested in them as individuals.


7. Encourage complaints. Do you know what most people do when they hear a customer complain? They think of a reason why the complaint is not valid.  However, when a customer complains, they are giving you the opportunity to keep their business by sorting it out.

8. Avoid confusion. If you have a contract, make it simple enough to be explained in a paragraph. If you’re doing work on a customer’s behalf, make sure they understand exactly what you are doing and when. Clarity is key.


9. Source new suppliers. Does your customer have problems with some of their suppliers? If you know of a good alternative, pass those details on.  Make a habit of collecting details of reliable and good-value suppliers you can refer customers to if the need arises.


10. Be easy to do business with. Do people have to spend ages chasing you? Are your opening hours restrictive and your staff elusive? Break down all barriers and make it as easy as possible for people to do business with you. Show your appreciation for the fact that they want to part with their hard-earned cash.


11. Be proactive. If you’re asked about something that you don’t know the answer to, find it out and get back to them when you say you will.  Build a reputation as a person who follows up words with actions and results.


Happy friendly business team having fun at corporate training12. Employ good staff. As the old saying goes, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Your staff are the face of your business, so you need to ask yourself if you are proud to be represented by them. Nothing short of an excellent attitude where they are always keen to help will do. Take a look at the excellent team we have here at The Ideal Marketing Company.


13. Sort problems FAST. Problems happen, whether they are your fault or caused by a technology error or even a third party. One of the ways a customer judges your business is how quickly you make an effort to sort out an issue as quickly as possible, working to minimise its impact on them.


14. Be approachable. Do you like dealing with people? If not, what are you doing talking to them? If you know you are a grumpy, backroom person by nature, then use the skills you do have elsewhere and put somebody who loves dealing with people in the front line.


15. Be upfront. Honesty is always the best policy. If you ever try twisting the truth or worse, telling an outright lie, it will come back to haunt you. If you can do something, say so, but if you can’t, be upfront about this too while offering an alternative.  Your customers will appreciate your honesty and admire your integrity.


16. People buy from people. Remember that you don’t really buy from companies. You buy from the people who work for that company.  If a customer goes elsewhere, it is often because the person (account manager, shop worker etc.) just wasn’t giving them the service they required.


17. Be positive. We’ve all got problems, but if your customer asks you how you are, don’t use that as an excuse to talk about all your stresses or badmouth your other customers.


18. Excel at what you do. You have to be good at what you do if you’re going to retain customers in the long term. Every piece of training you and your staff undertake will help to retain customers, so don’t shortchange your customers by skimping on this. Invest in the best systems, equipment and people that you can afford to make sure that when people come to you, they are getting the best and that you are doing everything you can to stay the best. We work incredibly hard to ensure we’re doing the best possible work for our clients. Take a look at our portfolio to see some of the work we have completed.


19. Innovate. Earl Nightingale said that “It’s not good to get into a rut because a rut is nothing more than a grave with the ends kicked out.” If you are not constantly looking for new, faster, cheaper, more exciting ways of doing things, then you’ll be left behind. If you look at what happens to companies without competitors, you see what unwieldy, slow-moving, bureaucratic organisations they can become – until competition comes along and offers a better service for half the price! Always be looking to innovate and give your customer a better deal.


20. Customer care. Do you have a customer care manager? I know of companies with only three staff who have a customer care manager.  Even if it’s not a full-time role, it shows your customers that you take their concerns seriously.


New ideas creativity and different innovative solution. Business concept. A group of paper airplanes, one plane is flying in the other direction, different way.21. Be different. In today’s crowded marketplace, it’s important to stand out from the competition. Make sure your customers remember you for being the company that is always changing, always improving and always coming up with great new ideas.


22. Exceed expectations. It’s no longer good enough to be OK. If possible, always aim to exceed your customers’ expectations. Promise to deliver by Tuesday, but deliver by Monday lunchtime. Send extra items with no charge.  Drop off personalised gifts such as mugs or calendars.


23. Introduce a money-back guarantee scheme. If you do business by post, you need to offer a 30-day money-back guarantee anyway. Smart businesses make the most of this instead of trying to bury it in the small print. If you have faith in your product, offering a transparent money back guarantee shouldn’t be a problem for you.


24. Exit survey. Why has that customer stopped using you? What did they like, what did they hate?  When most customers leave often, we have no idea why they went.  If you take the time to ask them, there is statistically more chance that they will one day come back (if only to see if you have smartened up your act) and you will gain the knowledge to stop others going the same way. You should already be doing this with staff who move on, so why not find out why customers are too?  You might uncover some uncomfortable information, but it could be key knowledge that could turn around your company.


25. Keep your word. If you say you are going to do something, then do it. It’s always a good idea to be led by the customer because what you think might be a useful regular update might be a waste of time as far as your target is concerned.


26. The golden rule – do unto others as you would have done to you. If you stick by this rule when it comes to customers, you won’t go too far wrong.


Smiling young waiter taking orders from a diverse group of customers sitting together at a restaurant table27. Speed stuns. It’s said that in restaurants, the speed and quality of waiter service is rated as more important than the food. That’s quite interesting if you consider why people go to a restaurant!  The speed of your response will make a big difference to the experience and opinions of your customers.  If you can solve problems swiftly, you will win over customers.


28. Take responsibility. Most of your suppliers and competitors will blame someone else when things go wrong, but if you take responsibility, you will tell the customer what they want to hear; namely, “I will take complete responsibility for sorting this out.  Let me look into it, find out exactly what the situation is and I’ll get back to you with an answer by X o’clock”. Even if you don’t know everything you hoped you would by that time, call them back when you said you would with an update.


29. Encourage referrals. What gets rewarded gets repeated. If you send a thank you letter and voucher when a new client is gained as a result of a referral, do you think your customers will do it again?  By making it clear that you appreciate the effort they have made to refer business to you, you are making it much more likely that you will continue to receive business in this way.  It is not so much the gift; it is more the fact that you have taken the trouble to acknowledge the kind referral from a customer.


30. The most important people in your company are your customers. Accept this, believe it and make sure everybody else in the company believes it too. In some companies, customers are viewed as an inconvenience that gets in the way of getting the job done.  There would be no job, wages, and company without them, so remember who pays your mortgage, holidays and puts food on your table. Thank them and be grateful for them every day.


Restaurant owner working only with take away orders during corona virus outbreak. Young black woman wearing face mask giving takeout meal to customer outside her cafeteria. Customer pick up take-away.31. More is more. We all have that favourite restaurant that goes above and beyond with extra touches like an after dinner drink arriving without being requested. In countries like Greece and Italy, there is a long and successful tradition of rewarding loyalty with inexpensive yet much-appreciated extras.


32. Get together with customers at social events, restaurants or other places away from the office or factory floor. This change of scenery helps you to be seen as more of a friend than a supplier and will help to foster deeper, more productive long-term relationships.


33. Avoid silly mistakes. When we rush it is all too easy to make errors. These reduce your credibility in everybody’s eyes. We all make the odd slip up but don’t accept mistakes as inevitable as many of them can be avoided with some thought, preparation and attention to detail.  Remember, in most cases, the quality of the job will be remembered longer than the time it was delivered in.


34. Aim for consistency. As customers, we like to know where we are. That’s why we like dealing with one-person organisations – if that one person is good. But wouldn’t it be great if your customers felt that no matter who they talk to, someone will help them out? There is nothing worse than playing Russian roulette with a company’s call centre.  One day you get a star, the next you get somebody who would clearly rather be elsewhere. Again consistency is key.


Bonus – If you’d like marketing recommendations tailored to the unique needs of your business, why not get in touch and speak with a marketing specialist on 01858 445543. Alternatively, you can schedule a free marketing health check.


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