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Returning Customers

Keeping existing customers is far easier, and much cheaper, than looking for new ones, yet it amazes me how few businesses realise the importance of returning customers. However it is madness to assume that once a person becomes a customer they will remain a customer in the future. However a returning customer is much more than simply a repeat customer. Returning customers made an active decision and action on their part to seek you out. Returning customers will also go out of their way to do business with you, they will often recommend you to their friends and family and can provide you with valuable feedback.

Of course, returning customers account for less sales than first timers, but the average amount they spend represents a bigger proportion of your overall turnover. When a customer first makes the decision to visit your business, the value of the initial purchase far exceeds the price of the service or product which you are selling.  The true value of an initial transaction is that it enables you to begin to establish a relationship with your new customer and that is why you should ensure that the first impression you make is a good one.

If you do not currently keep a client contact information for all of your clients then now is a great time to start.  Go through your past transactions, and compile a list of all of the customers you have contact information for.  If you have been in business for a while, this may take a while, so consider delegating the task to a dedicated customer relationship management (CRM) who can speed up the process greatly if you are looking for fast results.

The entry for each client should ideally include (at a minimum):

  1. Email address
  2. Customer name
  3. Telephone number
  4. Mailing address
  5. Details of the transaction
  6. A brief demographic description of the individual.

Do not ‘spam’ your returning customers with messages, instead find creative ways to engage them in conversation. For example, you can send inform past customers of new products or services you are offering, or you can send information on future sales or discounts. Another option is to offer returning customers the chance to take part in a poll, enter a contest or fill out form to review and rate their experience with your business.