As promised, the remaining 7 tips to generate repeat business. We said this in last week’s blog but it is worth repeating: Generating repeat business does not happen in a vacuum. There must be a plan complete with a structure for training and execution. Read the tips 8 through 14 and review the first 7.
8. Print business cards for all sales and customer service associates – Every sales and customer service associate should have business cards with their name, company email and direct line or extension. When a customer connects with an associate and has a positive experience, appreciating the help and advice received, the natural progression is to want to speak with that associate again. For a minimal fee every associate can have their own business card. It’s not only a creative investment to build customer loyalty it makes the employees feel important and appreciated too.
9. Conclude the transaction using the customer’s name – Most transactions are conducted with a credit or debit card that has the customer’s name. If the associate says, “Mr. Smith, thank you so much for your business and have a great rest of the day,” it helps to instantly create a relationship. It doesn’t matter whether the transaction is at a local convenience store or a luxury retailer, it works.
10. Provide time for associates to communicate with customers after the transaction is complete – A critical component of repeat business is to show the customer they matter after the sale is concluded. Sending customers daily or weekly promotions in email blasts does just the opposite. Keeping in touch with customers by their preferred method of communication; text, email, mail or telephone will continue and fortify the customer experience. Give your staff time to communicate stressing this important piece of the customer experience puzzle to build and maintain a relationship.
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11. Give your associates a budget for surprising customers – Teach your associates the importance of surprising first-time or loyal consumers. The surprise might be sending a message congratulating the customer’s son’s high school graduation or sending a plant to a customer’s new home. An integral part of employee training is for each associate to learn to listen well. Then, empower the associates with a budget. The amount is not that important. The thought behind the surprise is what has value. Another great investment for getting customers to return.
12. Make it easy for customers to speak to a person on e-commerce sites – The majority of ecommerce sites hide the help or contact us tab. A pop-up chat screen is not the best avenue to create a relationship online. E-commerce sites that display photos of real people and allow the customer to choose who they wish to communicate with offer a golden opportunity to turn a customer who is searching into a customer who is purchasing again and again. Most people who shop online are capable of self-serve, but when they have a question, “talking” to another human can turn a search into a purchase.
13. Staff your online pick-up counter with associates who can create customer relationships – The latest trend: online ordering and in-store pickup. Customers like instant gratification and that combination meets their need. Have your best and most personable associates at the pick-up counter. Use the transaction to engage the customer, another opportunity to create a relationship. Not only will the customers continue to shop online but might decide to shop in the physical store as well.
14. Create a one-on-one human connection – The strongest bond is between two people, not a brand or a store. How many times how you followed your favorite sales or customer service associate to their new employer because of the personal relationship built with you. Whether the transaction is online or brick & mortar, strategize to match associates with specific customers especially with your best and most profitable customers. Many businesses experience the 80/20 rule; 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers. Make sure those 20 percent have a one-on-one relationship with your staff. It’s the bond no competitor can break.