Why don't customers return for repeat business? Here are three common reasons why you might not see them again and how you can ensure you will.
In any business, one of the best sources of new income is from old clients. This is because these past customers are already familiar with you, your services and your professional integrity.
So, what could stop those old customers from coming back and using your services for a second, third or fourth time? Here are some of the most common reasons customers won't ask you for work again and what you can do to ensure that doesn't happen.
When Forbes ran a study that asked 300 retail executives their thoughts on what stopped customers turning into repeat clients, 51 per cent said it was to do with communication.
Customers may be perfectly happy with the service and products you provided, but only didn't get in touch again because you never maintained a relationship with them. It can be as simple as asking them to follow you on social media or signing up to a monthly newsletter after the job is done, then keeping up with regular updates across those channels. This can help to keep your name front and centre, and remind them of your services the next time they're thinking of starting a project.
It's also vital to make sure they can communicate with you when they want to get in touch, so be sure to give them a card at the end of the project, and ensure your contact details are clearly and correctly displayed on your website and social media channels.
Communication is key in ensuring your past clients might consider using you again. It also helps them recommend you to others.
In other cases, your products and services may have ticked all the boxes and got the job done just fine, but did nothing further to strengthen the customer relationship.
Consider when you go to a restaurant, order a meal and have it brought to you in a reasonable time. This experience ticks all the boxes, but isn't memorable. Compare this to one where you found exceptional service, the menu was interesting, the chef checked on your table, or you enjoyed music from a live musician. This experience goes above and beyond and you'll definitely remember it in future. It's more likely you'll return to the memorable restaurant to enjoy the same experience again. Those lessons translate to any type of business.
Ticking the boxes is good, but adding some form of cherry on top may be what makes a client return again and again. Consider ways you can go the extra mile without breaking the bank or spending too much time on the job, such as adding advice that improves the outcome, finding ways to complete the work sooner, or simply being a hassle free, friendly and professional company to deal with.
Of course, it's possible that the customer was left feeling let down after the first experience.
Perhaps this is from the job taking longer than initially thought, costing more, or not living up to the finished product that they had expected. Ideally, you'll be able to avoid these problems before they arise by giving yourself ample time to finish a job and by managing expectations from day one. In other cases, you'll usually be aware that a job hasn't gone perfectly to plan, so you'll be able to clearly communicate with the client exactly what happened, and how you would avoid the same issues again in future.
Additionally, you may be able to offer a discount on the final job due to the problems that arose, or you could offer a deal on future services to help ensure they do consider you next time around.
Of course no-one is perfect all the time, so sometimes communication will break down, service won't be up to your usual high standard or things will run late. Putting yourself in your customer's shoes and providing the updates and assistance you'd expect in the same situation can go a long way to ensuring your customers return. Most customers don't expect 100% perfection every time, but they do want to know that if things go wrong, you'll be there to help them through.
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