Keeping Your Customers Happy

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Successful businesses rely on repeat business and recommendations and we all know that 20 percent of your customers will deliver 80 percent of your profit, so how do you cultivate your loyal customers and keep them happy so that they will return time and time again?

Every customer counts

Most businesses are endlessly chasing new customers and it can be a hard slog to get new people to sign up or show an interest in what you have to offer -- but don't forget, unless you are a brand-new business with no trading history, you already have customers. Every one of these customers count and it is crucial that you look after them and cultivate further business from them -- one of the biggest reasons customers go elsewhere is because they don't feel valued or appreciated and end up feeling indifferent towards your product or service. Work on making your customers feel appreciated. Train your staff to also value your customers -- it can be as simple as always saying thank you. When someone has purchased something from you, it is courteous to send a note that shows them how much you appreciate their business.

Find out what they want

Many new businesses find it hard to attract customers because they assume they know what they want -- they fail to test their products or services and they are complacent about doing their market research. Save yourself a lot of time and money by never assuming you know what your customers want. Time spent understanding your customers’ needs before you set up your business or roll out a new product will ensure you have a solid basis for solving their problems and fulfilling a need.

Set up a loyalty program

Set up a system that will reward loyal customers and keep them coming back. Whatever type of business you run, there is bound to be a way that you can keep your loyal customers happy. Also consider setting up a referral scheme where you reward your customers for recommending you.

Also, don't forget that it can be irritating for your loyal customers to find that you are offering new customers a better deal that they had. Set up a scheme whereby your loyal customers get VIP treatment with special deals exclusively for them.

Stay in touch

It’s always a good idea to stay in touch with your customers at least every few months and an e-mail or newsletter is a great way to achieve this. Get people to sign up for your communications, so that it is permission-based, otherwise you risk being reported as spam and more importantly, alienating your customers.

Also make sure that your communication is not always to pedal another offer -- stay in touch to offer something of value, such as an information packed newsletter or an e-mail with useful tips and suggestions. No one likes to be pitched to the whole time and people will appreciate you spending time doing something for them now and again without expecting an immediate return.