5 ways to attract and retain customers

Many business owners would give their eye teeth to fully know the secrets to keeping customers. Customers are heart of any business, as it is their patronage that enables a company to remain operational.

While some business owners instinctively know how to retain customers, others have to work very hard to figure out how to maintain a strong customer base and keep sales numbers up. So what is it that some business owners have discovered that helps keep customers coming back?

1. Offer excellence in service

Customers today no longer settle for poor quality of service, and they are increasingly becoming more discriminative when it comes to mediocrity in customer service. There is a lot of competition in various industries and other options are only a click away for customers to seek.

If you want to maintain your patrons, and also grow your customer base, you'll have to strive for excellence in customer service. Customers are in the proverbial driver's seat and they can - and will - demand better service. Businesses that cannot make the cut are usually dismissed pretty quickly.

2. Sell quality

Whether you are in the merchandising industry or sell services, it is important to offer quality products or services. Again, it goes back to competition. Customers aren't going to want to spend their hard earned money on terrible quality or on products that won't last the trip home.

If you sell products, focus on your marketing efforts to determine exactly what kind of solution your customer needs for their problem and the quality of product that will be required to meet that need. If you offer services that pay for your time to perform a service, task or other job your customers don't, or can't, do themselves, be sure you do it right the first time.

Customers these days are less tolerant and will not be return customers if they are not satisfied with the quality they've paid for when they purchased a product or service. Not to mention, they may spread their unhappiness on social media.

3. Listen to customers

If a customer has a problem or inquiries, never delay in responding to these needs. Customers that are forced to wait and/or feel as if they are being ignored will not remain loyal to a business. In order to keep customers, it is always important to listen to what customers are saying and pay heed to what they want or need.

4. Encourage and accept feedback

Customers are more likely to respond to businesses who encourage and accept feedback on ways to improve a business. Sometimes business owners have the right idea, but don't quite have everything aligned to be idealistic from the customer's perspective. For instance, offer surveys, ask customers when they are shopping if they have any thoughts to share, leave customer comment cards accessible or even offer a Web questionnaire.

All of these are avenues that enable customers to share their thoughts. Feedback is an excellent way to connect with your customers and give them exactly what they want. It also opens up opportunities for improvement, further adding value to the business.

5. Guarantee products/services and follow up on the sale

A sale doesn't end at the cash register, it ends when the customer is completely satisfied. To help grow customer confidence, it is a good idea to provide a guarantee for all products and/or services. In addition, it helps to follow up in the post-sale period to ensure your customer is satisfied with the transaction.

Customers who are having their needs met in a satisfactory manner will be likely to return again and again. Fundamentally, when it comes down to it, there isn't a lot of extensive research, time and money to figure out what quality customer service adds up to. While market research is valuable and an important part of growing a business, a lot of what keeps customers coming back is really a combination of thoughtfulness, intuition and common sense.

In some ways, all it takes is a step back to look at the business from an outside perspective as a customer. Think about what it is that you would like offered in terms of products or service if you were the customer. If, you the owner, were to step outside and take a look in, chances what would you come up with?


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