How to make sure your customers come back

Finding and keeping customers is one of the biggest challenges facing new businesses. So how do you entice the customer back after that first sale?

With unreasonable advertising costs and no guarantees on returns on investments, spreading the word about your business can be difficult. However, it can be done and here are five tips on how to get the clients coming back time and time again.

Build loyalty

You don't need to a set up loyalty card or points scheme to give something back to your consumer base, although it is an idea worth considering if it suits your business. Offering a unique discount to those who have purchased from you before will keep your name in customers' minds and remind them to use your business again.

It's the little things you remember to do, which can build a loyal team of customers. If you record how often customers buy goods from you, send them a thank you card, voucher or another token of appreciation with their 10th order. Whichever way you choose, it will remind your clients how important they are and help create a friendly image for your business.

Big brands like Tesco make the loyalty card option a staple of their success while coffee chains and some restaurants have perfected the "buy eight times, get one free" opportunity. These may be examples of how big businesses retain customers, but it shows the idea works and gets customers returning through doors regularly enough to make up for any short term lost revenue.

Keep communicating

Staying in contact with your customers is essential at all times, whether through newsletters, social media or events. However, it's never more crucial than when something has gone wrong. It's a natural reaction to bury your head after a mistake, but this will only help your clients go elsewhere.

Setting out a clear and open reaction to any issues within your own company will help explain what went wrong to customers, assuring them it won't happen again. Beyond this, they'll understand and see your business as a more approachable brand, one that sticks in their thoughts for future custom.

Never neglect customers

If you want to hold onto customers, your service to them has to be one of your highest priorities. If people who are trying to contact your business are met with half an hour of boring hold music or impatient and inattentive support staff, you'll never build up the loyal base of clients you're looking for.

Make sure everyone representing your business puts forward a positive image and treats customers with the kind of respect which will get them coming back again and again.

Apple and Papa John's Pizza may not seem like two companies with a lot in common, but what they share is a reputation for great customer service, which actively improves their products.

Stay human

For all the money invested into PR and advertising, having a face and personality for your brand is the most effective way to embed yourself in the memories of customers. Take the time to think how you want to present your brand and how you want customers to think of you.

Once you've got this fixed, communicate it to everyone in your business and ensure they present it to customers. Moreover, keep yourself involved with as many stages of the business as possible and interact with customers to keep them coming back.

While most modern entrepreneurs are ready to put themselves at the forefront of their brand, there are few examples as clear as Richard Branson and the Virgin Group. There is no need to look any further to see how much an approachable image can help the success of a business.

Keep it fresh

This is particularly important if your business runs a significant amount of its processes through a website. You can't expect customers to come back if there's nothing new to see. Keeping your product information and highlighted aspects of your brand fluid will allow the public to see more of what you offer and maintain an interest in your company.

Creating and regularly using a blog for your business is also a great way of spreading exciting news, keeping customers interested and building a personality for your brand. Try to keep what's written friendly and relaxed to help the public engage with your brand.

It wouldn't be easy to find a successful business without a blog these days. Many companies tie it in with the use of social media to keep their content regularly updated and give their customers something to be interested in.

Finally, have a look at the blog post about giving customers free stuff to discover another way of getting them to come back.

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