Reeling in new customers is one thing, but an even bigger challenge can be motivating those first-time customers to come back—and convert them into raving fans.
We asked business owners how they drive repeat business and create long-term customers. Here’s how they responded:
Track “red flag” metrics
As a lawn care online booking service, we proactively reduce customer churn and boost retention by using what we call “red flag” metrics. We look for the common leading indicators that could tell us if somebody is about to churn out and not use our platform anymore. This includes things such as they haven’t ordered a mowing from us in over 14 days, haven’t opened or responded to our email, or left a poor rating of their service provider in our system. When a user has been tagged with more than two red-flag metrics, we call to ask what’s going on and how we can do better. The best part…while this helps us retain customers, we also gain new insights into our customers’ logic that help us make better decisions across our business.
—Bryan Clayton, co-founder and CEO, GreenPal, Nashville, Tennessee
Offer a customer loyalty program
My gourmet foods company has a customer loyalty points program. This simple strategy offers one point for each dollar spent with our company. Once a customer’s point balance reaches 350 points, they automatically receive a $10 discount. Also, the points never expire, and we occasionally offer bonus points during sales and at other times. This has worked great for our company in terms of creating repeat customers.
Andy LaPointe, co-founder and owner, Traverse Bay Farms, Bellaire, Michigan
Personalize communications and recommendations
We’ve found that personalized marketing strategies help us build long-term customer relationships. For example, in emails to customers, we always use their name and reference their prior order. Our email campaigns provide recommendations based on the customer’s previous purchases, and we send customized promotions to customers based on their interests and purchase history. We also continuously improve our service by gathering customer feedback and implementing changes based on that feedback.
—Mitch Goldstone, CEO, ScanMyPhotos.com, Irvine, California
Build relationships with customers
The biggest driver of repeat business for my education consulting company is our customer service and relationship-building. When you call us, you get the president (me) on the line. You get your emails answered within 24 hours, and sometimes as quickly as 10 minutes. There’s no being transferred to five different people. We develop relationships with our clients. We attend their bar mitzvahs, weddings, school plays and graduations. Ultimately, clients know we’re on their team throughout the years of their higher education journeys.
—Nikkee Porcaro, founder and president, No Anxiety Prep, Silver Spring, Maryland
Use email marketing “drip” campaigns
As an insurance broker, we encourage repeat business with email marketing drip campaigns. For example, when Medicare open enrollment season comes around, we send out emails and postcards telling our existing clients about Medicare enrollment. This sparks them to contact us and inquire so we can help them shop for Medicare policies.
—Tim Connon, founder, ParamountQuote Insurance Advisors, Altamont, Tennessee
How do you drive repeat business and develop raving fans at your company? Share your insights in the comments section below!Print this article