Q: I own a home based business.
One of may biggest challenges is generating repeat business from customers. What are some cost effective ways to follow up with customers so they keep coming back to do business with me?
A: Follow-up is extremely important to growing your home based business. Like anything worthwhile, consistent follow-up requires a lot of effort, but over time you’ll reap the benefit of a steady stream of repeat business and referrals. After all, it takes far less time and money to sell to an existing customer than a cold prospect. So here are 9 follow-up tools sure to motivate your customers to keep coming back:
1. Thank-you notes:
This is a no-brainier, but you’d be surprised at how many entrepreneurs neglect to write thank you notes especially when they get really busy. Take the time to show your customers that you genuinely appreciate their business. They’ll remember your thought fullness because most of your competition won’t send out thank-you notes.
2. Postcard mailings: If you target consumers, send out monthly mailings that make good refrigerator fodder, such as “Quote of the Month,” or useful tips on such topics as time management, gardening or anything else that interests the bulk of your customers. Avoid being too promotional here. Just provide the kind of information that customers will want to hang on their . The added benefit to you is that whenever guests visit your customers homes, they’ll see your name, potentially leading to conversations about your business.
3. E-mail updates: Think of your e-mail update as a press release that you send to your customers. Providing them with regular product, service and customer updates via e-mail at least once per month will convey a sense of positive momentum. This keeps customers in the loop and, over time, gets them excited to be involved with you and motivates them to pass on referrals.
4. Getting together over coffee or lunch: Try to spend face time in a non sales environment with your customers. Ask about their family, hobbies, personal goals and so forth. When you show customers that you really care about them on a personal level, they’re yours for life.
5. Birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions:
These occasions are very important to your customers and their families and friends. Be among the few who actually remember a customer’s special days, and that customer will never forget you!
6. Follow up on well-being:
For example, if you find that a customer’s wife has been sick, call periodically just to find out how she’s recovering.
7. Pass referrals:
One of the most powerful ways to encourage loyalty in customers is to pass them referrals. When you get a chance, scroll through your customer database and think through people you know who might add value to your customers.
8. Entertaining at your home:
Throw a party for your best customers. You’ll be amazed at how much rapport and good will you can build with people when you get them in your home environment. Your guests will also find value in your party as a networking opportunity for them.
9.Post-sale feedback: Demonstrate that you care about the quality of your service. Call customers and ask them questions like:
Are you pleased with the service you received?
What did you like most about working with us?
What would you like to see improved?
Without this invaluable information, you’ll have a hard time improving our products and services. Besides, when you ask customers for feedback and implement their comments, they feel a sense of ownership in what you’re doing and thus become more loyal to your products and services.(FAW)
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