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Sales Eye - How to guarantee repeat business (June 20th, 2005)



How to guarantee repeat business

20th June 2005


What is the secret to guarantee repeat business? The truth is, it's not a secret at all, it is superior customer service.

It is very easy to think that customers buy because of traditional marketing activities, such as advertising, special price offers or convenience. But the one thing that will keep customers coming back to you and ensure repeat business is managing the relationship after the sale is made.


Think about your own typical daily transactions, whether it is buying a newspaper, tram tickets or something from the local store. Sometimes it appears that the people working at these places just don't care. For them, you are an inconvenience, you never have exact change and you constantly change your mind. Truth is, they don't care if you buy or not. When you get treated like this, what do you do? Many times, you don't go back.


Here are some issues and ideas to consider to guarantee repeat business.


Empower employees

Let your employees take ownership of customers and responsibility of problems. You need to teach them how to do this. The days of "it's not my fault," "you have to talk to the manager," and "sorry, that's our policy" are over. Inspire your employees at all levels to think of ways to improve customer service. Start a suggestion box.


More personal contact

In today's business we hide behind e-mail. You can't get to know your customers and build a relationship with e-mail. Pick up the phone and talk to them after a sale, say "thank you" and let them know that you are looking after their best interests.


When was the last time you saw an interesting article and cut it out and mailed it to a client with a handwritten note? This little 'extra effort' sets you apart from the competition, and makes for an easy follow-up conversation next time you see the client at a restaurant or a meeting. It shows you are thinking about him and his business, as opposed to yourself.


Solve problems

No matter how good your product or service is, there will inevitably be problems. How you respond to these problems will determine whether you will get repeat business so here are a few suggestions: never argue with the customer; don't delay in taking action; and accept full responsibility for the problem and fix it.


Personal gift giving

Never underestimate the power of giving a small present with an order. You don't have to break the bank and give expensive gifts, but a small creative present really shows that you value their business.


Create a loyalty program

Do you know why everyone from coffee shops to petrol stations has loyalty cards and programs? It works. We go to our local coffee shop because every 10th coffee we get is free. We pump gas in the same garage because after six months you can redeem your points for a DVD player. Be creative in how you can keep customers coming back for more.


Follow-up after the sale

Do you have a set plan for following-up after your service has been rendered or your product delivered? How about a customer survey, where clients can rate your level of service? Surveys and questionnaires many times give you a reason to call that client and discuss some of the comments they made. If they see a commitment to improving or that you even listen to their comments, it is a big step to getting repeat business.



From Warsaw Business Journal by John Lynch, Matt Lynch -"The Sales Brothers"