It’s one of the biggest misconceptions in business that new customers should be the focus of the marketing efforts. This is a good idea to some extent, but ultimately you want to direct your attention towards the loyal customers who are the ones who represent a large portion of your sales, even though they are rarely more than 20% of your whole customer base. There are other groups of customers, as well, and even though you should do everything in your power to satisfy their needs, the only true way you can be sure that you’re doing a great job is to focus on the regular ones more so than other groups. Let me elaborate.
It’s arguable how exactly you can create a loyal customer base. For one, your sales representative need to be excellent. Your customer support must be stellar, as well, and you need to do everything in your power to keep as many people satisfied as possible. Since you can’t always be a jack of all trades, and nor should you, because this is rarely the right approach, you need to focus your efforts on the loyal customers. Loyal customers constitute about 20% of your customer base but they also represent a huge portion of your overall sales. Those customers come to your store especially for you. The reasons may vary – you might have the best prices, the right attitude or they may simply like the interior or promotions you’re giving; whatever the case, they would prefer your store to any other. This makes the priority. You need to keep them. Many businesses ignore their loyal customers. “Why would I bother doing something for the loyal customers? They’re already converted…”, I once heard and shivers went down my spine. This is a totally wrong attitude. Those are the kinds of clients you want to have more of. The more you reward them for being your customers, the more they will make sure that they recommend you to their friends and will bring you lots of potential customers. You need to give them an incentive for that, though. It won’t “just happen”. You need to be unique in some respect. Give discount cards to your most loyal customers – show them that you appreciate them. Don’t ignore them, because this is a mistake.
These are the kind of people who enter a store in order to purchase an item on discount prices. One way to convert those people to loyal customers is to give them discount cards but you need to make sure that people don’t begin to exploit this system or else you will start losing money. “Buy from us 5 times and you get a discount for a month”, for example, sounds pretty neat. Or something like that. Apply it to your own business. Give them an incentive to get to your store. Then give them an incentive to come back.
Impulse customers don’t know what they want. They just enter your store because they saw something they liked, or because they’re bored, or whatever. In order to convert them to loyal customers, you need to have excellent sales representatives – polite and helpful. This way even if the client doesn’t purchase something right away, they will probably be back some other time because they will remember the nice service.
Need-based customers are the easiest to handle. They don’t care about pleasantries and wasting time in small talk. They entered the store for a reason, and they know what that reason is. If you want to be in good terms with this type of person, you need to provide quick services and help them satisfy their needs. “Hello, I’m looking for X”, is what they will ask. “Here you go” or “It’s right there” should be your answer. The way to convert them into loyal customers is to provide a good and quick service. Otherwise they will just leave.
In order to serve all these different people, your sales representatives need to have good people skills and a good sense of what type of customer they’re dealing with. Make sure you get the right personnel for the job.