Customer Loyalty: Getting People to Become Regular Customers

Written by Nicole Dean

Question:

I started my food business in September of last year. What has been hard for me is that everyone loves the products. I just need to get them in the mood to buy. I mailed out flyers and have sent e-mails but I did not get a huge response. I want to advertise and keep in touch with my clients but I do not want to be spending all my money on that with little to no return. I have some clients that use the products everyday and have made it part of their grocery lists, and some that only use them on special occasions. I need to get more of the first clients….

Response:

The key to this is creating customer loyalty. We all strive for customer satisfaction, but do we create loyalty? We want our customers to come back to us again and again and remember us, our business and our names when they need a product or service. Remember, it is much easier to keep a customer rather than find new ones.

Here are some tips. These are based on a gourmet food business, but can be tailored for any direct sales business.

*Follow up with your customers 2 – 5 days after the initial sale. Ask them if they have any questions or need suggestions on how to use the products.

*Ask for an email address so you can put them in your email club. Email club members should get specials, discounts, recipes, and more. Tell them to expect this newsletter once a month around the 15th. Now make sure you do this! If they are expecting it, they will look for it.

*Follow up again via phone 30 – 45 days after the sale. By now they have used the product up or have fallen in love with it and will want more. A quick phone call saying “Hi, this is Louann with Megan’s Pantry. I wanted to see if you needed any more products. I’m offering a special today…with any $50 order you can get a free spinach dip (or something like this)

* Follow up via phone before major holidays. You’d be amazed at how many people want/need products before Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter etc

*Let your customers know where you will be. Are you doing a craft fair or an expo. Tell them this. Pick up the phone and let everyone know you will be at the XYZ expo on Saturday June 1st. Be sure to leave your phone number in case they have questions

*Create a buyers club. As a member, they can get free shipping with any order over $50 or for every $200 spent they’ll receive a full size product of their choice. Be creative. See what works in your area, but remember to keep it simple.

You’ll notice I recommend using the phone rather than mailings. You will have a much better success rate spending time on the phone rather than via mail. Think about all the things you get in the mail and TOSS. Or they end up in a pile of things to do later. A quick phone call develops a personal relationship that will take your business to the next level! Plus phone calls are practically free, where sending things in the mail gets pretty expensive very quickly.

Spend 5 hours a month (That’s only 1.25 hours a week) on the phone making these calls and you will see your customer loyalty SOAR.

Louann Cormier

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