The number one strategy
in getting repeat and referral business is to Be the Best Value. Too
often organizations spend their time on marketing and sales instead of becoming
the best product or service in the marketplace. Customers talk to each other,
therefore, it is critical to become the best value so that the basis is built
for repeat and referral business. Customer service research shows time and again
that it is far cheaper to keep a current customer than gain a new one.
Two things are essential
in building your business: (1) You must have a product or service that fills
a need, (2) You must build rapport with potential customers so you can find
out what their need is and fill it.
Ask for Business.
Ask intelligently and you shall receive. Consider asking your customers:
- How can we build on our
- What can we do to earn
the right to do more business with you?
Ask for a letter of recommendation
that you can use in your marketing to other customers. Request a referral letter
to other potential customers that could use your product or service.
Have Regular Contact.
Many organizations have customized return cards asking for customer
feedback after a sale or service call. A newsletter with "expert free advice"
and the latest hot trends/products in your industry or business would be appreciated
by most customers. Include a return card or e-mail address so the customer can
indicate their desire for more information on your product or service.
Communicate a Customer
Service Attitude. If your organization uses voice mail, encourage employees
to personalize their message regarding where they are for that week and when
the caller can expect a return call. It shows you put yourself in the customer's
shoes and you recognize the importance of their call.
Ask for Feedback.
When a customer goes with a competitor, don't hesitate to call and ask
for feedback so you can learn from that situation. With current customers, you
may want to ask why they buy from you. Why do they buy from others? When your
customers tell you they are satisfied with your product and/or service, thank
them and ask "If there was one little thing we could do to satisfy you even
more, what would that be?"
If you want to expand into
a new market with your product or service, consider conducting formal/informal
research utilizing potential customers. Provide the participants in your research
a discount coupon for your service/product or some other incentive for participating.
When potential customers see you going out of your way to get input on a new
product or service, they may consider your organization the next time a need
Publish the results of your
research in a trade journal or local business newspaper - it makes you "the
expert" and provides your organization with free exposure. Publicity of this
kind is invaluable and cannot be bought with advertising dollars.
The bottom line is this
-- what are you doing, so people think of your organization when they need a
product or service that you can offer?