How to Turn a First Time Customer into Your Best Repeat Customer

Feb 20

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2/20/2014  RssIcon

For any small to medium sized retail business that's looking to experience consistent and long-term growth, developing customer loyalty early on is an absolute must. In this regard, it's your first time customers who need to be the focus. These are the folks who are going to either come back to your store time and again for the products you offer, or who will leave for good once they walk out your doors. Which group they end up falling into will all depend upon their experience while shopping in your store. If you want to turn all first time customers into your best repeat customers, these tips will ensure they'll actually want to come back again and again.

Establish a Rewarding Customer Loyalty Program

By far, one of the easiest ways to make a first time customer want to come back is to entice them with some form of customer loyalty program. Such a program is one that actively rewards your most loyal customers in order to show them that you appreciate and value their dedication to your business and the products it provides. There are many different kinds of customer loyalty programs that your business can adopt, but most forms today use a standard model that offers exclusive discounts, deals, and promotions to those customers that have either spent a certain amount of money or shopped at your store a certain number of times. Another common characteristic of many loyalty programs involves providing "points" to each registered member for every purchase they make, which can be redeemed for products. A brief mention of your loyalty program during a first time customer's checkout can give them a real reason to return.

Make the Most of Your POS System

Checkout is the very last experience that any customer will have during their trip to your store, so having a fast and efficient POS system will decide whether they leave satisfied or frustrated. A satisfied customer who was able to make his or her purchase without unnecessary delays due to technical issues is much more likely to shop at your store again than someone who experienced just the opposite. The only way to guarantee that all first time customers leave satisfied is to make sure your business uses only the best POS systems on the market, meaning those that offer the fastest transaction processing times along with the ability to efficiently handle any payment type whether that be cash, debit, or credit. It's a worthwhile investment to make, one that will only help you build an overall more viable customer loyalty system and, therefore, a better experience for all your customers both new and returning. You can also use the data that your POS system provides to inform your rewards and offers. For instance, if a customer bought a digital camera at your retail electronics business and they are a member of your rewards program, you can send them an automated email offer advertising a sale on lenses or showcasing useful tips for digital photography beginners.

Show Customers That They Matter By Allowing Them to Submit Feedback

Being open to receiving feedback is an excellent way to show all your first time customers that you actually care about their experience in your store and that as a business you are always striving to improve. One way to encourage feedback is by offering customers the option to fill out short customer satisfaction surveys that can be completed either in-store or by visiting your main website. Feedback can sometimes take a more spontaneous form when a customer seeks out an employee, either on the main floor or during checkout, with whom to share either their complements or criticisms. Accepting both in any such scenario is also an important part in making sure customers, especially first time ones, understand that their experience matters. Train your employees to handle accepting constructive criticism from customers and encourage them to share any that they do receive with their higher ups.

The secret to turning first time customers into your best repeat customers isn't really that complex; it all just depends on the overall quality of the customer experience you're able to provide. You can create a great customer experience by establishing a rewarding customer loyalty program, ensuring you use a fast and up-to-date POS system, and graciously accepting feedback in every form it takes. With these strategies, you can turn first-time customers into loyal fans who return to your store time and again.

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