smb-tech-trendsHow many of your first-time customers do you convert to ongoing ones? Is the experience working with your company so positive, first-time customers want do business with you again? Do new customers understand the full range of your products or services? Social media and marketing online and off can get new customers in the door. However, it’s time to make some changes if new customers come and go more often than they come back.

Give first time customers a reason to come back:

In setting out to turn first time customers into repeat ones, consider the following:

Make it about them: Customers want to feel you care about their business. There are many first time customersways to do this and good customer service is the start. But there’s more to building a relationship with a customer than promptly answering the phone and providing technical assistance or help with billing.  When you elevate the dialogue from a script to inquiring about a customer’s needs, preferences, and expected outcomes, you position your company as a valued adviser. By the same token, asking your customers for feedback on your products and services builds trust.

Incent them: Show your appreciation for a customer’s first-time business by giving them a discount on a future product or service, a sample, or free shipping, if appropriate. You also may have a loyalty program in place so new customers recognize the benefits of doing business with you on a repeat basis. A program can include frequent buyer cards that provide a discount or free product after so many purchases or specials on certain items. When customers get something extra, they are more inclined to return.

Make an investment: Sometimes it pays to go the extra mile for a new customer.  Add on a special service or product.  If a job needs expediting or something needs special delivery,  cover the cost. Every situation will be different; however, an investment in the beginning can more than pay for itself in the long run.

Showcase your products:  Be sure that new customers understand the full range of your offerings. Take time to explain all of your products or services.  Ask questions to find out what else you might be able to provide. Avoid the hard sell; but aim for a conversation that can lead to cross selling or upselling or a future transaction.

Keep in touch: A thank you email or call is a good way to stay fresh in a customer’s mind. If you have a newsletter or send out emails about new products or service, invite a customer to sign up. Same goes for your blog or social media networks. Consider how your customer base likes to keep in touch and get information. Increasingly people use their mobile devices for information access in addition to communicating.  Make sure your website is optimized for viewing on smartphones and tablets.

Whatever you do to transform your business; make sure your team is on board and as determined as you are to ensure new customers become long standing ones.