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How to keep your customers coming back

It makes better business sense to keep loyal customers than to chase after new clients.
By Janice Ruth S. De Belen |

Why should businesses strive to nurture relationships with their loyal clients? For one, attracting a new customer costs twice as much as keeping an existing one. Repeat clients spend up to 33 percent more than new customers do. They are also more likely to refer your business to family, friends, and acquaintances than would new clients.


But how do you generate repeat business in this age of ever-shifting customer allegiances? Here are some tips:


1. Deliver the goods. Any effort to keep customers will be for naught if the product or service you are offering is not worth their patronage. Quality is key, according to Jimmy Landicho, owner of clothing subcontractor Apparel 21 Garments. Always ensure that your product or service lives up to its marketing promise.


2. Be honest. "Never cheat customers," says Louie Anastacio, owner of LD Anson Inc., which manufactures stickers and labels for Century Park Hotel, Philippine Airlines, Fortune Tobacco, and Lufthansa Technik. "Keep your word and follow clients\\\' specifications to the letter. Don\\\'t say you are going to use a specific material or technique to make a certain product and then renege on your commitment to save a few pesos," he advises.


3. Be reliable. For Sylvia Yee of W&J Foods, a supplier of burger patties to groceries, cold-cuts dealers, and school canteens, on-time delivery is the easiest way to measure a business\\\'s reliability. If there were hitches in delivery, inform clients and compensate them for the inconvenience. Respond promptly to complaints, questions, and requests for help. Be on time for appointments. Return phone calls immediately. We all know how annoying it can be when companies take ages to respond to a simple request. Even if you cannot solve a customer’s problem right away, at least let him know that you are working on it.



4. Solicit feedback. Ask customers if they\\\'re satisfied with your product or service and find ways to improve your offerings. This shows customers you truly care about your product. And when you actually implement their suggestions, they get a sense of involvement and fulfilment.


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