Sometimes it is the tiniest of details that can cause the biggest headaches.
In July of 1977 New York City suffered a 24-hour blackout that resulted in riots, looting, arson and other incidents of general mayhem. Over 1,600 stores were damaged, 1,037 fires were started and 3,776 miscreants landed in jail.
Why? Lightning struck Con Edison’s Buchanan South substation, but it wasn’t that. Substations are equipped to handle the occasional bolt or two. No, it was a single locknut that an employee neglected to tighten that prevented the circuit breaker from reclosing, therefore cutting off the electricity to most of the city.
If you’re a small business owner, you may be struggling to do so many things at once that the idea of managing your customer relationships may seem like a neglectable detail. However, making repeat customers a priority can help you gain traction in sales and even reduce your workload too.
Need help? A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in place can help you manage your customer relationships through automation that allows you to be in several places at once. you’ll end up being more effective in your marketing, customer service, and the bottom line as you reap the rewards of satisfied (and may we say delighted) repeat customers..
Why Are Repeat Customers Important?
The single most important indicator of whether or not you will close a sale is how much the buyer trusts you. With repeat buyers, you’ve already cleared that hurdle making it more likely that they will make bigger purchases or buy more often from you. They don’t have the same cautious distrust that new customers have when they first encounter your business. In fact, research indicates that repeat customers buy 60 to 70 percent more from a business than a new customer. They also are more enthusiastic about sending referrals your way, since they trust you’ll be able to meet their needs as well. A repeat customer will refer twice as many people as a new customer, and that’s one way to explode your business without having to convince new customers to buy something first to trust you.
How a CRM Can Help You Track Potential Buyers
The problem for most small-to-medium-business owners is that there is simply not enough time in the day to do everything a business requires. Many businesses can’t afford the staff to specialize only in managing customer relationships. The task of managing customer relationships before, during, and after a sale can seem like too much extra work for the crew on hand. However, there is a way to do all that is required to track and maintain the best on-going customer relationships without much hassle: Get your computers to do it. Adopting software that can track contacts, the sales cycle for different customers, and even personalize information, and a lot more. With a smaller investment than hiring new staff, you can...
Contact Customers at Key Times - Thank them for a sale and contact them again to let them know it’s been shipped. Check back with a customer within a week, and then after a month, to make sure they’re still satisfied and include discount coupons to help spur them to make another sale. You can even offer them perks with a free membership to a loyalty program that rewards them for continuing to buy more and more. It can even send your customers a birthday greeting with a special deal for them on their special day.
Track History of Sales - A good CRM for small business can also track the sales cycle to determine if it’s time to offer an upgrade for a returning customer. It can figure out what motivates a buyer to buy by the sales history. Maybe they like to buy in bulk or only when items are discounted. You'll be able to look up their history, if they ever have a complaint, and get their issue addressed in record time. This can increase their satisfaction because it smooths out the sales process, before, during and after a sale.
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Helps Business Owners Schedule Sales Promotions - It can track seasons so that you can adjust campaigns for the holidays, when you’re likely to attract more business. A good CRM collects data year-round so that by the time Black Friday rolls around, you’ll have a good idea what a customer might purchase and have created deals for them targeting these potential sales.
Manage a Loyalty Program - For those repeat customers who buy from you often, a loyalty program can help motivate them to open their wallets even more. It will also keep them loyal to your business. One thing that is the most important thing to remember about repeat buyers: They are not quite as price-sensitive as new customers. Since they trust you and have gotten good deals from you in the past, they are far less likely to abandon you simply because your competitor is cutting prices. However, offering them continued benefits through a loyalty program, be it deeper discounts, free shipping, or cash back, will definitely keep them around longer.
Coordinate Your Sales Approach for the Best Results
Businesses that profit aren’t just lucky, they’ve planned those sales through careful marketing campaign strategies. When they use a CRM for small business, they know who is visiting their sites and what their buying behaviors are. They get feedback regularly on how to better market to the people they attract and can craft multiple sales campaigns targeted to different individuals, thus increasing the likelihood of more sales. If you were to try to keep track of all that on paper, it would soon overwhelm you, but a CRM makes it easy. Once a person completes a sale, the information is stored and contact continues through automatic emails that you have written in advance and stand ready to go when triggered by a date or event.
Email campaigns can then be segmented by buying behavior so that the right offers reach the right people and you continue to mine the rich vein of repeat customer business through loyalty programs and special offers, whether it is a holiday or not. It’s the easiest way to automate customer relationship management so that you can get back to the more important business of crafting the best competition-beating offers as possible. By having a system in place you'll be able to manage those important repeat buyer relationships in great detail in the background, even as new customers come through your door.
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Sure it may take a bit of time and energy in the beginning to learn how it works, but it’s a little thing you can do now that guarantees fewer later mistakes.
Like Dick Rowe’s belief that “Guitar groups are on the way out.”
Somehow he missed out on the fact that in 1962, guitar groups were not only here to stay, but could earn him millions of dollars. He was heard to utter those regrettable words at the conclusion of an audition for Decca Records by non other than John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best.
So think about a CRM for your small business. And like Dick Rowe and Decca, things will turn out well (he later signed the Rolling Stones).