Any true entrepreneur must be on the look out for opportunities and strategies for growing his/her business. This is the key to survival and for increasing your income. The key question however is how?
1. Ensure Customer Retention- Selling more to existing customers is a cost effective way of growing your business revenue year after year. The logic is simple. Repeat business costs less than new business, when you factor in the costs of advertising and other incentives required to attract new customers. So build a strong relationship with your existing customers. This will ensure that they're loyal in such a way that they not only buy from you but also spread word about your products and services. The following points will help you create customer loyalty and and also acquire the new stream of customers your business needs.
Adopt a marketing mix that ensures customer retention: As an entrepreneur, you need to learn to combine and align the elements in the marketing mix - product, price, place and promotion, in such a way as to increase customer loyalty.
- First of all, your product has to meet the needs of your customers. For example, as a tailor, your customers may have diverse needs. Some needs include, the basic need for protection from natural elements, aesthetic needs, the need to identify with a certain tradition or culture, etc. It is important that you identify these needs in order to create a well rounded product offering.
- When it comes to pricing, you need to adopt a strategy that will ensure you remain competitive, generate revenue and also one that can be justified based on the value your product gives to customers. Going with our tailoring shop example, many factors need to be taken into consideration when attaching prices to your clothes and services. These factors include: the demand for your clothes, the cost of making the clothes, customer's ability to pay, prices charged by competitors for similar designs and services, etc.
- Place has to do with how the product will be provided to customer. You must constantly carry out research to understand the location of your customers and to determine new and innovative ways of making your products more easily accessible to them. Your placement strategy should be one that ensures that your products or services are easily accessed by the end user. It is important that your products be made available to the consumers at a place where they can conveniently make purchase. You may decide to sell your clothes directly to customers, sell directly to retailers or through the distributors/wholesalers, etc. Your may offer home delivery as an option, etc
- Finally, you need to take a good look at your promotion strategies. You may find that you need to invest more in promoting your business or find new and more effective ways to carry out promotional campaigns. You need to find new ways of persuading your customers to buy more. You could do this by offers such as buy two get one free; make five outfits and have the sixth made for free, etc. Promotion helps you inform, persuade and influence consumers to patronize you more.
2. Provide good quality products and services: when the features and benefits of your products or services are valued and appreciated by your customers, your customer retention rate will be high. It's very important that you also compete on quality and not on price alone. This is because consumers are always attracted by high quality products. In order to build and maintain a loyal customer base as a tailor, you should ensure that you make use of a vast array of quality fabrics, stay up to date when it comes to new skills and trends in the fashion industry, etc.
3. Strive to reach and maintain excellence in customer service: An excellent customer service is one that is professional, knowledgeable, friendly, and reliable before, during and even after a sale is made or the customer's requirements have been met. Providing your customers with good service will go a long way in retaining their loyalty and increasing your chances of obtaining referrals. Give your business client relationship the personal touch by taking note of their birthdays or other anniversary days and reaching out during those occasions with gifts or bonuses.
In summary in order to provide excellent customer service and ensure the retention of your customers, you need to be patient, attentive, well informed when it comes to products and services, and willing to learn from your mistakes. Remember, the customer is king and is always right.
Watch out for our next post on this topic which will deal with more innovative was to ensure your business grows and thrives!