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As a business owner, you’re not just concerned with getting first time customers in the door — you want them to keep coming back. The key to a successful business is finding loyal customers.  You only get one chance to make a first impression on customers, so it’s important to make it count.  There are a number of effective strategies you can use to impress customers with a great first experience, making them excited to do business with you again.

Try these five strategies to turn new customers into loyal patrons:

Manage Expectations

To keep customers coming back for more, it’s important for them to know they can rely on you. No one wants to do business with a company that can’t deliver. Make sure key features of your business like product prices, return polices and available shipping methods are understood before a customer makes their first purchase. This way they know exactly what they’re getting and won’t be faced with an unpleasant surprise and feel like you mislead them. It’s always a good policy to manage customer expectations, but do your best to exceed them.

Offer Incentives

While it can be effective to offer customers discounts to visit your business for the first time, you can’t just stop there. Show new patrons how much you enjoyed working with them by offering them an incentive to return for a repeat visit. People will often try out businesses once and never think to go back. However, if you’re able to get them in the door twice, this greatly increases your chances of turning them into a long-time, loyal customer.

For example, many hair salons offers new customers discounts for pre-booking their second and third hair services, before leaving the salon. They also give customers favor cards at the end of each appointment, which they’re encouraged to give to someone for a free hair cut at the salon. When the favor cards are redeemed, the customer who passed the card along receives a discount on their next service.

Create a Customer Database

When a customer does business with you for the first time, ask them to sign up for your mailing list. This way you’ll be able to contact them by text message, email or standard mail to notify them of upcoming events and promotions, keeping your business on their radar. Some companies even use this as a way to reach out to customers they haven’t seen in awhile. They’ll send a little note saying they’ve missed seeing them, sometimes offering a small incentive for a return visit.

Provide Excellent Customer Service

Customers want to know you’re there for them if they have questions, comments or concerns about your products and services. Offering a number of different contact methods such as email, phone, and social media shows people you value their business and want to help them if a problem arises. Make sure customer service information is easy to find, so new clients are sure not to miss it. Even if they don’t need to use it on their first visit, simply having these contact methods available shows that you stand behind your products and place a high value on customer satisfaction.

Develop a Loyalty Program

loyalityFor many businesses, the secret behind turning first time customers into devoted patrons is a great loyalty program. It’s never too early to sign customers up for your program, so get them started on their first visit. Tier reward values according to the number of visits to your company or the amount of money spent. Reward them with discounts, invitations to exclusive special events, special product offers, and more. Loyalty programs commonly help businesses develop dedicated customer followings, especially if there are a number of similar businesses in your area.

For more loyalty marketing tips check out Colloquy.com

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