The single most difficult task for most businesses is acquiring new customers. Not only is it difficult to get people to give you a chance and walk through your front door (even if front door is proverbial)… it’s also expensive.
A dentist may spend, on average, $200 per new patient, and a marketing company may spend $500 per new client. Your company might spend more or less, but there is still an expense. And just because you got someone to come in once doesn’t mean they will come back a second or third time. But what if you could get most, or better yet, all of them to make a return visit? Wouldn’t it be worth investing a little more into those new-found customers to increase the percentage of repeat buyers?
Here are three simple strategies you can use to increase new customer retention.
- Give them an experience – I recently started seeing a new dentist, and on my first visit I was given a huge tour of the office. What was obvious to me, and wouldn’t necessarily be obvious to another, was their scripted presentation. They walked me past a picture of the doctor’s family (he and his five daughters), an American flag, and an Army plaque – they went into great detail about the doctor’s service as a dentist for the Army.
I could go on, but you get the point – they created an experience by giving me a tour of the office and talking about the doctor and the staff. Personally I felt an immediate connection with the Doctor; I have five boys, I am very patriotic, and my dad is a retired Chief from the U.S. Air Force. Now, what can you do to create an experience for new clients that will allow them to connect with you quicker?
- Bribe them – After my appointment was over, I got gifts! Everyone loves getting free stuff. What can you offer your new clients after their first visit? From the dentist I got a water bottle (that I can use while I go to the gym), a pen, a magnet, and a $5.00 gift card to Starbucks. Total cost to the practice? Maybe ten bucks.
I still have and use the water bottle on occasion. If nothing else I see their logo almost every day as I am getting other cups. Their magnet is on my fridge and is currently holding a future priceless piece of art colored (scribbled) by my four-year-old. In addition, subconsciously I see their name and logo as I walk past the fridge each week, hundreds of times.
- Continue building the relationship – The final item they gave me, as I was checking out, was a copy of their monthly newsletter. They handed me the newsletter and proceeded to explain that this was their current month’s issue, and now that I was a patient, I would get a newsletter by mail each month. They even went as far as to open the newsletter and point out some of the fun and interesting sections they include each month.
I do have to come clean; I am the one who taught them that last bit, but it was good to see them doing it correctly. You should always be giving every new customer/client/patient a copy of your current newsletter, and tell them to watch for it in the mail each month. Finally, by giving them a short tour of the newsletter and introducing all the interesting and fun content they will find inside, you will drastically increase readership – and the key to increasing customer retention with a newsletter starts with readership.
When you put all three of these simple strategies in place, you’ll not only convince more of your first time customers to return (and become long term repeat customers), but you’ll also find that your referrals will increase… you have now given your new customers an experience – AKA a reason to talk about you and your business!