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December Issue Feature: 5 Ways To Boost Customer Retention

12-21-2016, Mobile Electronics -- There are plenty of marketing campaigns and techniques designed to attract new customers. But once those customers arrive, make their purchase and leave, how can they be enticed to return?

A first impression is the beginning of everything and the first step in customer retention. Upon entering a store, everything that’s seen is compiled in the mind to create the customer’s first impression—shop presentation, initial interaction with sales staff, whether the customer’s needs are anticipated and more.

Marcel Newell, founder of retail design company, AVIDWORX, noted the importance of the first impression as well as “putting forward a professional appearance and backing it up with friendly and professional customer service. You need to win that customer’s trust to make the first sale,” he said. After that, their trust has to be retained, so by the time the customer leaves the store, they have enjoyed their experience and have fond memories. Boosting customer retention means considering a number of different factors and applying logical techniques that keep customers coming back.

Method 1: Shop Presentation

Upon entering the shop, the visitor formulates a first impression based on what they see and whether or not they are greeted in a friendly manner. Jon Kowanetz of Handcrafted Car Audio in Chandler, Ariz. has been in the industry for 19 years. He stressed the importance of authenticity and being genuine with customers. “I think the biggest thing I’ve learned that relates to customer retention is authenticity. Honesty and integrity, doing what you say you’re going to do, do your best work, and always be pushing the limits,” he said.

How the shop looks—whether it’s cluttered or clean, for example—will stick in the customer’s mind. The first impression is the basis for everything that follows. “If anything goes wrong, and it sometimes will when you’re dealing with cars and technology, a happy customer is a lot more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt and a fair chance to make things right,” Newell said. “In fact, most studies show that it’s not the mistakes that matter to customers, it’s the way you handle them.”

With more than a few buying options to choose from, it’s important to make the customer want to come back by giving them a positive shopping experience, according to Newell. Interactions with customers give salespeople a chance to showcase the benefits of other products. “They may not buy today, but you’ll have given the customer something to think about and a reason to come back.”

Method 2: Forge Connections

Ensuring the customer knows how much you care is an essential aspect of boosting customer retention. Newell recommends checking in with customers who’ve made purchases. Ask them how things are going and whether they’re enjoying the product. Also inquire about their shopping experience. Was it positive? Do they feel any aspect of their experience could’ve been better?

“Post-sale, you absolutely need to keep in touch,” Newell advised, stating that an initial email should be sent to thank the customer, along with any information regarding warranties. Included in that first email should be an invitation to take a survey.

“The survey is another way to intercept unhappy customers before they do anything else that could hurt your reputation, as well as a good way to recognize the efforts of your staff,” he explained.

“After that first email, you need to send them regular emails from your store, at least once a month. Let them know about upcoming sales and promotions, new products, and the advantages of the other technology and products that you sell.”

If something negative occurs, it’s important to see what can be done to fix the issue. “We do recommend calling back customers, especially the bigger ticket customers that have more invested financially and emotionally in your products and installations,” Newell said. And if there’s a problem, fix it right away. “Customers are more loyal to the business that go the extra mile to fix things than they are to the businesses that don’t make mistakes.”

Anything that needs to be rectified should be taken care of as soon as possible. Due to the many outlets for sharing concerns and reviews on the Internet, it doesn’t take much for a customer to post and share their disappointments. “They have Yelp, they have Google, and they can have a huge amount of influence on others,” Newell said of unsatisfied consumers. “It takes years to build a good reputation, but a few unhappy customers can destroy it overnight.”

Kowanetz advised shops to do what they can to stay in front of people and keep them coming back. “We’ll do car, bike, and truck shows and invite all our past customers to check out our work,” he said. “We have special deals on those days and manufacturer demos. We find the bulk of our clients are enthusiasts, so they’re not getting it because they need it, but because they enjoy it. They like being kept in the loop on new things and we keep them part of the community and coming to our events.”

Collect customers’ email addresses and send them a newsletter. Hosting an event can be a great way to thank customers and encourage them to come back to take part in vehicle demos or for a chance to win a prize. When a shop is able to successfully demonstrate how much they care, the customer forms a happy memory and is more likely to return.  

Newell also advised owners and managers to ensure employees are consistent when picking up the phone. “Use a standard greeting like, ‘Thanks for choosing King Audio, the leader in mobile electronics. This is Marcel speaking, how can I help you today?’ It makes your customer interactions more professional.”

This also sets the stage for positioning the brand, another essential aspect of customer retention.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

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