The success of your franchise depends to a great extent on the number of new customers that you can attract. A steady stream of fresh clients will ensure that your sales volumes continue to grow at a healthy clip. Your business will register increased profitability and consequently strengthen its financial position.
But adding new customers should not be your only focus. You should devote at least as much time and energy to retaining your existing clients. Getting additional business from a customer who has already bought your product or used your service should be much easier than constantly adding to your client list.
Repeat business from a client has one distinct advantage for your franchise. It costs much less to convince someone who has had a positive experience with your company to use your services again. But it does require a special effort from your side.
How can you build loyalty for your franchise and increase the volume of your repeat business? While the following is definitely not an exhaustive list of the steps that you can take, it will provide you with an idea about what you should do:
Make them feel special
When a new franchise is launched, the entrepreneur would make every effort to ensure that each customer is provided with service of the highest order. But as the business grows and gets established, there may be a tendency to take customers for granted. If a franchise does well, you may not notice if some of your clients drift away to the competition.
Don’t let yourself fall into this trap. A successful business operation can quickly find itself in a position where it finds it difficult to generate an adequate level of sales. Remember that every customer interaction is important. Even if the work becomes routine for you or your staff, the client should feel special every time that a transaction takes place.
Establish a loyalty program that works
Give your customers a reason to remain loyal to your franchise. One of the most effective ways to do this is to reward them for increasing the volume of business that they do with you. If you can structure a loyalty program to offer greater discounts for higher purchase amounts, it will be more effective.
Experiment with different types of programs. In addition to a “tiered” program with stepped-up discounts for greater dollar volumes, you can try to target specific groups within your customer base.
Remember to keep your program easy to understand and honest. No one likes to register for a program and to be told about the “fine print” when they try to get a discount or claim a reward.
In addition to this, the rewards should be within the reach of a significant number of your customers. This will give you a dual benefit. Not only will your franchise register higher sales, you will also get free word of mouth publicity from the customers who benefit from your program.
Communicate regularly with your clients
It is extremely important to remain in constant contact with your customers. But this does not mean that you send them the same message repeatedly. Your communication should be both meaningful and made at appropriate intervals. You have to find the correct balance between retaining top-of-mind awareness and communicating too often.
Your messages should include information about your new products and the ways in which they can provide a benefit to your customer. Use professional language, but avoid industry jargon that some clients may find difficult to understand.
Many businesses miss the importance of replying to the messages that they receive in response to their communication. You should revert within a reasonable period of time and your reply should answer the query effectively.
If you are not able to do this, your communication strategy could backfire. Instead of getting your franchise additional business, it could lead to disgruntled customers.
Tell them about your services and ask for their feedback
Do all your customers know about the excellent service that you provide? Or about the quality of your products? The answer is unlikely to be yes. It is a good idea to include the positive aspects of your products and services in your messages.
Encourage your customers to make suggestions about how you can improve. Even if you can’t use their advice, the fact that you have asked for it will tell the customer that you care about their feedback. Of course, you must remember to thank them and explain your position.
Loyalty is built on trust
If your franchise is successful in establishing a loyal customer base, you will find it easier to achieve increased sales and profitability. But getting your franchise to a position where it can attract large volumes of repeat business from customers is not an overnight process.
You will have to ensure that your products and services are of the highest quality. It is also important to develop an emotional connection with your customers. Small gestures like sending birthday or anniversary greetings can help if they are used appropriately. An occasional note thanking them for their business can also play a role in strengthening the bond that you share with your customers.
Above all, remember that you will have to work continuously to retain your loyal customers. Their loyalty is dependent to a great extent upon how well your franchise can fulfill their requirements. It is up to you to ensure that you maintain the highest standards in the products and services that your franchise deals in.