For plenty of people – mainly those in service industries – their current and past customers are important for several reasons:

They have bought your product or service already. So guessing they had a wonderful experience, they might buy from you again. Bringing in new customers costs more than selling to a current customer, so if you keep on selling to them, you are saving yourself time and money.

Existing customers offer priceless feedback on how well you’re doing. Did you exceed their expectations, or were you 'just alright'. Did your product or service provide more than enough value for money? Was your experience with the customer more than enough?

They will save you money because they are a major source for referrals and new opportunities. So with this in mind, you have access to new potentials that know about your business, and have a positive testimonial of what you do.

Most business owners are not trying to influence their customer database, and by not doing this, you are missing out on a major source of new business. Many owners do receive referrals – for which they are thankful – but it’s not from their hard work to seek that referral, or from a strategy in asking for it.

Here are some tips to help you increase the value of your most precious assets:

Please
Anyone with a brain can please their customers. But only if you consistently satisfy your regulars they will turn into long-term business. You should exceed their expectations on every business deal that they have with you. If you do this consistently, you will have a friend for life. For example, you believe your best customer could benefit from your latest product or service. Shock them and give it to them as a gift. Yeah, you could say, “I’ll give you good discount.” Forget the money. Give your best customers a reason to stay with you and spend millions of dollars instead.

Personalize
You are entering a time where one size doesn’t fit all – or even just a couple. You are entering a time where one size only fits one. It must be highly personalized, customer-driven, and customer-focused. The idea is simple: you want to exceed expectations on customers who are going to return the favor by making bigger buys in the future. Give these unique buyers motivation to share information about their background that you can use to make it special next time. The more they feel treated, the more likely they will return for repeat business.

Guarantee
Guarantees are gold when it comes to keeping a good customer when they might take business elsewhere. With a solid guarantee, you let your customers know it’s okay to complain, and that it’s worth it to meet their demands. It really shows that you care. The perfect guarantee is easy to follow, unrestricted, and easy to use.

Feedback
If you don’t have a single clue about what your customer thinks of you, your product or service, your business, then you should just forget about running a business. People will talk about your business not for its social appeal, but for its quality and value. If they have any problems with your service, customers are the most important source to ask for advice. So create a routine to ask for regular feedback. And once they tell you their opinions, thank them and let them know you’re going to do something about it. They will feel like a part of the team, and now they are more likely to send business in your direction.

Reward
Create marketing campaigns that are built to incorporate loyalty and repeat sales from your best buyers. When played out perfectly, these campaigns offer a crucial link between you and your customers, bettering overall customer satisfaction and furthering more sales. Here are some more tips to spark ideas about the perfect marketing campaign:
  • Lowered rates for your best customers
  • Bonus products or services for repeat buys
  • Free product or service for multiple buys
  • Each purchase is worth one reward point (10 points = reward)
Stay in touch
Staying in touch with your customers is very important to establish beneficial relationships. Customers are likely to return if they feel they have a strong relationship with you. Your stay in touch plan should include:
  • Multiple contact information (URL, email, newsletter, cell phone, address)
  • Rate of contact (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually)
  • What you’re contacting them about (business updates, special offers, coupons, tips, resources)
Referrals
You should be picky about the person you want as a referral. The value of your referrals you get varies on how well your customers know what they are looking for. The ideal way to go about things is to write it down, or talk about it to some extent – never assume they know it all. At the end of every sale, ask if they know about other associates who would like your product or service.

Give thanks
Try to think of a unique way to thank your referrals to let them know you truly appreciate them for their hard work. It will make them feel like one of the guys, and it solidifies their behavior so they remember to refer again. A simple thanks can be anything from movie tickets, coupons, or even a personal call.

There are billions of ways to go that extra marathon with the customers who already buy from you. Make this a critical point in any marketing campaigns and you are sure to reap the rewards in the form of referrals and reoccurring business.