7 Simple Ways to Ensure Repeat Business

According to customer retention expert Terri Schepps, it costs about 5x more to get a new customer then it does to retain a current one. And that’s just monetarily - the actual cost might be much greater if you include the time necessary to acquaint them with your company and your working style.

Given that a lot of companies aren’t even sure how to get a new customer in the first place, I’d say it’s a lot simpler to keep your current ones coming back.

So what does it take to keep your customers coming back to you? A little appreciation, saying hello every now and then, and a few other very easy tasks.

  1. Be up-front and honest about everything Don’t commit the mistake of under-charging for your work, but please make sure your customer is well aware of all charges. Make sure that you both know exactly what is expected out of every purchase, and you will be well on your way to creating a lasting bond.
  2. Always say please and thank you Never tell a customer they have to do something. Nobody likes being forced. Always ask: “would you please send me that information as soon as you get a chance?” And then always remember to thank them for everything they do for you.
  3. Thank them for their business I know I mentioned this just a minute ago, but it really is important. You should always thank a customer for their business. Make them feel really appreciated – they are, after all, putting the food on your table.
  4. Give them something extra when the opportunity arises Going that extra little step will always pay off big time. Doing something extra, even if it’s really small, Will show them that you honestly care about them; and it will guarantee that they always turn to you when they are in the market.
  5. Throw in that personal touch This is where being a small business is a huge advantage. Big companies go to great lengths to make things look hand-written. It’s much easier for you – that trusty old pen and paper is just a drawer away. Also, remembering all of your customers names scores big bonus points (try that if you have a 1500 employee corporation).
  6. Pay your customers a compliment Giving out compliments is good advice in general, and when it’s in a business setting it’s almost silly not to. The key with giving compliments is to make sure they are heartfelt and meaningful. If done properly, you’ll make your customers feel good about themselves and brighten their day a little. Pretty soon they’ll connect that happiness with you; and then you have a customer for life
  7. Ask them for more You might be amazed with this one, if it’s done correctly. After you’ve finished working with a client or serving a customer, tell them that you enjoyed their company and would love to work with them again (notice the compliment thrown in there too). This little step can be extremely effective.

Following all of these may seem difficult at first, but with practice it becomes a lot easier. Start with one or two, and gradually build up until you’re using several of them with all of your customers. You will be amazed at how effective these tiny little measures can be.

Reader Comments

Jul. 3. 2007 1:17 PM
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All of these ideas, while simple and straight straight-forward, are very little and perhaps inconsequential. It seems to me like it would be more important to offer an excellent product that merits repeat business. I wonder how much these will actually make a difference?


Jul. 3. 2007 1:25 PM
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While I agree that it’s important to have an excellent product, I think that a lot of small businesses already do. And if that’s the case, these little tips will make a huge difference. Also, while honesty may be ‘simple’ it certainly isn’t easy and can be a big step towards building long-term customer relationships.

I’m also quite sure that there would still be a big customer retention improvement for small business owners with less-than-stellar products.

There’s one way to see how effective they can be - try them! It certainly won’t take you too long : )


Jul. 4. 2007 7:34 PM
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There are a lot of absolutes up there.  Number 4: “it will guarantee that they always turn to you.” Number 6: “and then you have a customer for life .”  Giving them something extra and paying a compliment works sometimes, and doesn’t guarantee anything, and definitely doesn’t secure them as a customer forever.

You should specify that most of these tips only work in service businesses, like 1, 4, and 7.


Jul. 5. 2007 4:18 AM
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I think Terri is absolutely spot on.

All business transactions involve either a direct or an inferred relationship. These 7 points contain principles which underpin any business relationship.

Of course, if your product is garbage, you can say thank you all you like and people won’t come back to you. Customer retention is all about a holistic approach to your business.

And I don’t agree that these points apply only to service businesses. Literally, perhaps, but each of them is backed up by fundamental principles of honesty and care, and so forth. These apply to all businesses.

However, a businessperson or manager who can’t see themselves doing these simple things should seriously reconsider their approach to business.


Jul. 5. 2007 6:01 AM
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Brandon, you mentioned that tips 1, 4, and 7 don’t apply to product based businesses. I disagree, here’s what I think:

Being honest applies to everyone, across all businesses. I’m not sure how you think this applies only to a service business.

Giving something extra can certainly be applied to product businesses. Think of a retail store in your location that may offer free chocolates, or an unexpected 15% coupon on your birthday.

Have you ever walked out of a store where they didn’t thank you for shopping with them? It’s a lot nicer when they do. And it’s usually common practice for the good ones to say “Hope to see you again soon”

Eliezer - These are all definitely based in caring about your customer, and I think you’ll agree that caring is at the root of customer retention.


Jul. 10. 2007 4:08 AM
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Absolutely!

The mean-spirited money-pinchers may do well for a short while, but truly successful businesses are always customer-centric. That means caring (in some shape or form).


Sep. 3. 2007 4:28 PM
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All of these are good points. Anything you can do to provide excellent service to your customers will help. Just having a great product isn’t always enough.


Nov. 21. 2007 10:23 PM
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thanks for the GREAT post! Very useful…


Dec. 17. 2007 11:49 PM
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I almost agree with all the points except no. 4 (giving some extra)
This might be a pain later on if you get the another job from them.
Coz giving the client extra might spoil their habit of asking for more and more without being paid for that.


Apr. 28. 2010 7:36 PM
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В интернете информации много, а найти нужное порой можно случайно, спасибо


Apr. 29. 2010 4:11 PM
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Копирайтер из Вас не вышел бы, но философ ушь точно получился


Apr. 30. 2010 7:54 AM
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читаю Вас и понимаю, что круче не напишу)


Jun. 2. 2010 2:01 PM
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so useful,thanks~!


Jul. 19. 2013 2:36 AM
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A very practical post. Business owners should not only worry about converting sales but actually making a repeat out of them.


Oct. 25. 2013 5:26 PM
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A very practical post


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Jun. 4. 2014 10:49 AM
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Basically, you have to be careful and offer enough attention to every customer no matter how expensive or cheap their bills are!


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Aug. 4. 2014 8:04 AM
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Personal touch is key, especially when we’re talking about small or medium sized businesses, since most people associate small businesses with passionate people that chose to do things their own way rather than find a job within a huge company that does more or less the same thing.


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