Understand and Unlock the Power of Existing Customers

Your goal might be to attract and create new customers, but that shouldn’t come at the cost of neglecting the customers you already have.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Cassie Gasaway

Your goal might be to attract and create new customers, but that shouldn’t come at the cost of neglecting the customers you already have.

Research shows:

In short, loyal customers are the backbone of your business. Current customers also generate referral traffic, which is much cheaper than an expensive marketing campaign. If you’re not investing as much as you should in your current customers, here are five ways to fix that.

Host events and invite your customers to attend. Photo Credit: Music City Archery

1. Stay Engaged

Interact regularly with your customers to stay top of mind. Each interaction you have with them provides another glimpse of how to engage. Communicate through different platforms and mediums to connect with customers of all ages. Think direct mail, email, social media and in-person events. Offer great educational content, share new product information, or provide updates and details on hunting regulations. Whatever you do, be consistent or you risk losing their attention and, ultimately, their business.

Read ATA’s article “5 Ways to Effectively Communicate with Customers” for best practices.

2. Ask Them What They Want, Then Deliver

Use surveys, polls, questionnaires, suggestion boxes and in-store conversations to collect ideas and feedback from customers. If multiple people request a class, service or product, investigate how to offer it. By expanding your offerings, you’ll appeal to more people, including new customers. Gather intel and make changes to ensure your business stays relevant and continues to meet your customers’ needs. Your business will earn a reputation for good customer service, which will give you a competitive advantage that leads to happier customers and repeat buyers.

3. Create a Loyalty Reward Program

Speaking of happy customers, a surefire way to increase customer satisfaction is to create a loyalty program that rewards customer each time they buy or interact with your business. These programs are a great way to show your gratitude toward existing customers, attract new customers, and provide incentives that drive traffic and sales. Be strategic with incentives so you don’t hurt your cash flow. For example, customers desire two-for-one range rentals and discounts on service items. Most large businesses have these programs, but small retailers can reap the benefits, too. Learn how to create a profitable customer-rewards program with these four tips from your ATA.

Make sure your aisles are clean and easy to navigate. Photo Credit: ATA

4. Make It Easy to Buy

If you want to sell more goods, make the buying process easy. Try to accept cash, cards and checks and offer contactless payment options like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Allowing customers to use their preferred payment option can reduce pain points and speed up the checkout process. That said, improving the buying experience starts before the register. Your store should be clean and organized with well-marked aisles and products. Your endcaps and merchandising displays should reflect the season and give customers buying ideas. By creating an enjoyable shopping and buying experience, you make it easy for customers to return to buy over and over again.


5. Upsell and Cross-sell

Give customers the option to buy top products (upsell) or recommend complementary products when you know customers will need them (cross-sell). These sales strategies can improve customer relationships when they’re used correctly. For example, upselling can save customers money in the long run and cross-selling can save customers time. Read the customer and respond appropriately because upselling or cross-selling in the wrong circumstances can jeopardize relationships if the customer feels as though they’re being pushed toward expensive or unnecessary products. Customers who trust your judgment and expertise are more likely to take your advice and recommendations, but don’t take advantage of their trust. Assure them that the decision is theirs and allow them to do as they please.

Read ATA’s article “Customers Don’t Always Need the Bells and Whistles” for tips on when to use these techniques to benefit customers.


Final Thoughts

Don’t take your current customers for granted. Instead, make them a priority and work to improve your relationship with them for more meaningful — and profitable — interactions.

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