One of the biggest mistakes most businesses make is focusing all their effort on finding new customers and forgetting about the ones that just bought from them. This is a big mistake because it cost money in the form of advertising and marketing to acquire a new customer.
Your business will make more profits by increasing sales from existing customers because It is up to six times easier and cheaper to sell again to an existing customer than it is to sell to a new potential customer.
Your ideal goal should be to find and keep customers for life. The best investment and ROI is to invest in your current customers and cultivating new business from them than you are trying to chase down new clients. Just a 5% increase in customer retention (stop existing customers leaving) produces a 25% to 100% improvement in profit.
What Is Purchase frequency
Purchase Frequency refers to the average number of times a customer or client purchases goods or services from a business again over a specified period of time. The particular period of time can differ from weekly to monthly, even annually, and normally depends on the type of business or industry.
Purchase Frequency is also known as, the average number of purchases, purchase frequency rate, average transaction value, and repeat purchase rate. The purchase frequency rate is one of the main factors that influence your customer’s lifetime value.
Purchase frequency is all about making sure your customers keep on coming back for more. When you made a sale to a customer, you have earned their trust in your ability to satisfy their needs. That's why it's up to six times cheaper and easier to increase your sales conversion rate, the average transaction value, and the purchase frequency by looking after your current customers.
Why is purchase frequency so important?
It pays well to look after your existing customers. Mark Victor Hansen quoted: "The sole purpose for your business is to Find Customers and Keep Them."
For example: Suppose you have 100 customers who spend an average of $2 500 each per year with you and your customers stay with you for an average period of 3 years. That means each customer has a lifetime value of $7 500. Let's assume you have a customer retention rate of just 10% each year. Therefore, you are losing 10% of your customers every year for whatever the reasons may be. That means you lose 10 customers per year with an average of $7 500 lifetime value. That equals a loss of $75,000 in potential future revenue each year.
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Strategies to optimize your Purchase Frequency
Set a purchase frequency targets:
It is important to have a purchase frequency rate goal to work towards, a goal that everybody in your company should know about. Monitor the results so that you can improve on your strategies if necessary.
Compile a questionnaire to find out what your prospects like and what they don't like and what the amount is they are willing to spend with you. Then compare your product or service benefits to fit their needs. This will help to increase customers' purchase frequency.
Use a survey, questionnaire, or checklist to ask your customers to rate your service. Do this on a regular basis, but keep the questionnaire short, make sure they know they don't have to participate so that it is not a burden for customers. Let customers know the purpose, and importance of the survey in serving them better. If they have no problems filling out the survey, it's a good sign of the type of service you offer.
Identify your ideal customer.
Find out who they are.
Find out what they want and need.
Find out what they would regard as excellent customer service.
Find out what they define as quality.
Find out what level of quality/service they expect from you.
Keep in contact with your customers:
It never ceases to amaze me how many business people out don't even know who their customers are. Your customer database is one of your biggest assets. But the money is not in the list, it's in the relationship you build with your list.
If you want your customers to come and buy more regularly and increase your purchase frequency rate. Send them a letter, call them, it doesn't matter what you do, as long as you do something to keep in touch with your customers. This could be "thank you" cards or reminders for an appointment. Announce new products, private sales, and special events. Send birthday, anniversary, and thank you cards or messages.
Stay in contact with your prospects is one of the most effective strategies to ensure repeat business and higher customer purchase frequency. Customers hate the lack of attention and will be pleased and delighted that someone cares enough to call. Keep in touch regularly and relentlessly within 90 days – more often if you wish, but never let 90 days go by without contact – which is approximately 60 working days. People can remember the last call and conversation clearly for up to 90 days, after that it is as though the mind clears itself of all memory.
This will enable you to choose the clients you want to work with as opportunities arise from your regular, relentless, and creative, and caring contact process spread over 60 working days (or less if you wish).
Create a system:
It is important to develop a system where you keep in touch with your customers. You can either start when the customer buys the first time from you and escalate from there on, which is more personalized. Or you can communicate the same message to everybody just changing every time you communicate with him or her. This is less personalized but much easier to administrate.
Compile a contact list:
It is important to create a data list of all the people you come across. If someone once bought from you, the chances that they will again is fairly good depending on how you handle that person. Go through your invoices, run a competition or let them complete their information on a form. It is much cheaper to resell to exciting customers than to recruit new ones.
Create a file for every client:
Create a file for each and every client you have. Make notes of preferences and disapproval. Make notes when they buy, what they buy, and what remarks they had. They will always come back to you because you are the only person who knows them and what they want and need.
You have their history, so you will know which new services or products to introduce to them what's best for them. Doctors and dentists use this strategy very effectively. They have your medical history on file. How can you use this strategy to your advantage?
Use newsletters to keep in touch with clients. Regularly send out a newsletter to your clients. This will keep you in touch with them and will remind them constantly of you. You can write an article, give tips, or inform them of an upcoming special or launch of a new product. Best of all, if you have the telephone numbers, you can follow up via telephone on them to check if they did receive the letter.
Keep your customers informed and reminded:
Constantly remind your customer of what's happening. Hairdressers and optometrists very successfully use this method to remind their clients when their next appointments are due. You can send an SMS, an e-mail, use social media, or include this in the monthly invoice.
Keep your customers informed about products by sending them mail and summarize the special offers. It may be a new product, service, or product at a special price. To increase your customer's purchase frequency you need to do everything you can to get them back to your business on a regular basis.
Update your client on your work and show your clients what you do. Show your existing clients what you do. Maybe it's time to show some of your latest results. Too often the people that know us best are the people we spoke to yesterday. We tend to take our long-term clients for granted.
Hand out handy gifts:
Hand out handy gifts with your logo and telephone number on it to remind them of you. It is important for your customers to know where to find you. What better way to give them something to remind them of you like a pen, key ring, or ashtray -something they will use every day.
Reassure your customers:
Reassure your customers that they have made the right decision to do business with you. It helps if you remind your client that his or her buying decision was the right one by sending him or her testimonials from other customers, favorable reviews, or press articles. Reassure your customers that they have made the right decision to do business with you and that you will be there with after-sales service.
Annotate special occasions:
Annotate special occasions in your diary and send your customers something on that day. It can be in the form of sms or a birthday card, maybe flowers for an anniversary or an item with your company's logo on it.
Keep your customers informed about your whole product range:
Never assume your customers know your whole product range, inform and introduce when something new has arrived. Your customers must know exactly what you sell and how you sell it. Keep them up to date with new innovations and changes to improve purchase frequency. Introduce them to your whole product range and never assume they know. Remind them because customers tend to forget.
Give your help:
Give your help and get their contribution as loyal customers. By offering your advice and assistance you will build trust and eventually end up with a sale. This means you should also know your product and service. People will remember you if you are willing to help them and will return to you.
Call to congratulate or inform:
Keep your eye on the press, especially in your industry. If something good happens involving your client or prospect, call up and share their joy. Maybe you can help to extend this good news by doing what you do. Also, call to inform them of a special event in your company.
Call to sympathize with your prospect:
If your prospect is dealing with bad news, call and sympathize. Maybe you have a way to help overcome the problem. Send a get well soon card and flowers. A card or flowers will not be wrong and your prospect will appreciate it dearly.
Write a thank-you note for a piece of business:
People remember the little courtesies. A good relationship with your client is more important than doing great work and having a lousy relationship. Thank them for their business.
Acknowledge every order:
Try to acknowledge every order you receive and thank them, it's good business and you will be up to date when the client wants or needs another order.
Advise key clients:
Rapidly and simultaneously advise key clients about new services, products, and other hot opportunities by launching a VIP Facebook page 'Profit Alert' as an example. You can never do enough or too much for your best customers. Use an sms, messenger, or email to rapidly and simultaneously advise key clients about new services, products, specials, and other hot opportunities.
Top of the mind:
Ensure that your business is always kept 'top of the mind' by making phone calls each day and ask your customers how they are. Make a habit of each day calling several of your existing customers just to say, "Hi and How're Things Going " Call them to tell them today's prices, or perhaps to report on an announcement This ensures you and your business are always kept "TOP OF MIND".
Set Company Sales targets:
Set sales targets within your company. Your salespeople must know what their targets are and why they need to reach them and what is in it for them if they reach them. Make it worthwhile for them to reach their targets by giving them commission, prizes, or incentives.
Enhance product knowledge:
People trust professionals who know their products and services when making a buying decision. That way they know they are getting the best solution to their buying need or problem and that you understand them clearly.
If you know your product or service inside out, you will be able to assist any customer in his or her buying decision as well as telling them why your product or service is the best choice. Give sufficient information about your products or services so that your customer can make an informed decision.
Sales team training and incentives:
The salespeople in a company are the most important people in the organization. Those are the people that the customer will see and talk to when walking into your business. Your sales will depend upon these people. What they know, how they walk and talk, how they look and how they manage to handle customers.
Give them the necessary training, set sales targets and standards, give them incentives, and let them feel special. Once again, we can't overemphasize its importance, recognize and reward great service. This is the one area of your business that will payout immediately.
Use effective sales scripts:
Use effective sales scripts when talking over the phone. You can do this yourself, or you can get somebody who does it for you. It is important that you will stick to a premeditated sales script so that you will say the same thing every time you pick up the phone. Ask your customer to buy by either follow up on a direct mail piece or informing the customer about a great special coming up soon.
Hire attitude and provide the skills:
When you hire people for your business, look for the desire to please people in the people you hire. You cannot change people's attitudes, but you can always give people the skills they need to do a great job. Your team is the direct link to your customers and the wrong people with the wrong attitude won't deliver the right service.
Team building sessions:
Team building sessions are important, so brainstorm around problem areas and get new conclusions. It is important to do regular team-building sessions with your team to share different kinds of views and get their input for client satisfaction strategies. Brainstorm around problem areas and get new conclusions. With this, you will also achieve to build their morale as well.
Make sure you are easy to do business with:
The cost of making it easier to do business with you is no charge. All that's required is heightened awareness and acute sensitivity to customer needs. Allow credit cards, debit cards, and checks to make it easier for a customer to pay.
Another good promotional tool is credit facilities, which also help increase sales, although this costs money and depends entirely on your funding resources. After reviewing the customer, offer to open an account for them and complete an application form.
The geographical location of your business:
If you are distributing your products from a building, your geographical location is very important. It won't be profitable to be situated in a quiet area compared to the lease you have to pay. It is always better to be situated in a busy area. It must be easy to get to your place, find parking and reach your shop. Is it easy to find your store?
While it may be true that marketing is King, your store needs to have an orderly structure and many signs to help customers to find it quickly, efficiently, and painlessly. Do this, and not only will your customers return again and again, but they'll also bring their friends with them!
Deliver WOW customer service:
In today's competitive market, treating your customer like they have never been treated before, is not an option, it's essential. Take their breath away. Amaze them. Delight them…over and over again. Can you remember when a business really exceeded your service expectations over the last 90 days?
So do you think it's a problem? This is a massive opportunity for you and gives you a great edge in the market, and enables you to outsell and out market your competition.
You must offer consistency:
Do what you promised, but do it every day. Be consistent in delivering quality service every time they buy from you. One of the reasons they become customers is that you consistently do what you promised, and more. If you promise, for example, repairs finished by a certain time, make the deadline. Deliver consistent and dependable service each and every time. People should rely on you for dependable service each and every time.
Create your service vision and mission:
Create your customer service vision by deciding what you can promise and that you can deliver every time. Under-promise and over-deliver. Get your whole team involved by sharing your vision. Make use of continual check-ups to ensure you are delivering what you promise.
Under Promise, Over Deliver:
Always show your customers they are important to you and your business by always appearing to go the extra mile. Rather under-promise and over-deliver.
Many businesses make the mistake of over-promising and under-delivering. This is a true recipe for disaster. It may get you the business now, but your level of service/quality will make it difficult to compete in the future. If something takes 24-hours to do in your industry, don't promise it in 12, just to get the job or because the customer requests it.
Try to complete a project faster, get a product delivered a day earlier or deliver more than they look forward to. You will win their trust and confidence and have a customer for life. Try to walk that extra mile your customer isn't expected.
Stop Customer complaints:
This is a big one. Have you ever tried to fill up a bucket with big holes? As soon as you close the tap, the bucket runs empty. It's the same in a business that's not looking after its customers.
It's critical to identify what are customers are complaining about in your business. Next, you have to create a plan and put it into action to eliminate these factors. Complaints are a good thing, it tells us how we can improve. To motivate your customers to talk to you if something is wrong because customers do not complain – they just do not come back.
But these mistakes can cost you dearly. In fact, 96% of dissatisfied customers don't complain. On average every dissatisfied customer will tell up to 11 others people, who each will tell 5 more. That's = 55 from one dissatisfied customer.
It's between six and ten times cheaper to keep an existing customer than to gain a new customer.
Obviously, it is better to put measures in place to help prevent a complaint by becoming proactive rather than reacting after a complaint has been lodged. You may be able to solve these mistakes now, but when your business grows and you have more employees and customers, it can lead to business failure.
By handling complaints correctly, 95% of your unhappy customers will return as your most loyal customers.
Show them you care:
Do you adopt the CARE - Customers Are Really Everything - approach to satisfying customers? A customer is not an unwanted interruption in your day: a customer is someone who wants to put his or her money in your cash register. CARE is an attitude - you CARE and they can tell.
If you do approach business with real CARE, you will start by knowing your product and making sure that your staff does too. This will impress your customers and allow you to respond to queries about products or services with relevant information. Knowing your product will enable you and your staff to educate the customer, and to offer more interesting sales talk without an empty hard sell. The result will be more sales and also more accurate quotes and prices to sell that the customer really wants and needs.
Find better ways to service your customers:
Find exciting and better ways to be of service to your customers. Great customer service is a constant total commitment to the customer all the way through the business, not just words on a wall. Deliver only the highest quality services and products, including the way that it is sold, delivered, and maintained.
Reward loyalty with special treatment:
This special treatment can include receiving free merchandise or service, special offers not available to other customers, and special privileges. Rewarding loyal customers is nothing new. Stamp or bonus point programs have been around retail for years. Send them special offers, and gift certificates.
Reward loyalty by creating frequent special offers that encourage your customers to invite their friends and families.
Loyalty clubs allow you to communicate directly with your best customers. You can make them frequent special offers that reward their loyalty and encourage them to invite their network of friends and families. By offering your existing clients special deals, you are not discounting in a manner that destroys your existing pricing. The devices that work best are V.I.P. cards and Multiple Purchase Cards.
Tell them they are special:
A customer will remember how much you were willing to do for him or her in difficult times. Customers do not know what goes on behind the scenes. They take it for granted and think that everything will go as planned. Even when you go beyond the call of duty for them. They may not know how much effort you invested in meeting their needs. So tell them. Let them know how far your business will go to keep them happy.
Ask for feedback:
Don't be afraid to ask for feedback and evaluation to see how you are doing. If there are any problems, it's better to find them out early than receive a nasty phone call one day far in the future. Questions like: "Are you happy with this?" or "Is there anything you are not happy with?" - are the sorts of openers that could let you know if there are any problems.
One of the most important factors in after-sales service is to deliver what you promise. Only make promises that you can keep. This is one of the biggest reasons for the failure of businesses – they are so eager to get the business, they make commitments they cannot keep. And they pay the price by losing the customer. So, only make promises that you can keep.
Stop customers from leaving:
It pays to look after your clients. Just a 5% increase in stopping existing customers leaving, produces a 25% to 100% increase in profit.
To put it another way, if you have 100 clients who spend $2500 per year with you for an average of 3 years, your customer has a lifetime value to you of $7500.
Suppose that you have a customer loss rate of just 10% each year, with a customer lifetime value of $7500 per year. That means you lose $75,000 in potential revenue each year.
It pays to look after your customers:
Delighted customers remain longer in a business, spend more than new customers, and are far less price-sensitive. When mistakes sometimes happen, delighted customers are far more forgiving. Because we get to know customers better over time, they are more likely to give us feedback that is useful for our growth and development.
Delighted customers tell many other potential customers. Satisfied customers tell nobody! Unhappy customers tell a huge number of people and exaggerate. Businesses with excellent customer relations and quality service charge up to 9% more, grow twice as fast and pick up market share three times quicker than their under-performing competitors. Of those customers whose complaints are resolved, 83% will remain loyal and each will recommend you to five others.
Stats show that 68% of customers who stop dealing with a particular organization do so because of some indifference on the part of the organization. It costs between six and ten times as much to gain a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. On average one dissatisfied customer will tell 11 others who on average will tell five others. That's 55 pieces of negative advertising from one dissatisfied customer. Half the customers who tell the business they are "fairly satisfied" won't be repeat buyers.
The average business will lose 10% to 30% of its existing customers this year - mostly because of poor service. Quality, value, and reliability are the most popular reasons given by most business patrons who describe themselves as regular and loyal customers.
So, can you afford to deliver average customer service?
Enhance product improvement:
Enhance product improvement by regularly introduce a new improved version or new add-on product to your non-satiate market. Always be on the road to innovation. This will open a whole new market to your advantage and your existing customers will stick with you.
Don't get stuck in selling the same product for years. As frequently as people's needs are changing, you must keep up and enhance product improvement. It will keep you in the game. Voraciously read trade magazines, business magazines, and newspapers – and frequently attend conventions, expos, and trade shows in search of interesting, exciting new products you can offer to your customers.
Have enough to serve your customers:
You have to make sure you have enough of the right stock to serve your customers. It all comes down to better stock planning. To do this you have to know what is selling well and to ensure there is enough to sell. To service types of businesses, this can mean having enough people to be able to service customers. Make sure you know which product goes quickly and stock enough of that.
Make sure that you don't run out of stock. If a customer doesn't find a certain product in your store, he or she will buy it from your competitor.
Offer your customer something worthwhile and irresistible where they can benefit greatly and which won't cost you much. If you want to you can run this special only for a limited time to encourage them to buy.
Offer service contracts when signing up a customer:
If you are selling a product ask the customer to sign a contract with you to service that product for a certain period. If you are selling consumables, ask for a contract so the customer will use you for a certain time period. Just remember to give prompt and quality service. No matter what you offer, try to sign your customer on for a period; maybe he or she will become a lifelong supporter!
Special of the week promotions:
Repetition pays off. Advertise that you will be holding a special deal of the week campaign, every week. If it is 'buy one, get one free, or 'reduced price of 50%', -deal, keep it interesting and changing every week. People will start to look out for your special promotions and will stay in contact with you.
Book your clients in advance:
Book your clients in advance and make sure the client will return. If your client is happy with your service, try to schedule him or her in for his or her next appointment. This way you make sure the client will return to you and will make use of your service again.
Buyer incentives or VIP Cards:
Buyer incentives or VIP Cards will encourage clients to buy more. Design a VIP card for regular buyers where they can get discounts, receive points, be entered automatically in competitions, and win prizes. This will encourage them to buy even more and they will feel valued.
Supply gift vouchers:
Give your customer a gift voucher for his or her next purchase with you while setting an expiry date to it. He will definitely return!
Map out future purchasing:
Map out future purchasing together with the customer. Decide on which product when to buy and when will be the right time for upgrading the existing products. Also decide when you will do follow-up calls with this client and the client should inform you if someone else enters your area.
Raise credit levels:
Raise credit level to enable them to spend more with you more regularly. The least you can do with your loyal customers who are paying their accounts on time is to increase their credit levels. This way, they will spend more with you more regularly.
Exclusive after hour's sale:
Exclusive after-hour sale for existing customers that's a tie to specials. Send an invitation out only to your existing customers to invite them to an exclusive sale after hours with many specials. This is just for your existing customers and nobody else is allowed to come.
Select a limited number of items and put a huge special on them for a certain period of time. Email the sheet informing your existing customers of this special and ask them to act now for this is not going to last long.
Reward your customer with a guaranteed trade-in price or complementary products when coming in for an upgrade. When a customer wants to upgrade to a better or more advanced version of the product he or she has, offer a guaranteed trade-in price. You can offer your customer another complimentary product if he or she buys a pack of accessories.
Preferred client membership:
Sell for a fee a preferred client membership, which entitles the members to free service, free delivery, on-site consultations, and a money-back guarantee on the membership.
Frequent buyer program:
Develop a frequent buyer program like a simple point system that results in various prizes. Aim the program at the actual individuals – not necessarily bosses – who make final buying decisions or selections. There are many examples and almost every large company is running frequent buyer programs.
Today there are more places to sell your products than ever before. These are all distribution channels that you can sell and market your products through to increase your customer's purchase frequency. How many of them you can use depends on your product, pricing, and target market. However, there may be no single "right" channel. But you should try to use all that you profitably can. For example:
- Direct Sales Force
- Wholesalers, Agents, and Distributors
- Independent Sales Reps
- Mail Order
- International Exports
- Network Marketing
The distribution of products/services is often neglected in the marketing process. Yet fancy advertising and marketing strategies are useless when your product is not on the shelves or when your store is under stocked. You must have a plan for getting your product to the customer and keeping it in front of them.
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