According to SumAll, a marketing analytics company, 25% to 40% of business revenue comes from returning customers, but it can take up to five years for a business to achieve that level of stability.

One of the key elements for great customer service is communication.

Today, I want to talk about keeping in touch with your customers the right way. Enabling you to improve on your rapport during the sales process, and build on a lasting relationship that keeps your clients returning to your business time and time again.

One of the key reasons to focus on repeat custom is that it costs less to look after a current sales relationship than trying to chase new clients

If you’re unsure about the best way to communicate with new and existing customers, have a think about being on the receiving end. What do your suppliers do right? More importantly, what could they improve on? The things that annoy you are likely to be the same issues that bother your customers.

Customers will always value and appreciate honesty.

If something isn’t clear make sure you get clarity before starting work. If there’s something you can’t do – tell your client! Sometimes the fear of getting it wrong can confuse our thinking, leaving us unsure of how to proceed and struggling on with a task we know isn’t right.

Regular updates are essential during the sales and delivery process. Whether you have an ecommerce store, you’re a virtual assistant working on an email mailing list, or you’re a graphic designer working on a branding project.

From first contact to delivering the finished product – your customers need to know which stage of the sales journey they’re at, and what to expect next.

It’s important that you do advise of the potential for issues before they can become an issue! This goes back to the honesty and transparency that you expect as a customer, and your own clients deserve too. It’s always better to be frank and say, ‘something has come up that might need me to take some time out, the delivery date may have to change – is that ok?’, than leaving your client to wonder what’s happening if you should suddenly disappear for a day or two.

Following up with your customers after you’ve finished working with them is important to – and this is the part where you can turn existing clients into repeating ones. All too often, once you’ve delivered your product or service, communications will cease. You’ve completed your end of the deal, if they were happy they’ll come back for more, right?

Ever heard of ‘out of sight, out of mind’?

It’s very true when it comes to business dealings. Business owners are so busy with their day to day that you should be consciously reminding them that you’re still there, ready to help them then they need you again.

Keeping in touch on social media is a great way of achieving this. By being socially active on Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels, you’re not only reminding your customers that you’re there but you’re directly helping their marketing efforts too.

An email newsletter is also an excellent way of keeping communication channels open and introducing your customers to new products or services, updates they need to know about for their business or industry, and reminders of how great you are through a case study or blog.

Find out more about email newsletters and how I can help you with them here.

Then there’s always the personal touch. Christmas is a prime time for sending a personal Christmas card with a thank you message, maybe even a small gift if your budget will allow for it. As many businesses work on their business goals and objectives in January, this is a great time to be reminding them that you’re ‘there’. Although other holidays can be useful with a little imagination on your part.

Clear communication is vital for any business, but when it comes to keeping your customers happy and encouraging their repeat business, it really is crucial. You don’t have to be constantly emailing them to remind them of what you do, but do try some of my suggestions and let me know how you get on!