This week’s small biz question comes from Joseph L. from Boston, MA. Joseph gave me a little background about his business before asking his question. He owns a small appliance repair business, but he has two other employees helping him out with jobs throughout the week. Joseph told me that he worries that sometimes customers don’t come back to his business because his other employees might not be doing quality work. Here’s his question:

“Lots of my customers come back more than once and have me complete another job for them. I’ve noticed quite a few never call us again and I’m wondering why that would be. Are my employees not doing quality work, or do these customers just never have another broken appliance? What should I do to find out?”

This is another great question! Repeat business is very important to you, as a business owner, because repeat customers are worth 4-10X more than acquiring a new customer is to your business. So, Joseph, just like you asked, how can you find out why customers aren’t coming back to your business and how can you get them to come back time and time again? There is a fairly simple answer to this question, and it’s all about engagement. Engaging with your customers, keeping your business and services fresh on their minds, and always being available when they need you. These are the key factors in keeping those customers for life, after you worked so hard to earn them.

How exactly do you engage with your customers? Well timing, content and availability is the secret recipe! You do not want to over-engage by emailing and texting your customers every week. Instead, find that sweet spot between every 1-6 months (depending on your industry and the frequency of need for your services). You can engage by sending out a text message or an email to your customers, and make sure your content is valuable. Don’t email them just because it’s time to send another email. Instead, make it worth their while and something they want to read. Include your current coupons or specials, or let them know the importance of getting their appliances fixed or keeping them up-to-date.  The last piece of this puzzle is availability, meaning your contact information is in the text or email and it’s easy for a customer to get in contact with you to set up an appointment or ask a question. Never send an email without including at least one other way to contact you: phone number, address, website, etc.

Long story short, this is a valuable question because lots of business owners aren’t sure why their customers aren’t coming back. If you’re worried about the quality of work being done, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback in your engagement and provide an email address or phone number you’d like them to send that feedback to.
Thanks for your question, Joseph, and good luck!