A wise man said, “Habit is a cable. We weave a thread of it every day until it becomes so strong we cannot break it.” The same is true in marketing and selling scenarios. Small business owners and entrepreneurs know after several months of going into business that their regular customers and clients are on autopilot. When they purchase the same items many times, it becomes a habit for them to pick it up. Some people, for example, habitually use their credit card in making purchases, instead of cash. Others who are more careful with their finances are more inclined to get payday advances.
If a certain business has loyal customers, they should not stop there. Particularly during financially hard times, businesses-big or small, established or just starting out-should go back to marketing basics to retain their loyal customers and gain more clients. The reason behind such thinking is the market shifts that happen. The biggest marketing shift to date is the financial meltdown that happened a year before. People, the consumers, changed their buying habits because of the many threats to their lifestyle and other uncertainties brought about by the financial crisis. These are employee layoffs, cash hoarding, and even postponing regular purchases. When these things get in the way of business, biz owners and entrepreneurs should take a serious look at the situation and evaluate their customers’ buying habits.
Here are five behavioral changes that could mean that their customers are getting ready to turn away from the business, either to look for new, affordable shops or businesses that would fit their budget.
* Decreased frequency in orders or purchases
* Up or down adjustments in order volume
* Switch in communication patterns
* Different organizational structures
* Increase in complaints
Most of these signs stem from economic difficulties, which are felt by the consumer and the business. However, the challenging economic conditions should encourage, not hinder, businesses to continuously provide excellent service and communicating with their customers. If these are in place, there is no reason for customers to complain or even decrease their purchases or orders.
Another strategy to retain loyal customers is for businesses to get them buy something-anything. Some enterprising business owners know the habits of their customers inside out. So, if they heard that their customer just got a fast cash loan or a bonus, they should think of ways to encourage them to purchase something and do business again.