Too many business owners spend most of their day working hard to attract new customers, without considering the importance of their existing ones. Customer acquisition is, of course, of vital importance, but you will find that customer retention is a lot more profitable and beneficial. Repeat customers will be far more likely to bring in profits for a business, with some studies suggesting that as much as 80% of all future profits will come from 20% of your existing customers. That means it is more important than ever that you focus on retaining those customers who have already bought from you. If you want to get lifetime value from everyone that buys from you, here are some tips that could transform your bottom line.
“Satisfaction is a rating. Loyalty is a brand” Shep Hyken
Get Your Customer Service Right
The single best way to ensure that a customer comes back to you instead of going to your competitors is to deliver customer service that is second to none. Every stage of the buying process should be a pleasure rather than a hassle, and the more premium your after-sales process the better. There are lots of ways to boost the impact of your customer service. Content that provides value is always a good start, but live demos can also be very useful.
“Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement.” James Cash Penney, Founder J.C. Penney Stores
You should also make sure that you are always ready to communicate with your customers across every channel. This used to be challenging, but you can now use a live chat solution that connects all of your comms channels, so that your team can connect immediately when your customers need you. The more that you focus on customer service and always provide value, the more likely that you will earn repeat customers.
Customer Loyalty Programs
Research shows that a customer who is included in a loyalty program will be 47% more likely to buy from you again compared to new customers. That is down to the fact that a loyalty program will make those customers feel more connected to your brand, while also making sure that they know how much you value them. That is a motivational tool that can inspire a purchase. The more connected a customer feels to a brand, the more likely it is that they will head to that business when they need what it sells. Of course, a loyalty program needs to be enticing if you want customers to sign up for it. That means offering:
- High-Value Rewards: The more that you offer, the more likely that customers will sign up for a loyalty program. The better those rewards, the more probability there is that they will lead to sales. Offer discount vouchers that will lead to more savings the more money is spent. This kind of selling tactic is widely used simply because it works so well.
- Hidden Rewards: One valuable technique to use in your loyalty program is to offer those customers that have signed up to it a head start on promotions and new products. Not only will this make those customers feel more valued, but it can also encourage them to buy. Everyone likes to feel that they have access to secret knowledge, so make sure that your loyal customers get news and information before you make official announcements.
- Welcome Rewards: Start your relationship in the right way by giving new sign-ups to your loyalty program a bunch of free rewards. Discounts and special offers are always going to be important, but it is particularly valuable if you want your new sign-ups to get that sense that you value them as quickly as possible.
- Make it Fun: If your loyalty program is just an occasional email about a special offer then it is going to be boring. If it is too boring then even the most loyal customer will be more likely to unsubscribe. Look at ways to be more creative, and use gamification to get customers more involved and to feel more connected to you.
“A loyal customer doesn’t consider alternatives. He won’t mind paying premium for his valued loyalty.” Unknown
Get Feedback Constantly
One of the best ways to improve and grow a business is to listen to feedback and learn from it. Customer feedback has always been important for businesses, but too many managers and business owners learn the wrong lessons from it. Even the most critical feedback is an extremely valuable resource that you can learn from. The more feedback that you can collect, the more you will learn about your customers and what they want for you. Of course, it is not always easy to get that feedback. You need to be proactive about getting it, and that means live-chat sessions with new customers, and emails post-purchase asking for reviews and feedback. The key here is to look for repeat patterns in negative feedback. If 65% of your customers say that a product will be improved with one alteration, take that on board. Then, use what you have learned and update your products. Do not forget to let your customers know that you have learned from them and adapted.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill Gates
Modern marketing is all about providing value to customers. The more value you can provide, the more that you can benefit and earn from customer loyalty. Email marketing is now one of the most effective digital marketing methods available and is certainly the method with the best ROI. Email marketing can be strategic and fine-tuned more than ever, but those that sign up for your email newsletters must get value from them. That means you need to:
- Use your confirmation email: Too many businesses send a bland confirmation email after a customer buys from them. That is valuable marketing real estate that is being wasted. Use that email to offer discounts, highlight related products, or showcase your loyalty program. Never waste your sales confirmation email.
- Personalize: An impersonal email that starts with ‘Dear Customer’ is going to show that you are nothing more than a business entity. You need customers to think of your business as a team of real people, and that means personalization is vital. Customers want personalized communications that speak to them directly.
Never overlook the importance of emails when it comes to building brand loyalty, and your business will only benefit.
“Loyalty cannot be blueprinted. It cannot be produced on an assembly line. In fact, it cannot be manufactured at all. It is a force which leaps into being only when conditions are exactly right for it – and it is a force very sensitive to betrayal.” Maurice Franks
Customer loyalty should always be the goal of every sale and every interaction with a potential customer. Be there when they need you, and you will find that customers will be far more likely to return, spend, and talk to their friends and acquaintances about you.