- Most customers aren’t loyal.
- Majority of first-time customers are in the process of fulfilling particular needs and are not interested in long-term engaging relationships with a brand.
- Returning customers are far more profitable than newly acquired customers.
- It is easier and more cost-effective to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one.
- Marketing Metrics explains that you are 50% more likely to sell to an existing customer than a new one. In fact, marketing to a new customer is nearly seven times as expensive as maintaining an existing customer.
What these tell us is that while you may want to continue bringing in new customers, your success is greatly determined by your ability to increase your repeat customers. On average, your loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. Long-term, profitable customer relationships do not happen overnight which is why it is important to continue nurturing the relationship after the initial win. By investing in customer retention from the start, you can dramatically grow your bottom line while transforming one-time buyers into committed brand enthusiasts. Your customers should not feel the need to move away to your competitor because they found your customer care operators to be inefficient or your support mechanism to be weak.
What tactics do you then employ to engage your customers and drive them back to your product/services after every purchase?
Your Social Media Channels
Social media is one of the best tools you can use to communicate and engage with your customers and loyal advocates. How do you ensure that you drive customer retention via social media?
Post-user-generated content: Your social media followers do not want to see your perfectly staged product photos all the time—they want to see your products being used in real-life. One of the best ways to remind customers how great your products are, is by encouraging everyone who buys from you to share photos of themselves using your products on your social media pages.
Hire the right person
The fact is, some people are better at customer-facing roles than others. They are born with a talent with which they naturally communicate well with customers. You can train, you can practice, you can instil culture, but some people just have it in them. Look for it during the hiring process, and continue nurturing it through every moment that employee spends in your organization.
Loopholes in the customer service arena are based on the fundamental ability to communicate effectively. Investing in training here is a no-brainer, but that applies to all staff working who deal with customers directly, and not just CSMs. Effective communication implies sharpening verbal communication and listening skills. Let us have a look at the three core principles:
- Make it simple: Don’t utilize solutions that are long-winded and unnecessarily complex.
- Make it effective: It’s not good enough just trying to help; you need to provide the solutions that truly help.
- Make it honest: Stick to the core organizational values at all times.
Keep refining your product or service
The awesome thing about customer service is that it also serves as your research and development arm. By interacting with your customers, you learn exactly what people are looking for and what concerns them. This should not be taken for granted. Diligently take note of the concerns of the customers and improve your product or service based on the customers’ pain points. Ensure you also give your customers a call back if any of their product concerns have been resolved. This will make them feel that you care.
Include data-driven recommendations in transactional emails
Transactional emails are triggered by a specific action, like completing a purchase, registering for an event, or signing up for a free trial. In this case, we’re recommending that you include data-driven product recommendations in the email you send to confirm a customer’s order. Say your customer ordered a pair of earrings. By including three top-selling pairs of earrings at the bottom of their order confirmation, you nudge them to make another purchase right away.
Encourage upsell and cross-sell with personalized product recommendations
Product recommendation emails differ from transactional emails in that they’re sent proactively. That is, instead of waiting for the customer to browse your website, you nudge them to buy by sending a carefully curated selection of products straight to their inboxes. Basing these recommendations on their purchase history will increase your chance of making the sale.
Reward customers for desired behaviours
One sure-fire way to build customer loyalty is to reward customers for engaging in behaviours that help grow your business. For example:
- Making a purchase
- Following your brand on social media
- Sharing product pages with friends and family
- Publishing product reviews
- Spreading positive word of mouth online
Use customer care emails to build brand affinity
Customer care emails are effective and free ways to build goodwill. Here are a few ideas to stimulate your imagination:
- Celebrate customer milestones. Has your customer crossed an activity milestone? Have they spent a certain amount of money? Have they repeated buyers for certain periods of time? These are all occasions you should celebrate.
- Wish customers a happy birthday. Recognising moments that matter to your customers helps you build a relationship with them.
- Show a bit of gratitude. Saying thank you after every purchase demonstrates that you value their business. This simple two-word message can go a long way in earning your customer’s respect.
Invest in a nice water or coffee system. Place it where customers can easily find it and serve themselves while they wait or prepare for their meetings.
These are not hard and fast rules. Ultimately, what you sell has a huge impact on which strategy you should focus on. Stay customer-centric!