The toughest customer to attract is a brand new one; the most important one to attract is a familiar one. Customer retention is more important than ever in the digital age. With so much content, competition, and distractions, it can be tough to rely solely on new business to grow your company. Here are a few ways, and a few tools, to keep great customers coming back.
There is always a lot of focus and emphasis on bringing in new business. It’s easy to equate new customers with growth, but ignoring current or past customers is leaving money on the table. Bringing customers and clients back is often more cost-effective and proven; they have already demonstrated a need for what your company does, an attachment or attraction to your brand, and a relationship with how your business works.
Perhaps the best way of building repeat business into your digital planning is to carve out time in your marketing calendar, as well as investing resources and attention to rewarding repeat business and customer loyalty. There are several ways of doing this, but we’re focusing on some of the digital-specific tools and practices that may be new to brands that are still growing that part of their sales game.
Let’s Hear It. Customer feedback is extremely valuable for a lot of reasons. First, encouraging reviews on Google and Facebook, as well as natively on your sales platform, can help drive new sales by inspiring confidence in future shoppers. However, using survey products to get personalized, sometimes detailed feedback on the user experience and customer satisfaction can help to improve the flow of your sales funnel. Just as important, however, is the rapport it builds with customers. Today’s online shoppers are experts; they can tell you how your business stacks up against competitors, how it could be improved, and what it already does well. Mix in short, single questions pop-ups on your site for feedback with emailed customer satisfaction surveys that include an incentive to come back and shop again.
Communicate. Be accessible. We talk a lot about the importance of keeping social media social, but that conversation needs to have legs everywhere. Check all your digital assets to ensure there is always an easy, obvious way for customers to contact you with problems, questions, and feedback. One of the most effective ways to do this is to create a company newsletter and create a segment that’s focused solely on customers who have made purchases in the past year. It’s often a different conversation brands and customers have when they already have a relationship than someone who may have signed up for a newsletter with ever having made a purchase. This also always for different incentives and can slowly turn into the basis for a customer loyalty program.
Get A CRM. With a big customer base comes the need for organization. Customer Relationship Management is a fancy term for software that organizes and prioritizes communication with your customers. It can be a substantial investment, but it’s often well worth the expense. CRMs allow brands to organize communication with their current and prospective customers, address questions and create communication automation that can be tailored to any number of topics or uses. For most companies, CRMs are an important way to create structure in how they manage everything from promotions, surveys, and customer rewards to more advanced programs like customer advisory boards and brand ambassadors.
Friction. Finally, make coming back easy. Take a look at what it takes to make a repeat purchase from the customers’ perspective, and don’t assume there’s a driving need. Take Starbucks. A customer has enjoyed a cup of coffee. What is bringing them back tomorrow, and the day after that? In addition to rewards programs, Starbucks and other companies have developed ways to make the next purchase easier than the first. One example is their app; customers can store payment information, order ahead, earn points and rebates automatically, and, most important, skip the line when they walk in. These programs make it easier and easier to buy coffee, increase brand loyalty, and reduce transaction friction.
There are a lot of different challenges in different industries, but we’re experienced in creating marketing and business strategies to improve customer retention. Build on the great experiences your brand is already offering and invest in the customers who have already supported you. For more ideas on cost-effective customer retention, let’s talk.