Could you imagine ignoring the hot leads you spent time and energy attracting and qualifying? What if these were high value leads who had expressed an interest in exactly the product that you sell?
That would be madness. Right?
But it’s what businesses are doing everyday; pouring all their resources into attracting new customers while neglecting the customers they already have. They are missing out on a huge opportunity.
Current customers are high value assets who are far easier to re-engage and resell to. In fact, research has shown it’s 5-25X more expensive to attract new customers than retain and convert current customers into repeat purchasers.
But what are the best ways to look after and resell to existing customers?
Below are five of the best tips on retaining customers to maximize ROI, create brand evangelists, and improve loyalty.
Reward Customers For Their Loyalty
One of the best ways to foster loyalty is to be proactive in providing even more value to your existing customers.
The most common form of loyalty building is with a financial incentive for repeat purchases. You offer users a discount off their next purchase or service billing, they come back to you so you can establish yourself as one of their go-to providers.
However, you’ve got to look beyond the widely adopted methods and look at how you can provide even more value to build loyalty.
Here are a few loyalty and reward programs you can turn to in 2018:
- Gamification. Turn loyalty into a game your users want to win. By assigning points to actions like purchasing or referring friends, engagement increases. Through that engagement, you can build brand loyalty naturally.
- Non-monetary programs. You don’t have to offer cash or gifts to reward users. Sometimes, feeling like they’re a part of a bigger movement is all that’s required. CEB surveyed consumers and found that customers are loyal not to brands, but to beliefs.
- Increase value through partnerships. The more you help customers, the more loyal they’ll become. By partnering with a complementary service provider, you can drastically increase the value of your offering. PriceIntelligently discovered that the more integrations you have, the more reason people have to use your service, which ultimatelylowers churn.
Employing these techniques is a cost effective way to encourage existing customers to repeatedly purchase. At the same time you are nurturing them into brand evangelists who eventually do your marketing outreach for you.
Identify Ways to Stay in Touch Post-sale
It’s important to develop a roadmap for communication after sale. A consistent approach builds trust with customers and, with trust, comes long term loyalty.
For best results, you want to keep communication channels as predictable as possible and fall in line with your customers’ existing expectations.
Email has long been a great medium for offering support post-sale and is definitely something that should be explored. Email is also one of the more effective methods at offering post-purchase cross sells.
In the last few years we’ve also seen the rise of the live chat software. These systems operate much like email, but are able to offer instant feedback and offers. Certain studies have even shown them to be something the general public is open to using.
With the growing abilities of and interest in AI chat, now is a great time to get involved. However, if you are considering getting started, be certain that it links to your wider CRM software for more effective tracking.
By integrating with your CRM, you’ll ensure your entire sales team is on the same page and are able to more effectively follow up with leads.
Establish a Trustworthy Billing Process
After a customer has made a purchase comes the exciting bit where you get paid. Don’t be too hasty to send your bill though. It’s important to think about the billing experience, as is likely the first communication you will have after a sale.
Invoices should first and foremost be clear and easy to understand. Provide simple payment methods, and, as simple as it sounds, make sure all the information is there.
Detail exactly what work was carried out or what’s included with the product with a simple breakdown of where costs were incurred. You want to avoid lack of clarity, as this will destroy loyalty. There’s no room for ambiguity when it comes to the bottom line.
While invoices are typically pretty straightforward documents, that doesn’t mean you can’t add a little brand personality to them. Using an invoice template is a quick an easy way to a clear, easy to use, professional looking invoice.
Just make sure you customize it to make it your own and reinforce not only your brand image, but also your brand’s ideals.
Communicate on an Individual Level
Use the information you have, or gather new information – eg. their birthday – to optimize the customer’s experience. You could send them a Happy Birthday email or even a gift, or simply reference in communications what they are interested in. These small touches can make all the difference when it comes to loyalty.
Also make sure you know their communication preferences. How do they like to be contacted, and how often? Do they appreciate a joke or like to keep things formal? How do they interact with your site before purchasing? Perhaps you could add a message to help them along the way.
You need to test as many different personalization track engagement to find out what works best with your audience. So don’t be afraid to try new approaches as long as you measure the results.
Continuously Improve and Expand Your Product or Service
Identifying why customers churn is key to understanding where you can improve. If you are already in regular contact with the customer, it’s as simple as asking for honest feedback.
You can do this via email, over the phone, or using online forms. Don’t bombard them, but do try to gain feedback throughout the sales process, from key decision makers as well as more junior members of the team. This will give you the most comprehensive idea of where to improve.
Customer feedback combined with accurate metrics is the killer formula that will help you evolve your customer experience to be the best it can be.