Landing new clients is exciting. It’s like a rush, and you watch that profit margin increase, and you can see your business scaling right in front of your eyes.
Your business can’t really scale, however, unless you’re able to keep your clients in addition to landing new ones.
Repeat customers are essential for retention rates and long term success. It’s also worth pointing out that it’s much cheaper and easier to keep your customers on than it is to acquire new ones. And when we say cheaper, we mean it; it’s about 25x more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.
If you’re having trouble maintaining high customer retention rates, don’t sweat it. In this post, we’re going to go over four proven and sure-fire ways to increase your repeat customer base long-term.
1. Have stellar customer service
Customer service is the key to customer retention. There’s a good chance, after all, that many of your competitors have similar products, maybe even at similar price points and features. Customer service is going to be the big differentiator that sets you apart.
Customers are willing to be loyal to brands that prove they’ll be loyal to their customers. Lightning-fast response across all platforms is essential here, and you want to treat each customer interaction like it could make or break your business. Offer personalized solutions where possible, and really listen to each customer's feedback when it comes to concerns or complaints.
This is what customers are now expecting, and if you deliver, you’ll keep the customers. If you don’t, they’ll find someone who will.
2. Set up personalized marketing
Personalized marketing is the best way to quickly get repeat sales from established customers. You already know your customer in terms of what their relationship with your business is, what they’ve purchased in the past, and even potentially how they’re using your product or service. Use that knowledge, technology, and a little automation to create personalized recommendations.
Examples of this include:
- Feeds of “personalized” recommendations based on what they’re currently viewing or their past purchases. This can be displayed on your site and on product pages to increase add-ons or additional purchases.
- Automated retargeting campaigns, including Facebook Dynamic Ads, which show users ads featuring products or services they’ve recently been viewing or ads that complement what they’ve purchased in the past.
- Triggered autoresponder email campaigns that are delivered based on audience segmentation. If you have multiple services, send updates to clients only about the services they use. If you’re selling clothing, for example, you could send emails featuring petite items to women who have purchased those styles in the past. You’ll see better results and it will bring people back to the site because the content is directly relevant to them and their needs.
3. Track all customer relationships
If you want to go above and beyond with building customer relationships, you need to actually be able to track those relationships. Small businesses may have the advantage of regularly communicating one-on-one with clients, but even if you don’t, you still don’t have to be in the dark.
Customer relations management (CRM) tools can help with this. There’s software available that will help you track every interaction you have with every client, even if you don’t have a single account manager working with them. These tools can set up marketing automation like we discussed above, or even show you every message a customer has sent you when you view their profile. When you’re deciding how to help them or how to market to them, this is invaluable information.
Lidiane Mocko, small business CRM coach, had some detailed advice for how to get the most out of whichever CRM system you use to increase repeat clients. She stressed the importance of using the CRM to provide great customer service from the beginning, and using the software to then follow up to ask for testimonials or referrals.
“If you have a CRM system that supports automation,” Mocko explained, “Then you can configure an automated sequence that sends them a request, followed by reminders.”
This is a great way to engage authentically with your audience, and the influx of testimonials can help you sell more, too.
She also recommends tracking which specific items or services each customer is purchasing.
“Make sure you understand what your best seller services and products are. This way, when you create a new product or service that is a natural upsell for your current clients, you can easily communicate this to them.”
Relevant messaging leads to more purchases, so use CRM to carefully curate data about your customers to improve your communication and suggestions for them.
4. Establish a loyalty program
This is the last step that will really drive home the appeal for customers to come back and purchase again and again. Loyalty programs are immediately appealing because they incentivize multiple repeat purchases while rewarding customers for each purchase made or action taken.
There are a number of different loyalty program options you can choose from. These include:
- A points system used by brands like Sephora, which allows customers to accumulate points with each purchase dollar that can be used for free products, samples, or other incentives.
- Referral programs like those used by Stitch Fix, which incentivize users to refer their friends to you and earn discounts, products, or credits if they convert.
- Tiered loyalty programs like White House Black Market that let you reach higher reward levels the more you spend, including first access to sales, new products, or higher discounts.
Consider your audience and what would motivate them most and benefit your business most significantly when choosing a loyalty program.
Ultimately, if you want your customers to value you, then you need to show that you value them, too. This is essential to increase client retention rates, because it’s not only wanted, it’s expected. Customers are expecting higher levels of service than ever before, especially with immediate-response options like private messaging or high-speed phone lines.
Putting policies in place to help your customer service and sales teams have more successful and positive interactions with your customers is a good step, and using technology, policies, and programs to better serve long-term customers will help to seal the deal. If you follow these four steps, you’re almost guaranteed to see an increase in repeat customers coming back to purchase, so they’re all worth the time, effort, and financial investment.
Jamie Lowary is the Channel Relations Manager for PATLive. PATLive is a 24/7 live answering service that answers calls for thousands of businesses nationwide. To stay tuned with more customer service focused content follow @JamieNLowary on Twitter.
The information and tips shared on this blog are meant to be used as learning and personal development tools as you launch, run and grow your business. While a good place to start, these articles should not take the place of personalized advice from professionals. As our lawyers would say: “All content on Wave’s blog is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice.” Additionally, Wave is the legal copyright holder of all materials on the blog, and others cannot re-use or publish it without our written consent.