Kill ‘em with Kindness: How to Get More Repeat Customers

Trust—it’s truly the secret to strong, lasting relationships with your customers. While you can’t buy trust or expect it to magically come about with little effort, trust-building is absolutely crucial to encouraging more repeat customers. You need a customer retention strategy designed to cultivate customer trust at every point in the buy cycle.

That’s why so many businesses offer repeat customer perks, such as loyalty cards, customer discounts, frequent flyer miles, and rewards programs. It’s all bait to lure customers back in for more. As long as you continue to deliver on your promises, customers will come back.

 Kill ‘em with Kindness: How to Get More Repeat Customers

Your best bet? Kill ‘em with kindness to earn enduring loyalty and to build customer trust.

Here’s how…

Be More than a Price Tag
As a small business, whether you’re selling a product or service, chances are pretty good you can’t offer a better price than big box stores unless you have an unbeatable business model. If you do try to compete exclusively on price, some company will find a way to undercut you and steal your customers. Add value by offering a unique add-on service or some other enticement to encourage repeat customers.

Take Dollar Shave Club, for example. They automatically deliver something more than half the population needs almost daily, on the cheap. Refer a friend and you get a $5 credit. As they say, “1000 friends gets you 83 years of free razors…and if you live long than that, bravo, we’ll be happy to keep sending.” Brilliant.

Send Personal Thank You Notes and Greetings
A common practice a century ago, handwritten notes are long out of fashion. But you have your customers’ addresses, so why not drop a personal note just after a sale? The gesture shows your company cares and that you’re personally invested in the sale. (And hey, it’s not too late for a Happy New Year note, so send away!)

Issue an Invitation
To land big, repeat customers, nothing beats a personal touch. Invite your big-name clients to lunch or throw an office party to show top decision makers around and introduce them to your staff. OR, try presenting your repeat customers with a secret portal on your website offering invitation-only discounts and special offers. Your repeat customers (big or small) will feel valued and special—you can’t go wrong.

Online Version of Fishbowl Freebies
Restaurants often put out a fishbowl and ask customers to drop in business cards, then give away a catered lunch once a month in return. You may not have a brick-and-mortar and a fishbowl, but you can capture the same spirit with customer satisfaction surveys, online polls, and even social media responses. Provide your customers with an incentive to interact with your brand online and reward your customers with a deep discount or even a free product or service giveaway. Also, hey, take your customers’ responses to heart. Whether B2B or B2C, when people take the time to provide valuable feedback, do not let the opportunity for improvement go to waste!

Focus on Customer Service
78% of consumers say they’ve bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase due to a poor customer service experience. NOTHING beats great customer service. Deliver more than you promised and do it fast. Respond quickly to queries and issues and ensure your customer service staff is always accessible, empowered to fix things, and easy to find.

What is Marketing’s Impact on Innovation for Growth? Download this whitepaper on Growth Cycle MarketingInterested in establishing, building and nurturing customer trust at every point in the buy cycle? In our free Growth Cycle Marketing guide, you’ll learn lots of great, specific techniques for nurturing repeat customer relationships.


Remember, true profitability isn’t simply in the one-time sale—it’s all about gaining more repeat customers. Lay the groundwork for a solid relationship built on trust from first contact, then show your customers so much kindness and care that they’ll remain loyal customers for life.

Shiny Happy People: 9 Reasons Repeat Customers are Your Hidden Goldmine

Gaining new customers is like panning for gold: you can spend hours of back-breaking labor panning for just a few occasional nuggets. Your existing customers are the real mother lode—thick veins of gold you can mine for years on end.

So why do most businesses spend just 12% of their marketing budget on customer retention?

Shiny Happy People: 9 Reasons Repeat Customers are Your Hidden Goldmine

Is it possible they don’t know about the hidden goldmine in their existing customer base? If you’re spending all your time panning for new customers and ignoring the mine, here are 9 reasons to reconsider…

  1. Repeat customers are cheaper. The White House Office of Consumer Affairs says it costs at least six times as much to make the first sale as it does to make the second (or third, or fourth…). When you figure the total cost of attracting a new customer, your profit margin for a first-time sale goes way down.
  1. You’ll build brand recognition AND brand loyalty. Making a name for your brand isn’t easy in a crowded marketplace, but when you build a legion of customers who love your brand, you’ll gain new ground via (the oh-SO-coveted) word-of-mouth. Your customers are also your fans, your influencers, and your evangelists. A satisfied fan base will spread word of your product or service in an honest, organic way by recommending you to their friends and followers.
  1. You’ll boost your bottom line. Most businesses lose 15% to 20% of their customers each year. What if you could cut those losses by half? You’d more than double your company’s growth rate. When you add up the value of a customer, it’s not about a single sale, it’s about total sales over the life of your relationship.
  1. Shiny Happy People: 9 Reasons Repeat Customers are Your Hidden GoldmineRepeat customers spend more than new customers. You haven’t yet established a trust relationship with a first-time buyer. They don’t know if you or your product will deliver the quality and customer service they expect. By the third or fourth sale, they’ll be spending nearly twice as much as a first-time purchaser—and the amount they spend typically keeps growing over time.
  1. Loyal customers are loyal. They’re simply less sensitive to price changes and less likely to abandon you when a better deal comes along. They already know and love your company, so if you focus on customer appreciation, they won’t be eager to jump ship to an unknown just to save a few bucks.
  1. Marketing to existing customers is less expensive. Your customers are already a captive audience. You don’t have to lure them in or chase them down. You know where they are, who they are, and what they want. You can easily use your customer data to deliver offers they can’t resist without spending big bucks.
  1. Your customers really appreciate loyalty rewards. When you offer your existing customers incentives, you strengthen your relationship and entice even more sales.
  1. You can easily encourage loyal customers to rope in their friends. DIRECTV, for example, offers a referral program that rewards both the existing customer and the referral. Each party gets a $10 reduction on their monthly bills for a full year. By stretching the reward out over time, the company assumes less risk of losing money on short-time customers and gives both customers a nice incentive to stay on board.
  1. Existing customers will answer your questions. You want to know what customers want, right? With an existing customer base, you can ask and they’ll tell you. It’s like magic. Shiny happy customers will give you advice, tell you what’s bugging them, and let you and everybody else know what you’re doing right.

Treating your customers like the gold they are pays off in a BIG way. Your Growth Cycle Marketing strategy should include tactics for attracting new customers AND rewarding existing customers. Keep panning for new customers, but never forget where the mother lode is.