It takes months to find a customer and only seconds to lose one.
Great customer service. It’s a buzz phrase we hear all the time—but are you really making the most of your customer relationships? Of course most of us are constantly thinking of ways to gain new customers, but holding onto existing customers (and wowing them!) can be even more important.
Not convinced? Harvard Business School notes that increasing customer retention by just 5% increases profits 25% to 95%. Whoa. Plus, 80% of companies proclaim they offer excellent customer service, but only 8% of their customers agreed. Yikes.
Here are a few ways to get on the same page with your customers and ensure you aren’t missing the customer retention boat.
- Repeat customers are your goldmine. They’re less expensive than new customers, they spend more, and they’re your brand ambassadors.
- Great customer service goes beyond simply offering something shiny to get them in the door—it’s about intuitively knowing and deeply understanding what they want, then delivering that consistently. To help you get inside your customers’ heads, here are 12 Books to Read If You Want to Understand Customers Better to add to your reading list.
- Understanding your customers is one of the most powerful things you can do for customer retention. Do so by avoiding these 5 marketing mistakes.
- If you feel like something is missing in your relationship, trust might be the key. Check out these great ways to establish, measure and build customer trust.
- Still not convinced customer retention should be your focus? It’s “Cheaper to Keep ‘Em”—repeat customers literally pay for themselves.
- Win the War on Customer Churn: While 55% of current marketing budgets are spent gaining new customers, there’s only a 5% to 20% chance of making a new sell. Yet there’s a 60% chance of a repeat sale…so WHY does customer retention only account for 12% of most marketing budgets?!
- How do top B2B companies ensure customer retention and repeat business? These 3 important ways they wow their customers.
For ongoing ideas to hold onto your customers be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn.
Today, the decision to buy is no longer a moment–it’s a process. Are you truly connecting with your prospects? Are you engaging with your customers before, during, and even after the sale? Download our FREE White Paper on Growth Cycle Marketing and you’ll learn:
- 14 ways to engage your prospects to drive home the sale
- How to influence your customer’s decision to buy
- Why your current customers are your biggest asset
- The exact type of content your prospects and customers want
- How this proven, 5-stage process attracts new customers and grows your business
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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.
Your best bet? Kill ‘em with kindness to earn enduring loyalty and to build customer trust.
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.
Interested 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.
Want to make an emotional connection with your B2B audience on your next marketing campaign? You’ll need a deep understanding of who your customers really are—and you might have to go against convention to reach them.
Consumers are bombarded by thousands of ads per day. Standing out is no easy task. An emotional connection to your brand is sincere, powerful and hard to shake. It inspires trust and loyalty and goes beyond that fleeting moment of recognition.
B2B or B2C, it’s all Human-to-Human (H2H)
The general perception is that, in B2B, business customers make decisions solely based on cost (i.e. getting more for your money). However, a surprising CEB study shows us that’s just not the case. It turns out businesses are even more invested in emotional currency than individual consumers…which only makes sense, seeing as consumers can return or cancel if they make a mistake, but a company-wide service, software, goods purchase or other investment can represent a huge investment in time and money that’s hard to reverse.
GE has a great example—they’re bent on making brilliant emotional connections to high-level concepts by humanizing new ideas in energy production and cutting-edge technology. (In some cases, quite literally). While these ideas may seem like appeals directly to the consumer, individuals don’t buy power directly from GE, power companies do. The purpose of these emotional campaigns is to build human-to-human consumer trust, strengthen their brand and inspire confidence. GE never forgets that businesses are populated by real people—and at the end of the day, people are making decisions for business growth.
Here’s how you can make that real, emotional connection with your audience, even if you’re B2B…
Hit Them Right in the Feels
Cheerios goes right for the heart. In their eating breakfast with Nana commercial, a son wonders if eating Cheerios for breakfast is like eating breakfast with his (presumably departed) grandma, because, as his mother says, “Cheerios has pretty much been the same forever.”
The B2B Approach: Revisit your favorite customer satisfaction stories. How did you make your customer’s life easier that day? How did you make that customer feel? Retell these stories on your website or company blog.
Offer an Invitation to Sit at the Cool Kids Table
Consumers attach to brands because people like to feel like they’re part of something—like they’re members of an exclusive club. Many brands have created an emotional connection by finding new ways to make customers feel hip, cool and fashionable. One of the most iconic campaigns in history features celebrities and athletes sporting milk mustaches or growing up to meet success. “Got Milk?” is a simple slogan with a powerful message: If you want a body like this, you gotta drink your moo juice.
The B2B Approach: Loyalty programs and repeat customer incentives work wonders: your customers feel valued and appreciated and you get more repeat business. It’s win-win. Invite your customers into your exclusive club with an offer they can’t refuse.
Tap Into Social Conscience
Whole Foods goes right for social consciousness, emphasizing sustainability, organic eating and giving back, speaking directly to popular social causes. For example, if you bought your Christmas tree from Whole Foods, they made a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation. (“You buy a tree, we plant a tree.”) With social media dominated by alarming messages about dying bees, meat full of hormones and global warming, it’s the perfect time for messages about responsibility, sustainability and healthy eating. If the state of the world’s food supply concerns you, shopping at Whole Foods just feels like the right thing to do.
The B2B Approach: Do you have a page on your website dedicated to your company’s values and the causes you support? Even if your biggest contribution last year was sponsoring a kids’ softball team, there’s a story in that and we guarantee your customers are interested in how your business contributes to your community.
Emotional appeal isn’t just for B2C, it’s also a powerful tool for B2B marketers who understand their audience. Use it to build trust and loyalty as you connect with your customers at every stage of the buy cycle.