There is a lot of talk about how to grow your customer base these days, but it is a well known fact that it costs you significantly more to gain a new customer than to keep an existing one. Growth is great, but it is important to remember that retaining customers helps your business in the long run.Research from SumAll found that businesses with a 40% repeat customer base generated nearly 50% more revenue than similar businesses with only a 10% repeat customers. That’s a lot more revenue!
So, how can you capitalize on your existing customers and make them want to keep coming back to you? It’s easier than you might think. Most customers just want to feel valued by the companies they partner with. This type of reciprocity will stick with your customers and extend their value to your business over a long period of time.
Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Feature Customers In Your Content
Spotlighting specific customers in content you send out to your entire fan-base is a surefire way to show them that you notice their loyalty. Giving them this type of celebrity status will make them some of your biggest fans. And what do big fans of anything do? They share their experiences which will also help grow your business. You can feature customers within your content or repurpose their content which features your products.
A great example of featuring customers in content, is the way that theSkimm lists their readers who have birthdays on the days the daily newsletter is released. They even take it a step further and specifically note which of those readers are Skimm’bassadors, their brand evangelists.
You don’t have to be a huge company for this tactic to work. Highlighting customer content is a low cost way for small businesses to engage their customers.
Engage As Friends
Nothing chases away customers faster than a brand that comes across as robotic and stiff. Customers will appreciate it if your brand treats them like humans and interacts with them as humans, rather just brand and customer. If interactions with your customers are purely transactional, they will never turn into fans.
This means when your customers have a problem and reach out to you, don’t just point them in the direction of customer service and call it a day. Listen to them and understand their problem, then stay with them throughout the process of finding a solution. It is frustrating to customers when they feel like they are being passed around from person to person just to get a simple answer. Don’t do this.
Taking the extra time to engage your customers in real conversation will help them feel valued and respected. And remember that word of mouth doesn’t just apply to positive experiences, but negative ones too. A study from ZenDesk found that people who experienced bad customer service were 50% more likely to talk about it on social channels than those who had good experiences.
Add A Personal Touch
The more information you have about your customers, the more customized experiences you can create for them. For example, if you know a client’s birthday, you can send a card or a discount to them as a gift and acknowledgment of their special day. Small touches like these are an important component of customer love. Even though we are constantly bombarded by electronic messages, those with personal touches stand out from the crowd and create a memorable experience.
You can even take it one step further and send them something they didn’t know they wanted. Take a look at their social media accounts to gain an understanding of what they really enjoy doing, then send them a gift you know they’ll love. Don’t pick out something too obvious though. Spend some time and do a little research to find a unique gift. Your customer will appreciate the extra effort.
A different, but still personal, approach is to help your customer do something they love. Help to sponsor your customer’s project and show them you support their efforts. In 2013, Dollar Shave Club ran a campaign called Sponsor Your Thing. The concept was simple, customers could email DSC their “thing” and the company would help in whatever way they could whether that be sending money or using a new band’s music on their podcast. It engaged their customers and made them feel like more than a number to the company.
Your goal as a company should be to improve your customer’s lives in some way. I mean, you’re probably not selling products that you think will make things worse for those who buy them. Part of that mission should be to be the most convenient solution for your shoppers. You can do this in a number of ways, many of which won’t cost you any extra.
If your product is suitable to it, allow your customers to try things on at home for no extra charge. Two companies that do this really well are Warby Parker and Rent the Runway. The first, an eyeglasses manufacturer and retailer, lets customers choose up to three separate pairs of glasses to have shipped to their home where they can try them on and select the best fit.
The later, allows consumers to select two sizes of the same dress to have shipped to them so they can rest assured they are getting the perfect fit. In both cases, customers return the unused product so there is minimal cost to the company, but it makes things super easy for the buyer and eliminates worries.
You can also consider normal user or customer actions and eliminate any barriers to create convenience. Recurring billing, automatic orders, refills, and reminders are all ways you can create convenience for your customer.
Focus On Quality
People like to feel like they have the best thing, no matter what that thing is. And when customers feel like they have the best product available, they’ll do more than just talk about it. So if you focus on providing the best product to your customers, and you keep making it better, you’ll have a ton of loyal customers. Combined with any of the other strategies above, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
If you want to extend the value of your customers, you have to develop brand loyalty. And just like any other asset, brand loyalty isn’t free. You’ll have to do something more than what the mass consumer expects by making sure you are doing something that makes you hard to replace and impossible to forget. It will be worth it.