By Boyd Wason
We all know how important it is to turn every possible lead into a customer – it’s at the heart of every business. But the reality is that after the sale, with this focus it’s easy for your customers to be overlooked while you’re on the never-ending search for fresh leads. So how does this look for your business?
Research has shown that while 82% of marketer’s state that retaining customers is cheaper than finding new ones, only 15% of companies place a strong focus on retention. And with the average cost of attracting a new customer being widely accepted as five times the amount of keeping an existing one, a focus on retaining customers could mean some serious savings for many companies.
By creating a better customer experience you can make your marketing dollars work harder, and grow a loyal customer base at the same time.
In this blog article we look at the top ten things you can do today to create a better customer experience.
1) Make your communications personal
Try to personalise customer interactions as much as possible. Hey, we all like to feel special, and having a business remember you is always welcome. A great way of making communications more personal is to leverage marketing automation and tailor your website to react to returning customers.
Take a look at our Engaging Partners homepage for example: Our cat or dog functionality uses the power of automation to personalise and change how new users versus old users view our homepage. Our database can remember whether you selected cat or dog for the purpose of further personalisation. This is a great tool for creating a better customer experience to let customers know that they matter to your business. Check out how it works for yourself.
2) Use automation
As you can see from personalising communications – retention hinges on gathering information and timing, which is exactly where automation shines. Automation can save your business a lot of time, energy and money. And it ensures that you’re always present for your customers, even when you can’t be there in person.
Many marketing needs can now be taken care of with automated software tools. Chatbots and email sequences can be set up to give your customers information and assistance, and there are even programs to automate your social media strategies. Combine these with a solid customer relationship management (CRM) system and your customers will always feel they’re being taken care of.
Lifecycle-based triggered communications are another great way to connect with your customers. This can be by way of personalised messages that are automatically sent to individual customers on a specific or significant day. Maybe a customer hasn’t made a recent purchase, they’ve hit a spending milestone, or they get an anniversary reward, this is a way to show that they are remembered and keeps the communication alive.
3) Give customers a reason to keep coming back
Ebooks and templates are great for acquisition but can also be used to leverage some of the popular online freebies that you can create and offer to your customers. Everyone loves free stuff, and if you can provide freebies that bring value, people will be more likely to keep you in mind when they’re ready to make another purchase.
Create content that‘s relevant and interesting for your customers, and make sure to publish and promote regularly to keep them hooked.
4) Net promoter score (NPS)
Asking customers to rate your service experience is a great way to find out more about your customer relationships and measure their loyalty. A NPS is worked out from the responses gathered from a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend us (your business) to a friend or colleague? The customer would then choose a number on a scale of 0-10. The idea of course being that the more likely you are to recommend a business, then the more loyal and happy with the business your customer is. It’s a simple and genius way to measure and improve a customer’s experience.
Here at Engaging Partners we work with Ask Nicely, NPS framework specialists, for our NPS collecting. Ask Nicely has been integrated into out HubSpot platform as an automated process to email our customers with surveys. They also create reporting so we can then assess the data and create any relevant workflows from any information brought to our attention from the surveys.
5) Use emails as retention tools
Instead of mass emails, try using segmentation to send out different versions of your email so your messages are tailored to the needs of exisiting customers. Send out each email, or email sequence, with one specific goal in mind. Whether it’s to inform, nurture, or make a special offer, you should make sure that each email has a single job to do, and that it does it well.
6) Make your customer service exceptional
This should be a given, but while some companies go to extreme lengths to keep their customers satisfied, others leave a lot to be desired. It’s often easy to forget that attending to customer questions and problems is crucial to getting repeat business and glowing testimonials.
Respond quickly to your customers with the information they need to build trust and create a stronger business relationship. Otherwise set up an automatic response letting them know when you’ll be in touch.
7) Involve and interact through social media
Social media is key for interacting with your customers and keeping your business in the spot light.
Make a point of interacting with customers across all your channels and respond to comments and feedback (both good and bad) when it’s possible. This gives an important human touch to your business, lets customers know you’re listening to them, and keeps you in the loop about what customers are saying and wanting. Monitoring your social media accounts has been made easy by setting up alerts and notifications.
8) Be consistent with your message
Keep your messaging consistent across all of your channels. Customers need to see a clear picture of your brand and why you’re relevant to them and if you keep consistent you will seem more trust worthy.
9) Create a memorable experience
A memorable customer experience often lingers long after the customer has forgotten their initial purchase. Even small details like great service, follow-up phone calls, thank you cards, or an unexpected gift with a purchase can turn a bland sale into something special.
Many businesses hold exclusive customer-only events for sales, new product launches, and other special events. This lets customers get closer to your business, and wine and nibbles usually go down pretty well!
10) Don’t forget about what you already have
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. If you’re stuck in a cycle of constantly needing to chase new leads, it may be that you’re forgetting to nurture the customers you already have.
A great customer experience can turn one-off sales into loyal followers that will reward your business with future sales and referrals.