5 Effective Tips to Get Customers and Keep ThemA guest article by James Cummings
Getting new customers is good, but having returning customers is better. This may appear strange, but successful businesses know that not only does over a third of their revenue come in from returning customers, but returning customers actually spend far more than one-time shoppers. Also, it costs far less to retain customers than to get new ones.
This makes it very important that as you invest in getting new customers, you should also consider how to keep the ones you already have.
The following 5 techniques have been proven to aid businesses in customer acquisition and retention.
1. Focus on customer experience – studies have shown that about 70% of buying decisions are based on how customers feel they are being treated. Small, cost-effective initiatives can go a long way in providing the right experience for your customers, and this will help develop customer loyalty. When you focus on ways to better engage your customers and provide quality products and services, you will definitely end up also providing a great overall customer experience. One way to provide good customer experience is to ensure that you are able to resolve customers’ issues quickly and effortlessly. Another study found that 74% of customers who had their issues resolved quickly, and with minimum fuss, would purchase from the company again. In essence, the better you make your customers feel, the more likely they will return.
2. Encourage referrals - Studies have shown that referrals are a great way to attract and keep customers. There is actually no cheaper and more effective method of reaching a new market than by word-of-mouth. In one study, 74% of customers say that referral from peers is a major influence on their buying decision. A customer referral program is a great way to encourage your existing customers to help spread the word about your business. However, it is not enough to simply ask them, you have to offer incentives that would make them want to go out of their way on your behalf. Offering incentives can work both ways - you can offer incentives for customers to promote your business, or you can offer incentives to encourage new customers to buy from you. This will help in lead generation and can actually convert first-time customers to returning customers. This takes us back to the previous tip, creating the right customer experience. When you have a strong relationship with your customers and provide them with positive experiences, they are more likely to recommend your brand to friends and family.
3. Go to Your Customers – Advancements in technology have brought about an evolution in customer behavior. Businesses no longer decide where to operate from, it is customers that dictate to businesses, when, where and how they want to interact. This means that to succeed in customer acquisition and retention, it is necessary for businesses to go above and beyond to provide consistent strong customer experience. Social media has changed the way people connect, and only businesses that can compete with demand on social media will hold on to their customers. Social media provides a great way to engage with your customers. People spend as much as nine hours every day on different social media platforms; it provides opportunities for meeting and connecting with both existing and potential customers.
“Businesses that plan on succeeding in today’s competitive environment will have to maintain a vibrant social media presence”, says Brendan Wilde, Online Marketing Exec at Discount Domains, “it is no exaggeration to say a huge chunk of the action happens there. For example, we have had more people (who are looking for an affordable web host) clicking on our links via our social media posts, than entering https://www.discountdomains.co.nz into their internet search bar”.
4. Reward loyalty – In today’s business environment, it takes more than just having great products and a stylish website to attract and keep customers. There are probably hundreds of other businesses doing the same thing you do. Creating an excellent relationship with customers is essential to retaining them and one way to do that is by having a reward system. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you do, customers are the same everywhere, and a small gesture of appreciation can go a long way in obtaining their loyalty. Rewarding your customers for their loyalty does not necessarily have to be expensive. There are several ways you can go about it. You can let them try out a new product or service for free before making a commitment, you can send a thank you email every once in a while, you can also send them heartfelt messages on special days, and so on. Allowing demos and giving freebies is one of the secrets of fast-rising companies all over the world. EBook and software companies allow both existing and new customers to download a sample of their product and use it for a certain period of time. This way, customers can decide if the product is worth buying in order to continue using it. You can also offer discounts on certain products or give out gift cards. Whatever you plan on using, ensure you are giving something your customers will appreciate.
5. Understand responsibility – “The customer is king”, and “the customer is always right” are phrases that have governed businesses long before the advent of the internet and will continue to do so as long as the world is still spinning. Regardless of the circumstances, always follow the rule that the customer is always right. Of course, there will be times when they are clearly in the wrong, but the way you react to the situation will determine if they will do business with you again in the future. The importance of the customer cannot be overemphasized. Without the customer, there is no business. To help with this, put in place a customer policy that encourages focus on the customer, from product development to customer experience. Your customer policy should contain details of how to deal with unsatisfied customers and steps that your workers must take to ensure that issues are resolved quickly and satisfactorily.
Attracting and keeping customers involves more than just making people smile. To a large extent, it involves knowing what makes your customers tick and giving them exactly what they want. The above-mentioned techniques, if properly followed, will serve as a valuable starting point for your business. You can then refine and modify them as the situation calls for.