Delivering a top-notch experience to your customers directly impacts how much money your business makes. This is why [according to Bain & Company]:
- It costs 5x more to attract new customers than to keep existing ones -and-
- Retaining only 5% of your existing customers increases profits 25%-95%
In other words, excellent experience keeps customers loyal. Loyalty keeps buyers purchasing from you (growing sales revenues) AND spreading the word to others for you (reducing marketing costs) because word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing and it’s FREE.
Here are 5 strategies to engage your customers that keep them loyal and excited to give you repeat business.
View Them Like Members Of Your Community
How you view your customers determines how you interact with them and create value for them.
If you view customers simply as a one-time “transaction” or “sale,” then you are not demonstrating you appreciate them. As a result, they could easily be swayed to buy from another company.
Instead, create a relationship that lasts over time by viewing them as esteemed members of your business community. Remember their names, learn a few things about them, ask how they found out about your business, connect them to others in your community. The more you treat your customers like people, the more you learn what matters to them and what doesn’t. Both are important in helping you know how to add value to their experience!
For example, my local exercise studios remember my birthday, greet me by name, and even remember to give me workout adjustments due to my pesky wrist issue. That level of service makes me feel appreciated and excited to come back.
Give Them What They Ask For
Your priority is for people to repeatedly buy your products and services. The most effective way to do this is: to create what they want to buy from you, then sell it to them!
To learn what they want to buy, ask them what their problems are. Hold focus groups, inquire when you see them, send surveys, request reviews, curate a trusted group of customer advisors. Use the insights and feedback to create the solution(s). You can even test with a small group before fully launching.
Once you have clarity on what your customers want and expect from you, innovate creative ways that solves their problem. I recommend putting yourself in their shoes and consider what going above and beyond looks like. Strive for that!
It always helps to double down on key fundamentals such as communicating proactively, sharing valuable info, responding to outreach in a timely fashion, and being consistent in product and service delivery.
If you have an e-commerce business, for example, write a “thank you” note or include an inexpensive freebie as a token of appreciation in your packages. Even small, unexpected touches like these can make a big impact.
Deliver Consistency From End-to-End
Customer experience is the sum of each direct and indirect interaction with your business from the time he/she learns about your brand until the product is used/service is complete. So, delivering across all touchpoints demonstrates thoughtfulness and sets your business apart.
Consider how you can demonstrate brand excellence even before a purchase that would incent them to buy, as well as post-purchase to encourage them to buy again. For example, after the sale is complete, check in and ask how they enjoyed your offering and if they need anything. That might inspire them to buy, even if they had not been considering it before.
Make it easy and seamless for customers to do business with you. Anticipate their needs and design an experience that cuts down on steps, clicks, and time.
A feature I see being rolled out more often is real-time communication (ex. texting and chatting) which is faster and more convenient than email, calling, voicemail.
Yes customers patronize your business, but they are people first. Be thoughtful and diligent in considering how an exceptional end-to-end experience would look and feel and invest in that! It most certainly will benefit them, you, and your bottom line.
Sabrina Smith is the Founder and CEO of Blacksmith, a business strategy and strategic planning consultancy that helps small businesses make decisions to generate higher profits. She combines her creativity and commitment to making an impact to transform businesses successfully. Sabrina has over a decade of multi-industry experience driving performance for Fortune 500 firms.