Great marketing provides us with an opportunity to stimulate interest in our business, drawing customers in to sample what we have to offer. Successful efforts may even garner you a position on the “bucket list”; that small ranking of must-see once, must-do once, must-try once products and services that includes of course, your competition.
Such an achievement is wonderful as it is recognition for the hard work put in to building your enterprise; but real success should be measured in good part not only by the volume of first time purchasers; but by the percentage of clients who buy from you again and again, and again…
Much has been said about the cost benefits of attracting and maintaining loyal customers; those who choose you even when the options are plentiful and may quite likely have something equally good to offer.
Analysts note that it is 6 to 7 times more costly to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer. Therefore, it’s equally important, if not more, to cultivate and maintain loyal customers while attracting new customers.
How do we harness the rewards of a successful marketing plan and transform the audience it generated into long term, repeat, supportive, partners in our future success? What steps can we take, what actions ensure such an honor?
Make customers love your products and services
Products and Services are the base of a business. They’re not only important factors that can distinguish you from your competitors, but also reasons to keep customers coming back repeatedly. Products and Services loved by customers often have something in common:
- Realize promised value: Have your products and services performed as advertised? If yes, customers are likely to stay satisfied with your products and services even though they may have higher expectations. Sure, it will be much better, if you give customers more than you promised.
- Deliver a pleasant user experience: Customers are people; people have emotions. Bringing a pleasant experience to the users can produce great influence on improving customer loyalty and spreading your brand. This requires you to invest in the usability, design and interactive experience of your products and services on top of just features. As to how to know customers’ real feelings about your products, social media can be a great tool; you will not find a more unfiltered source of data.
- Provide dedicated support: Service is the most direct way customers feel their importance in your business. Be responsive and helpful whenever customers need your assistance, from pre-sales queries to post-sales support. Let the customers know you are always standing by.
“Quality in a product or service is not what you put into it, it is what your customer gets out of it” ~Peter F. Drucker
Learn from lost customers
When customers stop using your products and services, you lose them. Do you know why each of the customers leaves you?
It would be helpful to create a lost customer database which includes the following:
Reason: Why do they give up on your offerings?
Lifetime: How long have they used your products and services?
Solution: How to convince them to continue using your products?
Requesting such feedback and creating a database on the findings can help you with identifying root cause of your client loss and equally important, preventing future losses. It will give you insights on better serving your current patrons. As we know; happy customers will bring you more customers and opportunities while unhappy ones may cause public relation crises.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” ~Bill Gates
Nurture your supporters
Treat customers as individuals as not everyone responds to event the most sincere gestures in the very same manner. Customize interactions and correspondence; track personal trigger points and reference them when connecting.
Ask for feedback from your repeat patrons and by all means, respond and/or act upon these highly valued nuggets to provide assurance that you are in fact listening.
“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you; they insist that their friends do business with you” ~Chip Bell