At the risk of sounding sensationalist, that’s exactly what you should be doing if you want to create a long term, successful business. Kidnap it, keep it, and make the ransom so high their loyalty can’t escape.
Marketing to new customers is a proven way to add to your future overall profits, but, too often, businesses overlook the gold mine of customers they already have.
The lifetime value of a customer includes everything they will buy from you today, tomorrow and in the future. It is commonly quoted that it costs 7 times more to sell to a new customer than an existing one. Most businesses are not leveraging their existing customer database and are therefore losing out on a cost-effective source of potential new business.
If the often-quoted 80/20 rule is true, 80% of a company’s sales and profit revenue comes from 20% of its customer base (known as the Pareto Principle).
What are you doing to make sure your customers LOVE you and happily hand their loyalty over?
Here are our 8 hacks for making the most of your existing customer base.
DO THE SUMS
Have you taken a close look at what percentage of your customers buy again? What do you do to encourage your customers to come back to you during that first contact? What percentage of your ‘first point of contact’ customers return within 1-month/3 months/12 months?
KEEP THEM IN THE LOOP
What on-going contact do you have with your customers? For example, a newsletter or magazine, social media accounts, loyalty programmes? Be proud and loud about new developments in your business; let your customers know about your new product lines, or the new employee who has specialist skills in a certain area that could benefit them. Stay in contact and stay in their mind.
MORE THAN A TRANSACTION
To really make your customers loyal over the long term, you can’t afford to treat the relationship as purely transactional. It’s not just about them handing over the money. Customers want to feel loved and this involves you wading deeper into the customer/business relationship. Show you care, show you are genuine and mean what you say. How about a thank you card, sending a box of doughnuts to the office, including them on your website? It’s the little things you know…
PROVIDE A GUARANTEE
A guarantee is a powerful tool in retaining your customer loyalty. If they know their product or service is guaranteed they will feel safe and be less tempted to go elsewhere. Make sure you are completely transparent and state clearly that you welcome feedback. Provide a clear process for them to complain if necessary and show that you will treat their feedback with the respect it deserves. Statistics show that 65 -70% of customers will do business again with you if their complaint is handled fairly (and not necessarily in their favour).
DELIGHT YOUR CUSTOMERS
Providing a streamlined and efficient service from order to delivery, whether it’s a service or product, is great. But it’s not enough if you want to kidnap your customer’s loyalty. Delight and surprise your customer. The more delighted they are with your service the more likely they are to stay with you for life.
WALK THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
Not just once, but every month. Look at exactly what your customer sees and experience when they do business with you. If you are in tune with them you can easily find ways to make processes easier for them. Use exit surveys, online surveys and mystery shopping to view your business from the eyes of your customer. (www.shopperanonymous.co.uk have all the tools you need for true independent feedback about your business). Easier than that, go incognito: ring your office as a prospective customer and experience it first-hand.
USE YOUR CUSTOMERS TO PUBLICISE YOUR BRAND
A happy customer spreads the word. Use loyalty programmes, vouchers, charitable events or seasonal events to spread the word. Successful businesses know that a customer may look/ venture into/ explore their business on several occasions before they actually buy. Create an image that is helpful, community based and responsible; credibility is an underutilised invitation.
HAVE AN AMAZING RECOVERY PLAN
Sometimes things go pear-shaped. You won’t get it right all the time; we are all human after all. But if you view mistakes as opportunities you can make an astounding recovery and your customer will remember the recovery rather than the incident. If the situation isn’t direly serious, try responding with respectful humour – if you can turn the frown upside down then their loyalty will be strengthened on the back of it.
Consumers will always choose to buy from businesses that make them feel valued. The core principles of service and relationship building should be high on the priority list of any business wishing to achieve higher profits and longevity.
What are your customer care strategies and have they been reviewed lately?