How to keep your customers happy for the long term
Ben Hannan, Operations Manager - Innovation & Marketing, Ovato
We’ve all heard the statistic that it costs roughly five times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. It’s often used as the tentpole of any discussion about the positives of nurturing your current customers, keeping them at the front of your mind, and not forgetting them in your haste to grow.
Existing loyal customers are also seven times more likely to test an offering, five times as likely to make a repeat purchase and four times more likely to refer your brand to others. So, keeping your customers by your side is vital. The big question is: how do you keep them happy, so they stick around for the long term?
Make Them Family
Step one is making them feel like they belong with you, and that their choice to spend money with you is the right choice. While your product might bring them through the door in the first place, it’s how you treat them afterwards that will make the biggest impression
Make them part of the family and build a proper relationship that extends beyond a merely transactional affair. Here are three ways to do it:
1) Rewarding loyalty
Long-term customers will feel like they deserve some extra love from you as a reward for their long-standing loyalty.
Offering early access to a new product, giving customers who’ve been with you for a certain period a discount or running a giveaway are all easy and effective ways of making sure your customers feel appreciated.
You can also offer a loyalty program that lets people accumulate points for purchases, which then generate discounts or rewards. Research shows consumers are 85 per cent more likely to choose a brand with a loyalty program than one without, so it’s a great way to obtain new customers and then retaining them into the future. With a mobile loyalty card, you can make it easy for customers to check their points or redeem vouchers at any time.
2) Treating them like people, not numbers
Something as simple as picking up the phone and talking to a valued customer can really cement just how important they are to you.
Hearing a human voice, as opposed to a generic email blasted out to all and sundry can really elevate a customer relationship to something much more personal.
Making the time to add a personal touch to your communication with long term customers can also net you some valuable insights. Your customers might have ideas to improve your offering and will appreciate an avenue to let you know their feedback. You can then share this with your product or development teams to improve your service or products for your broader customer base.
3) Build a community
The most successful brands are those that are ingrained in the day-to-day lives of their customers. By creating an engaged community for your customers, you can elevate your relationship with them from transactional to personal. This could be an online forum, social media group, or even an offline network. Customers will communicate with each other, driving word-of-mouth recommendations, and associate your brand with the positive experiences, insights or connections that generate from the community.
Sephora’s Beauty Talk is a great example of this, an online forum where users share tips and ideas, ask questions and connect with others that share an interest in beauty and makeup. The ‘Beauty Board’ lets users upload pictures of themselves using Sephora products, and each photo then links to the relevant product pages, turning the customers into brand ambassadors and encouraging conversation about the products.
In the B2B world, communities can be centred around helpful advice that enables customers to not only get the most out of your products and services, but to improve their day-to-day roles and progress in their careers. This could be a LinkedIn group or even face-to-face networking catch-ups. The valuable advice and connections made in these forums will forever be associated with your brand.
Love the ones you’re with
When it comes to existing clients, nothing beats nurturing your relationship with them. By investing some effort in making them feel valued and understood, you’re sure to receive many more returns than what you put in, and everyone – you and your customers - can enjoy the benefits.