It takes 10 times more money to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer. So, it makes financial sense for a business to work more towards retaining their existing customers than in acquiring new ones.
Loyal customers tend to purchase more as compared to new customers and also indulge in word of mouth marketing which creates brand awareness without costing you anything. That is not to say that acquiring new customers is not important. It definitely is, but as a strategic decision maker, you should ensure your business spends a good amount of time and money keeping existing customers happy.
Your website should meet the expectations of customers, both functionally and aesthetically. An easy product selection process and a hassle-free checkout process help to deliver a positive customer experience. You can even enhance the customer experience by using web personalization to show relevant information based on customer preferences.
When your customers spend money on your product, they expect to receive it on time and in good condition. Inform customers regarding any shipping and handling charges and your return policy beforehand to avoid unpleasant surprises later. Perform a thorough quality check on all your products and verify orders before shipping. Packaging should be practical so that items do not get damaged in transit.
Your customer service should be easily accessible, prompt and reliable. Customer service needs to be multi-channel, serving through phones, emails, SMS, chat, website and social media. Make sure that all places where your customers interact with your brand have prominently visible options to contact customer service. This is including but not limited to your website, web pages where customers view and purchase your products, your social media pages and customer collaboration platforms.
Provide special incentives to your customers in the form of free shipping, special discounts and coupons. Sending holiday messages and emails on special occasions like birthdays make customers feel cherished. A case in point is Zappos which runs a VIP program that rewards loyal customers through services like free next-day shipping, prioritized customer service and email notifications on new products.
Social media is a good reflector of changing customer preferences and brand perceptions. Be active in social media to stay connected to your customers. Events like customer surveys, polls and gamification can get you high customer engagement. Online food order website GrubHub runs an online sweepstake that gives customers a chance to win free stuff for every 3 unique orders they place, thereby encouraging customers to frequently order from their website. Always respond to customer comments including criticisms and complaints and inform customers of any corrective action you take. This encourages a positive response by makes customers feel that their opinions matter.
Connecting the sales of your products to a social cause showcases the philanthropic side of your business to people so that customers who believe in the cause are encouraged to purchase repeatedly from you. This builds customer loyalty by establishing an emotional connect between your brand and the said customers apart from raising money for a good cause. TOMS is an example of a retailer that has tied up the sales of its range of products to various social causes.
40% of an e-commerce store revenue comes from 8% of its customers. While getting new customers is comparatively easy, retaining them is hard. Building brand loyalty through better service, customer engagement and appreciation is the best way to retain your valuable customers.
MAI offers full service B2C and B2B solutions designed to enhance service and improve profitability. To know more about our services, please contact us.