Here’s something that could change your life as a business owner.
You’ve got a 60-70 percent probability of selling to an existing customer. You’ve got a 5-20 percent of selling to a new prospect.
In business, as in life, it’s not uncommon to focus most of your resources on chasing new customers while ignoring what’s already on your plate. The grass is greener elsewhere, eh?
In other windows, if you can master the art (and science) of customer retention, nothing stops you from transforming your business into a sales machine.
So, how do you ensure a first-time customer returns again and becomes a loyal customer? We’ve got the tips and strategies you need.
- Know Your Customers’ Expectations
The surest way to ensure a new prospect doesn’t become a repeat customer is to fail to meet their expectations.
Let’s face it: no customer is coming to buy your product or service with an open mind. You know, the “let me see how it goes” attitude. At least not when they’re spending their hard-earned money.
If a customer buys your product and it doesn’t meet their expectations, it’s unlikely that they will return. In fact, what’s more likely than them not returning is they’ll leave a low rating or negative online comment. This is detrimental to your business.
The only solution here is to offer something that meets your customers’ expectations. This brings us to the question: what are your customers’ expectations?
In a way, you’re responsible for setting these expectations.
If you claim that your product does this and that in your advertising, the customer expects it to do exactly “this and that.” There are also industry standards that the customer expects every business to meet.
Since you have the ability to dictate the customer’s expectations, you ought to be clever when marketing your product or service. It’s better, especially when it comes to customer retention, to under-promise and over-deliver, than go big on promises and deliver underwhelmingly.
- Make the Checkout Process Easy
Often, a customer will make an impulsive purchase decision based on how simple the buying process is. This is an important thing to keep in mind, especially if you’re running an ecommerce store.
In a brick and mortar, the process is simple: A customer walks in, picks the item, proceeds to the counter, and makes the payment. At this point, the only thing that can prevent you from closing this sale is if there’s a long checkout line, or you don’t accept the payment method of their choice.
Online, it’s different. When a new prospect lands on the product page, they have to find their way to the checkout page. If you’re taking your customers through multiple processes before they can finalize their order, you’re discouraging them from completing the order – let alone coming back again.
Therefore, strive to simplify your checkout processing. There’s a reason why the 1-click checkout is game-changing.
The same applies to billing. If yours is a subscription-based business, you want to make it easy for your customers to pay for their subsequent subscription. Using recurring billing software goes a long way.
- Follow Up After a Sale
A new prospect has made a purchase.
What do you do next? Forget about them as you go after the next prospect, hoping that the previous prospect will love your product and come back for more?
Well, it’s true that some customers will come back simply because your product is amazing. But if you want many first-time customers to return, you’ve got to follow up after making the sale.
There are competitors who are also eyeing the same customer. Their charm can steal the customer away from you. So, make your presence known, but be subtle about it. You can, for instance, send an email inviting the customer to share their experience.
- Give Customers Multiple Ways to Contact You
In the digital age, nothing is more frustrating than trying to reach a business that only allows phone-ins.
Seriously, it’s 2020: a time when millennials and Gen Zers rule. Who has the time (or patience) to make a phone call?
If your goal is to frustrate your customers, stick with your phone line. But if your goal is to retain more customers, you need to give them more ways to contact your business.
You should have an email address dedicated to customer service. On your website, offer a live chat option. On social media, set up business pages where customers can contact you.
If the nature of your business calls for it, set up a call center. Customers don’t want to wait for hours on end just to speak to someone.
- Your Brand Values Matter
Over 70 percent of consumers prefer buying from brands that share the same values as they do.
This tells you that your target audience cares about what your brand stands for. If you want to retain those customers, you better ensure your values align with theirs.
When you’re starting your business, take time to establish what your target customers stand for. If they deeply care about the environment, for example, it’s in your best interest to build a company that cares about the environment as well.
Keep Your Customer Retention Rate High
A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. This is literally true in business. Once a new prospect has made a purchase, focus on retaining them. With this guide, you now have a handful of customer retention strategies you can deploy.
Keep at it, and stay hooked to our blog for more business tips.