Businesses spend a lot of time searching out new customers when they are in growth mode. However, that search comes at a price. Per behavioral analytics and engagement platform Kissmetrics, focusing on new business rather than cultivating current ones can cost seven times more. Sure, you cannot ignore finding new business, don’t ignore your chance to turn current and past customers into loyal, repeat ones.
To keep your business funded for growth, repeat business is a vital piece of the puzzle. In fact, 25% to 40% of the total revenue of the most stable businesses in the SumAll network come from returning customers, according to the social analytics platform. It is a mind-shift, especially for established businesses, to transform your business model so your current customers fuel your bottom line and new business are your bonus. This not only helps in good times but also keeps your business steady in lean times as well.
While you will never eliminate the “personal touch”—nor should you want to—in today’s digital age, building these long-term relationships takes just a little creativity and time.
Customer loyalty is built primarily through customer service. In fact, according to Loyalty360, 60% of consumers will abandon their online shopping carts and not return for another shopping trip if they do not receive great customer service. You can take your customer-first focus online as easy as having an FAQ page on your site. Take it a step further and offer online chat with your tech support or customer service team to allow customers the opportunity to seek quick, personalized help for their issues. You can even incorporate your social media into your customer service strategy. However, if you do this, monitoring your channels is essential so your staff responds quickly and don’t disappoint customers expecting instant social media gratification.
Using your social media can help improve your connection with customers and turn them into loyal fans. According to a study by Deloitte, 75% of online Americans say product information found on social media influences their shopping behavior and enhances brand loyalty. Better yet, by giving them useful information that they can share with their friends and colleagues, they can also help you find new customers at significantly lower costs than traditional marketing.
If you do not have a blog, you are not fully utilizing your website. By providing valuable information on topics your customers will find relevant, interesting and informative, you will keep them coming back to your site. By keeping you top-of-mind, you will be the company they come to when they need to purchase new or upgrade current technology. Better yet, they will also think of you when a colleague or friend needs new tech. On top of all that, your constant stream of keyword-enhanced new information will help your company rank higher in search engines making you more visible to new customers as well.
Technology enables you to keep connected with your customers easier than ever. It is essential to compile a touch strategy that works best with your audience comprised of a mix of updates, information and promotions—be sure to keep promotions to a minimum so it does not feel like you are spamming for sales. When delivered at the correct intervals, you will be able to stay in front of your customers post-sale, helping to boost retention, repeat business and referrals. Communicating with your customers can be done with emails, newsletters, direct mail, SMS messages, and even good-old-fashioned phone calls based on what works for your customers and your corporate strategy.
Create a Rewards/Referral System
Because people are much more likely to work with a recommended company from a friend or colleague, client referrals are extremely valuable. Start a loyalty program that rewards customers not only for buying from you but also for providing referrals and testimonials. Be sure to leverage those testimonials by prominently displaying them on your website as well as on your social media channels, such as LinkedIn.
While you will always want to keep your pipeline full with new customers, by increasing your business on its current customers, you can see increased sales to repeat and referral customers with reduced expenses from this business transformation from acquisition to retention strategy.