With customer acquisition costs rising by almost 60% in the past 5 years it’s becoming increasingly important for marketers to build brand loyalty and focus on a customer’s lifetime value.
These days, 82% of companies agree that retention is easier than acquisition. And with studies showing that a 5% increase in customer retention can boost a company’s profits by anything from 25-95%, customer retention isn’t just easier, it’s also more cost effective.
A purchase from an existing customer is your cheapest opportunity for a new sale.
Nick Cantor – The Walk Agency
In most cases, generating a repeat sales model is the proverbial holy grail for most businesses. To achieve this, you need to give customers a positive experience with your brand that builds loyalty and encourages customers to want to choose you again in the future.
But how does customer retention work?
Well, when it comes to building a loyal customer base, it’s important to remember that the job isn’t finished when they’ve paid their money. Here’s how you can drive brand loyalty with an after sales service strategy.
1. Keep customers notified
If you’re a B2C business looking to encourage brand loyalty, keeping your customers in the loop about the status of their online orders will help to eliminate uncertainty, establishing trust and confidence in your brand:
- Keep customers up-to-date on all progress: Notify your customers about key events in their order. This includes processing, shipping, estimated delivery dates and notification of delays.
- Supply a tracking number: This will allow customers to monitor their package.
- Notify customers the day before delivery: Give customers the opportunity to plan ahead and make other arrangements if they can’t be home to accept the delivery.
- Contact on the scheduled day of delivery: This tells customers that they’ll need to keep an eye on the front door, reducing the chances of weather damage or theft due to a package that’s gone unnoticed.
For B2B businesses, staying in contact with your customers may come with a few extra steps, depending on what you’re selling and the size and complexity of the businesses you work with:
- Offer ongoing support: Staying in contact with your customers and supplying ongoing technical support is a great way of ensuring that your B2B customers get up and running quickly and stay that way. By offering ongoing support weeks and even months after purchase, you’ll be able to inspire long term trust, loyalty and confidence in your brand.
- Offer good warranty coverage: Things wear down and break over time. It’s an unavoidable part of being in business, and can be a particularly unwelcome and costly surprise for a customer who’s warranty has expired without their knowledge. Try to keep your customers notified about when their warranty is expiring so that you can reduce their chances of being caught off-guard. As a bonus, you may wish to give your customers the option to extend their warranty coverage for an additional fee.
- Share upcoming new products and offers: Businesses are always looking to find new and better ways to be productive. That’s why you should keep your B2B clients informed about any upcoming products or deals that may be of benefit to them. This can be as simple as sharing an email with past customers telling them about your latest product or service and how it will help them work more efficiently.
You should be consistently assessing your customers’ challenges to see how your product or service portfolio could solve their problems as their industry or business evolves.
Make sure to segment your B2B audience carefully to ensure that you’re not sending emails that are irrelevant to their needs.
2. Respond promptly
Responding promptly to customer queries, concerns or problems is just as important after a sale as it is before.
The better your brand is at answering questions and resolving problems, the more likely your customer is to want to purchase from you again in the future. After all, a customer is less likely to seek out a rival seller if they feel that your brand has already proven itself to be reliable and trustworthy, even when faced with issues.
People will understand that not everything can be perfect all the time, but no one likes feeling ignored or as though their problems don’t matter.
A prompt response and fast issue resolution shows customers that you have their best interests at heart. Studies have shown that roughly 68% of customers will leave a brand that they feel doesn’t care about them.
3. Offer small gestures that make a big impact
Sometimes it can be the littlest gestures that have the biggest impact.
For B2C companies, things as small as personalised packaging and free extras can really go a long way to humanise your brand and make your customers feel appreciated. Including little personal touches such as free gifts, ‘thank you’ notes, cards and future discounts can really elevate a customer’s experience with your brand.
In a B2B setting, personalised extras may need to be a little more extravagant in order to make a lasting impression. Starter packs are a great way of introducing your B2B customers to your product or service, thanking them for their support, and even helping them hit the ground running with information sheets and ‘how-to’ guides that assist with onboarding employees.
You may also wish to provide information regarding other goods or services that add value to a customer’s purchase.
4. Check in after sales
Be proactive about checking back with your customers on how they’re going with their purchase.
A customer who isn’t wholly satisfied may not necessarily take the time to contact your brand to voice their concerns. For this reason, contacting your customers after delivery is a great way of ensuring customer satisfaction. It can also help you find ways to improve your services in the future.
Timing is important with this and will vary for every product or service. You’ll need to assess your own sales to work out when issues or complaints most commonly arise to know when best to check in with your customers.
By ensuring that your customer is happy with their purchase — and reminding them that you’re here to help them should they need it — you can help build those all-important customer relationships that drive sales in the future.
5. Ask for feedback
Asking customers for feedback not only helps to show your customers that their opinion matters, it’s also an excellent strategy for acquiring new customers!
With 70% of consumers saying that they trust online peer reviews and recommendations more than professional copy and content, and 93% of customers claiming to read a review before purchasing a product, a good testimonial can attract new customers while helping to nurture relationships with the old ones.
Case studies and customer stories are also a great way for B2B brands to showcase how their products or services improve efficiency, boost productivity and drive sales for their customers.
6. Maintain the relationship
In order to build brand loyalty, you need to keep your brand top-of-mind. After all, if your customers don’t even remember your brand after making a purchase, they’re hardly going to come back to you in the future.
Your marketing efforts shouldn’t stop after you make the first sale. Instead, you should continue to encourage your customers to engage with your brand, share their thoughts about your products with others, and continue making purchases.
Remember, you want people to like your brand and they want to like you. If you’re always chasing after that next sale, you might come across as uncaring and inconsiderate. Put your customers and their needs first and find a way to fit your agenda into that — now you’re onto something!
7. Simplify the returns and cancellations process
Let’s face it, it can’t always be smooth sale-ing. You’re bound to hit a couple of snags along the way, and returns and cancellations are an inevitable part of being in business.
In order to encourage brand loyalty and develop the best long-term customer relationships, you need to make the returns process as easy, streamlined and efficient as possible.
While it might be disappointing to receive a return request, it’s best to be gracious and accommodating when it happens. By opening a dialogue with your customers about the problems they faced, you may be able to learn from the experience and improve your services in the future.
Remember that you’re better off losing a single sale and retaining the customer than keeping the sale and having customers lose affinity for your brand.
If selling a physical product, consider supplying a printable returns label with all the information already filled out to make it even easier to return it. When selling a service or subscription, offering a money-back guarantee is a great way of demonstrating your confidence in your brand.
Remember, making a purchase is a risk. But you can make it feel less risky by putting a good returns or cancellation policy in place that guarantees customer satisfaction.
Boost brand loyalty with a strong after-sales service strategy
Studies have found that repeat customers spend an average of 33% more per order than first-time customers. They’ve also found that the probability of selling to an existing customer sits at about 60-70% — compared to the 5-20% probability of selling to a new prospect. This means that it’s both easier and more cost-effective to focus on customer retention rather than acquisition.
By establishing a strong after-sales service strategy, you can strengthen brand loyalty to keep your customers coming back again and again.
If you’re looking to build a better relationship with your customers, we can help. Talk to The Walk and we’ll help you target your marketing efforts towards customer retention and boosting your customer’s lifetime value.
Let’s start setting your marketing sights on long term success!