Women’s hand typing on mobile smartphone.
Aside from that first fulfilled order or invoice payment received, nothing warms an entrepreneur’s heart like a repeat customer. How valuable is a steady stream of reliable, recurring business to a business that’s trying to get established? Research consistently finds that repeat customers spend significantly more than new ones while attracting new customers costs five times more than keeping existing ones.
Granted, both retention of current customers and acquisition of new buyers are instrumental to a company’s overall success. It’s just that putting more effort into keeping your brand advocates happy is a smarter financial move than trying to draw in potential new customers. When budgets are tight, it makes sense to invest in the efforts that bring in the highest returns. Repeat customers represent remarkable ROI.
The best thing about a deeply satisfied repeat customer is that they eventually evolve beyond brand advocates and into brand ambassadors, sharing their affinity for your company and its offerings with their own circles of influence. The ripple effect of such affirmative word-of-mouth advertising is worth its weight in gold.
Getting Pete to Repeat (Purchase) Again
If you’re an entrepreneur or startup leader who wants to lean into retention efforts and focus more energy on developing brand advocates, there are several action items you can take. Here are three of the best places to start:
1. Apply elements of neuroscience.
Believe it or not, our nervous system plays a significant role in our purchasing behaviors. If a product or service actually continues to solve or help avoid a constant pain point, then customers will feel satisfied and safe in making repeat purchases, which are based on the continual confirmation that the promised problem to be solved is actually being solved.
If I have dandruff and Head & Shoulders shampoo fixes my flakes, my mind connects the product with positive feelings. Backing that experience up with appropriate, persuasive messaging that uses neuroscience to tap into one’s emotions is the best way to ensure repeat customers.
“How repeat messages are delivered are also important to repeat purchase; a consumer wants to know they are valued and desired,” says Russell Kern, founder and CEO of KERN, an Omnicom digital marketing agency that focuses on delivering personalization at scale that results in continuous customer revenue. “If the repeat communication lacks relevancy, creativity, or reminders of the gains solved by repurchasing a given product, the consumer will likely switch brands given all the other options available within a given category.”
2. Use content marketing to educate your consumer.
Obviously, it’s smart to view customers as the complicated people they are and not just line items on a spreadsheet. To create valuable, long-term relationships with repeat buyers, you’ll need to constantly work on building trust and providing value. The most logical way to do that is by communicating through your content marketing.
Do you have a company blog or a newsletter that gets sent out at a regular cadence? These are relatively easy ways to keep the conversations going with your existing customer base and offer value-added elements to these relationships. If you’re a lawn-care company, perhaps you post a helpful video that teaches homeowners the best ways to clean out the gutters and downspouts for good home maintenance. You’re limited only by your imagination in the educational content you create.
Compelling content is pretty much a necessity for any legitimate business in 2022. Did you know that 7 in 10 customers now prefer to learn about your business through content rather than traditional paid advertising? That percentage will likely only continue to increase as millions more digital natives enter adulthood in the coming years.
3. Practice excellent customer service.
Nothing turns a customer’s relationship with a brand sour faster than a bad experience. Have you ever been to a store and not been able to get an associate’s help or spent an hour on the phone only to be disconnected before a resolution was finalized? Did you ever do business with that organization again? Unlikely.
Because today’s customers have so many options for just about every product and service imaginable, they won’t tolerate a mediocre experience. Your company’s customer service must be so sweet it borders on saccharine. Is Chick-fil-A’s ”my pleasure“ mantra over the top? Certainly, at least by some standards. But when you keep going back, it’s not only because of the food quality. We all appreciate enthusiastic customer service and companies that truly put the customer first.
This entails much more than having smiling faces behind a kiosk in the physical store. Customer service — and the customer experience — have officially extended to digital realms. Your website needs to have a dedicated Q&A section and multiple ways to get in contact with the company. Your social media channels need to offer tips and tricks to followers, as well as responses to any and all comments (even the negative ones) to show you value each and every customer.