The importance of repeat customers
Companies are always thinking about innovative ways to connect with new customers. Think about the number of times you’ve heard questions like “How can I increase my company’s social media followers?” “How can I attract new customers?” and “How can I convert leads into paying customers?”.
These are important questions to consider, but companies should be prioritizing customer retention just as much as customer outreach. It’s simply good business sense. New customers are far more expensive and difficult to reach than current customers. We’ll bet you didn’t know that the likelihood of selling something to a new customer ranges from approximately 5-20%, whereas the likelihood of selling something to a repeat customer ranges from 60-70%. That’s no small difference.
There are countless different tactics out there that can help you convert new customers into repeat customers, ranging from stellar customer service, to email marketing to offering exclusive perks and discounts.
Keep reading to discover our top tips on how to turn new customers into lifelong supporters.
Tip 1: Take customer service seriously
Never underestimate the power of excellent customer service. This tip might seem obvious, but it’s forgotten all too often in the pursuit of short-term efficiency, profit, and growth. Repeat customers are far more valuable than new customers in the long-term. Tellingly, one Sales Force study found that a 5% increase in customer retention resulted in an 125% increase in profits.
When seeking to convert new customers into repeat customers, investing in high-quality, consistent customer service is one of the best things you can do. Make sure your business provides consistent, friendly, and helpful customer service across multiple communication channels; that means in-person, by phone, by chat, by e-mail and even on social media.
It’s important to make your customers feel heard and like you truly empathize with their concerns (Hint: You should). Make their lives easy by ensuring that it’s easy to access your customer service channels and that you resolve their problems as quickly as possible. This also includes making sure your customers can trust the way in which you handle their personal data, so be sure to never breach your customers’ trust regarding privacy by using a good GDPR compliance guide to guide both your website and customer communications.
Remember, 81% of customers are more likely to repeat business in the future after a good customer service experience. In this respect, it’s all about the long game.
Tip 2: Use the power of email marketing
Email marketing is an absolutely integral part of retaining customers, as well as eCommerce more generally. Despite the rise of and popularity of social media marketing, email marketing is still the most effective tool when it comes to emarketing.
Email marketing is effective for a few key reasons. First of all, it’s a great deal more reliable than social media marketing. Social media platforms are powerful, but are also highly vulnerable to trends, changes, and developments. Facebook remains the largest social media platform in the world, but average Facebook post reach was down by 2.2% in 2019. Brands with Facebook pages could also only expect their posts to be seen by 5.5% of their followers. Basically, social media algorithms won’t always be in your favor, whereas emails reliably reach subscribers’ inboxes.
Additionally, many people prefer to receive business communications via email. Although social media platforms are still increasingly being used for shopping, they’re still designed for socializing at their core.
Using the power of email marketing to retarget new customers is incredibly effective and it’s easy to do so by building an email subscriber list. Do so by asking customers to opt-in to your email list at check out or providing an incentive to customers who subscribe like Uniqlo does above.
Tip 3: Start A Loyalty Program (+ Make It Worthwhile)
Great loyalty programs are true win-win situations: Customers feel valued by their favorite companies and get to enjoy various perks, and companies get to build profitable relationships with high-value customers. That’s right, one study showed that loyalty programs increase order frequency by 75%.
Loyalty programs take many different forms, but the majority aim to accomplish two things at their core:
- Increase order frequency
- Increase order value
In order for these loyalty programs to truly help you turn new customers into repeat customers, however, you need to make them worthwhile. Some of the most successful examples of loyalty programs include Starbucks Rewards, Amazon Prime, and Sephora Beauty Insider. While all these programs look a little bit different, they all involve shopping to gain points that can be redeemed for various perks at a later date. This dynamic simultaneously rewards customers for spending money and motivates to keep doing so in the future.
Tip 4: Ask For Feedback (+ Really Listen To It)
Do more than hear customer feedback… make sure you really listen to it.
If your existing customers are telling you something over and over again, that’s a great indicator that you need to make a change. For example, if you own a clothing business and receive messages asking to see your collection on more diverse body sizes… give the people what they want!
When customers see that you take their opinions to heart and make meaningful changes in the way you do business, they’ll be far more likely to be loyal to your company in the future. Existing customer feedback also informs what your company can do to attract customers with similar profiles in the future.
Many companies collect customer feedback by prompting them to fill out satisfaction surveys by email, collecting opinions of social media, undertaking market research or asking for evaluations on the phone or via the web.
Tip 5: Get Your Customers Invested In Your Company’s Community
Go beyond selling your product or service; make customers feel like they’re a part of a greater community or experience by choosing your brand. Seek to understand what you have that keeps customers coming back by tracking your brand. Emphasize the values, qualities, and lifestyles that your supporters have in common and encourage interaction between them, whether virtually or in-person.
Popular outdoor brands like Patagonia, Arc’teryx, and The North Face do this well. They connect their products to impressive customer experiences. They foster a feeling of belonging to a greater outdoor community amongst those who invest in their products. They encourage their customers to share stories about how they use their products on social media. This kind of community building encourages first-time buyers to keep coming back in the future.
No matter the size of your business, community building is incredibly important. Smaller businesses can make small gestures to achieve this by including handwritten notes or small gifts with orders, engaging on social media, creating special hashtags, and highlighting commonalities.
Tip 6: Social Media Engagement Is Key
Last but not least, social media engagement is a highly effective retention tool as it helps establish and maintain trust, loyalty, and strong customer relationships. It also opens a direct line of communication between businesses and their customers, something that cannot be undervalued.
The key to using social media engagement to convert new customers into repeat customers is providing them with content they consider valuable. Valuable content takes many forms, but it never focuses exclusively on sales. Use social media to provide customers with early access to sales and promotions and send them exclusive discount codes, but don’t skimp on curating and highlighting relevant free resources, tips and other value-added content for them either.
Take the Four Seasons hotel for example. They use their Instagram account to showcase special promotions and deals to their loyal customers, but they also share captivating travel photos and suggest innovative activities. This makes their social media presence into an effective hotel revenue management tool while still catching the attention of their followers (who just might be thinking about their next vacation…).
All in all, social media engagement allows you to offer your customers with special perks while sharing more about your brand and building long-term brand loyalty.
Play the long game to retain customers
While the importance of reaching new markets and connecting with new customers can’t be underestimated, long-term customers are worth their weight in gold. Fostering repeat customer relationships takes a bit of strategy and long-term planning but is incredibly worthwhile. In fact, one study found that loyal customers are worth about 10 times more than their initial purchase, on average. If that isn’t enough to make you rethink customer retention, we don’t know what is.
Luckily, there are tons of options out there when it comes to finetuning your company’s approach to converting new customers into repeat customers. Try out the six tried-and-tested tips listed in this article.
You’ll be sure to see quick results, and your company will be reaping the benefits for years to come.