If you desire to improve on your sales and profits, then create more repeat customers.
In terms of creating consistent profits or scaling them up to new levels, where do you invest your business resources and time on? Acquiring new customers or retaining the ones who already buys from you? While customer acquisition can increase your revenue and brand awareness, the results are not that significant when compared to customer retention. Repeat customers add more value to your business than new customers because their purchasing behavior is more accurate and predictable, and therefore will bring more profits to your business. New research suggests that almost 80% of your future profits might come from the top 20 percent of your repeat customers than from any other groups.
Small businesses in a post-COVID world are struggling to attract and retain loyal customers in an incredibly transient and competitive marketplace. Gas prices are £6 per gallon on a national average, cost of living has sky rocketed since the 1st quarter of 2022 and another economic recession is on the horizon. All this is reason for concern among Britons that it had heavily affected their purchasing behavior. How then, in all of this uncertainty and competition, can small businesses stand out from the crowd and build a base of loyal customers?
In uncertain times such as this, it is crucial for businesses to start focusing their efforts more towards retaining existing customers, turning them into loyal customers, and increasing their lifetime business value. But before we study the profitability of repeat customers, first we must understand what a repeat customer is.
Table of Contents
• What is Repeat Business and Why is it Important?
• Here are Top 10 Ways to Create Repeat Loyal Customers
• Deliver Excellent Customer Service
• Automated Customer Conversations
• Extensive Education about Products
• Create Customer Loyalty Programs
• Offer Discounts and Incentives to Repeat Customers
• Collect Feedback and Update your Products
• Add Value Through Email Marketing
• Grow your Customer Base Through Referral Programs
• Improve Customer Retention with VIP Programs
• Never Ignore Customer Complaints
• Repeat Customers are Vital for Every Business
What is Repeat Business and Why is it Important?
The term ‘repeat business’ means that a customer (or a group of customers) keeps coming back to shop for products you offer. Alternatively, repeat customer is also the other side of this coin. In some cases, these customers will grow to love your products so much that they become loyal supporters of the brand and regularly shop with you over time.
Below are some of the things that Constant Contact pointed out regarding repeat business and they actually make sense:
• Businesses thrive with customer retention - Indeed the saying that says ‘the customers are the life blood of a business’ is at the core reason why repeat business also exist.
• Word-of-mouth promotion - It is the most common human trait to talk about things that they like and you can tell that you’re lucky when customers like your products, because they will talk about it to their family and friends eventually. And what do you get out of it? Why more sales and profits, of course!
• More money - Customers are more likely to spend more money at businesses they feel they can trust and rely on.
• Eager customers - Repeat customers are actually eager to see new product offerings from your business, because they already trust your brand. Therefore, it’s also easier to sell to them.
• New customer costs - Spending money for advertising on existing loyal customers is cheaper and has better results than spending it to acquire new customers.
Here are Top 10 Ways to Create Repeat Loyal Customers
1. Deliver Excellent Customer Service
As an entrepreneur, your main goal is to keep the income flowing in order for your business to not just survive but also survive in highly competitive industry. The best way to do that is to create a loyal customer base who will support your business by making consistent purchases of your products or service. All you have to do is provide excellent customer service to achieve this goal.
Here are a few tips on how to deliver excellent customer service.
• Offer live demos and training - We’ve talked to some people about their experience with learning and adjusting to the new products they’ve purchased and they all say that the user’s manual is either too technical, too lengthy or too complicated to understand. They would often go to YouTube to find video tutorials on how to use the products effectively. Why let other people demonstrate to your customers how your products work when you can meet them halfway yourself? Create your own live demos and training and interact with your customers in real time and help make them comfortable with your products.
• Live chat - In Forbes 2020 Achieving Customer Amazement Study that interviewed over a thousand people revealed that 96% of customers will leave you for bad service. This should be a wakeup call to all entrepreneurs and allocate time, resources and effort to avoid bad customer services – you can start by adding a live chat feature on all your channels.
• Resolving problems through co-browsing - Sometimes customers encounter obstacles in your business that just can’t be solved through videos and instructions. Take for instance, signing up to create a customer profile on your site. Despite your best efforts to make the entire process seamless and simple, some of them are going to find some areas to fill up difficult. For such scenarios, co-browsing can come extremely handy.
2. Automated Customer Conversations
Autoresponders and AI customer service chat bots can help your business a lot, especially if you serve customers from all over the world. Obviously, you’ll have customers joining from different time zones at different hours of the day, and they’ll expect to talk or chat with someone ASAP.
Here are some ways bots can help with your customer service.
• Chat bots makes your customer service run 24/7 addressing customer concerns with impeccable responses. This gives you a higher probability of customer retention and prevent them from switching over to your competitors due to delayed responses or bad customer service experience.
• The best thing about AI-powered chatbots is that they’re self-learning software and today they are even sold to businesses that need such a program to help with their customer service department handle inbound calls from customers. Freshworks offers various plans and pricing for AI-powered chatbots to help resolve customer issues in real time. Find a plan that suits your business now!
• An improved customer service experience means you’ll have a higher customer retention, low churn rate, more repeat customers and higher profits.
3. Extensive Education about Products
Any customer feels empowered and confident about products only when they understand the entire features and benefits of it. Hence, without timely customer education and training, your customers are likely to be lost and confused about how to get the maximum value out of your products.
If you focus on providing high-quality comprehensive customer education, then your customers will be highly satisfied with your brand and will stick around for much longer.
Here are a few ways in which you can educate your customers.
• Make the best possible first impression through a comprehensive onboarding process for all your products and services.
• Utilize all kinds of communication channels such as blogs, social media, one-to-one live chats, video sessions, and chatbots to be available for your customers for every hurdle that they gave during their customer journey.
• Offer high-quality video tutorials and demonstrations so that your customer gets highly accustomed to your products.
• Frequently initiate conversations and connect with your customers to let them know that you are always available to educate them through their journey with your brand.
4. Create Customer Loyalty Programs
A successful customer loyalty program can contribute heavily towards retaining your customers and turning them into repeat customers. In fact, a customer who is a part of your loyalty program is 47% more likely to make another purchase from you when compared to other customers.
Tips on how to use customer loyalty programs to increase repeat customers.
• Offer attractive rewards - It is now widely known that the striatum (the reward center of the brain) can cause a person to be addicted to certain things and if you play it right, offering valuable rewards in your loyalty programs to your customers can make your customers feel they get more for their money’s worth and will make them buy from you again and again.
• Give customers a head start - Offer your customers a 50% bonus rebate or points to make them feel that they only need to make a few more purchases to complete the other 50% of the points/rebates to get the discount or freebie advertised on your loyalty program.
• Provide welcome points for new customers - Giving welcome points on top of your other rewards for your customer loyalty program incentivizes your customers and nudges them to come back for more. In fact, the most successful customer loyalty programs starts off with giving something of value to their customers for absolutely free.
• Make it interesting and creative - Don’t just offer rewards bluntly. Make the reward a secret surprise or put a twist to the prize money or item that you’ll give your customers once they’ve reached a certain threshold. You could, say, give them an expensive watch once they reach 100 loyalty points on their account, but add a secret surprise once they claim the reward and tell them that they’ll also get a lifetime gift on their birthday!
5. Offer Discounts and Incentives to Repeat Customers
A little bit goes a long long way, isn’t that what they always say? Well, did you know that it applies to customer retention as well? Everybody loves something either free or half the price, heck these days they’ll even want it for 15% off! So what does this tell you? That’s right! Offer discounts on your products and services to give your customers an incentive and make them buy from you more and more.
Below are some tips on how to give discounts and incentives to your customers.
• Provide onboarding offers - First impressions, lasts. The same is true when onboarding new customers and just by simply giving them offers like free shipping or some exclusive discount codes will make them think that you’re the greatest company in the world!
• Offers after first purchase - Make their subsequent purchases count by giving them discounts and price cuts. They’ll think they’re getting the same products for half the price which will not only make them happy, but will also make them share the experience with their family and friends, which can be your future potential customers as well.
• Keep experimenting - If you love what you do, then it won’t feel like you’re working or stressing out to make profits. You’re going to be very creative in your own right and come up with amazing ideas that will resonate with your customers and in turn keep them happy and buying from you. But if you really need to, then hire a creative team to help you brainstorm ideas.
6. Collect Feedback and Update your Products
Since you may not be able to talk to your customers like you can talk to your close friends, you need to know what they want and what they think about your business. You do this by collecting customer feedback via surveys, social media comments, reactions and direct messages. You can also find out what your customers are saying about your business through the BBB (Better Business Bureau) or forums and discussion boards talk specifically talk about products similar to what you’re offering.
Here is how collecting feedback can impact your recurring customers.
• Proactive customer communication - Utilize all the tools available to you to get customer feedback like automated chatbots, in-app messaging, and live-chat sessions.
• Observe common patterns - Sift through the feedback information that you got from your customers and start analyzing them to look for patterns, which are potential problems that needs your attention. It can be anything from, for example, 70% of your customers complain about certain features of your product or the lack thereof. By simply addressing such concerns, you not only will boost sales but get more repeat buys from your loyal customer base.
• Upgrade your products - Listen to what your customers want about your products or services and make the necessary corrections or upgrades in order to please them. Remember, a happy customer will always come back for more!
• Inform your customers - Create new ads to showcase the new upgrades and features you’ve included in your products, so your customers will know that you heard their feedback and actually done something about it. The second they’ll know that you care about what they think, you can bet they’ll be back at your store and make more purchases.
7. Add Value Through Email Marketing
According to LinkedIn email marketing drives 3.5 times more conversions than just doing the basic across-the-board marketing. Sending out those weekly and/or monthly newsletters to your subscribers actually improves your overall sales and profits.
Here’s what you can do with your email marketing campaigns to see improvement.
• Change your order confirmation email - The probability of turning a new customer into a repeat customer is high if you do these things: sending information about related products, special offers, and discount coupons to your customers with the order confirmation email of their first purchase
• Send follow-up emails - If the new customer has agreed to share their personal information including their email and they have opted to receive newsletters from you, then send them follow-up emails to let them know that you value their business. Make your emails personalized and proactively invite the customer to interact with your customer service agents who can assist them with any queries that they may have about your company.
• Add immense value - Don’t just firebomb your customers with sales emails. Anyone can tell you that such action is annoying and will easily get old, instead add value to your content. You can include personal testimonies from other customers who have used your products or services and they explain how it had a positive effect on their lives. This way your email newsletters will have more depth and people will actually want to read it.
• Keep your customers updated - Include updates on your products or services in your email newsletter that you’ll send out to your customers. You never know some of your customers are on the look out for new product releases from your company and are interested to make a purchase.
8. Grow your Customer Base Through Referral Programs
A lot of businesses capitalize on referral programs for a good reason and that reason is because it drives sales. Create a referral program of your own and reap the benefits in sales and profits! This also has a sort of a double-edged sword benefit to it, where if you reward your customers who refers their friend to your company, you not only gain new customers but also keep your current customers loyal to you.
9. Improve Customer Retention with VIP Programs
VIP programs essentially makes the customer sign a long-term agreement with you. This means a steady sales year after year, albeit limited to the top 10 percent of your customer base. Still, it beats spending a gazillion ton of money to gain new customers and get a meager amount of profits from it. There are customers who have more money than they can spend who also want to be first in line on getting your latest products and they want to maintain their elite status with your brand. Give them privileges such as invitations to special events, quick access to your new products, or sales days that they can choose for themselves.
10. Never Ignore Customer Complaints
Keep in mind one very important thing – your customers are not children and so if you hear them complain about your products or company, do not treat it as a child throwing tantrums. Instead, do the sensible thing and listen and then help them resolve the issue so everybody can be happy. You must also understand that your relationship with your customers helps drive sales and boost profits. You basically asked them to trust you and your products indirectly and they in turn agreed. That trust can be destroyed in a matter of seconds through some misunderstanding or bad customer service. Resolve whatever concern they may have about your business to prevent it from going out of control due to your negligence, be it unintended or deliberate.
Some mind-blowing statistics related to repeat customers:
• Repeat customers tend to spend 300% more on your products/services compared to new customers.
• You will spend 5 times more in acquiring new customers than to keep repeat customers.
• Repeat customers are 67% more likely to purchase new products from you than new customers would.
• The amount of money you need to spend to encourage a new customer to spend as much as your repeat customers is 16 times higher.
• Just a mere 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 75% increased profitability for your business.
• It’s estimated that a repeat customer is worth 10 times more compared to the average first time customer.
• About 44% of companies today blindly spend more on customer acquisition, while only 18% of companies work on customer retention, which causes the disparity in profitability.
• Approximately 62% of customers have a common negative belief that the brands they are most loyal to are not doing enough to reward them for their loyalty.
Repeat Customers are Vital for Every Business
From what we’ve learned above about repeat customers, we can surmise that these small part of your customer population have a vital role for any business, be it B2B or B2C. If you’ll divide your resources to a 50-50 setup where half of it goes to customer acquisition and the other half is used for customer retention strategies, you can scale up the profits of your business consistently. And when it comes to retention, engagement is still the best solution.