Do you know what keeps your customers happy and returning after their first purchase? No matter what the product or service is, that magic that brings them back through your doors, or on your websites is the experience they had their first purchase.
We can’t neglect the product or service that “got them in the door” so to speak. Niche products and services are a way to improve customer acquisition, especially at the beginning of a business's journey. Being niche gives businesses the opportunity to specialize in what you offer to become an authority in a specific market—allowing you to speak to your knowledge, and highlight your expertise. Then expanding on that original product later on to build an even larger customer base. So, now that they’re here, how do we keep them?
The best way to build customer retention is through their experience with a brand. The brand should have a plan for customer experience management.
"Customer experience management oversees customer interactions. It plans how a company will initiate or react to engagement at different points in the customer's journey. The goal of this effort is to increase customer satisfaction and drive brand loyalty."- HubSpot
This ensures the topic is already a primary goal for the business to keep top of mind. Get rid of the old mindset of customer service and do some UX Research. It has changed and adapted to ensure that brands do everything in their power to wow, educate, and retain each customer. Here are some investments that could help improve your customers' experience.
CRMs (customer relationship management) tools are used to keep all interactions with customers in a central digital database of records for any employee to pull up to ensure a great, custom customer experience. You can use CRM software to keep track of interactions, data, and notes about customers or soon-to-be customers. It will assist in streamlining sales, marketing efforts, customer service, and more. Multiple could teams have access and can edit the information about a particular client’s customer journey to keep track of the best way to engage each customer in the future. The CRM system will store data on the products your customers have purchased, viewed on your website, or engaged about on your social media channels. Giving the business the information for best way to market and build an experience for their customer base.
Email Marketing is a type of direct marketing and the reason why when you land on a site, it asks for your email immediately. That's because before you're a customer, that email tells the business your level of interest. Almost immediately after, they begin to take notes from your visit to improve the experience the next time and the likelihood of a purchase.
Used properly, email marketing can also be an innovative way of communicating with current customers about upcoming offers, news, updates, and other information. Use both strategies to ensure a great experience for customers from the beginning. Tactics like, promotions based on clicked products before purchase to convert and email confirmation, receipt, and thank you email after purchase are things that can take their first experience outstanding. Later down the line sending birthday emails with promotions and coupons based on the customer's previous purchases and behavior on the site.
Do you have a loyalty program in place?
A loyalty or rewards program is a customer-retention strategy that motivates customers to continue buying from your brand instead of a competitor. With a loyalty program, a company may offer points to customers who return, and after accumulation, can redeem those points for discounts, free products, or insider perks. Other companies may offer a discount on a second contract or renewals. Some companies use email to keep members informed of all the perks that come with being a loyal customer and point totals to get them to cash in. Whatever the message, email still remains a top performing method of communication for B2C relationships to build a better experience with a brand, even with the adoption of social media.
With the rise in social media engagement, companies have hopped on the bandwagon and joined the movement to increase brand awareness and directly connect to consumers.
Social Media Marketing is the leveraging of social media platforms to continue a brand’s marketing and customer relationship objectives. Think of it as free advertising. Share updates, news, sales, new products, and more to keep the public informed of everything happening in the business.
In addition, being on social media can change one’s self-view immensely. Knowing what your customers are saying about your brand is extremely important. One of the key pieces of reputation management is social listening. Stay informed and aware of your customer’s feelings toward your brand. Interact with your followers to gain an understanding of their thoughts on your products and your brand as a whole. Listen to what is being said. Your customers could love the product, but all have a common issue. If you are actively listening you could update the product to fix the common issue that your customers are dealing with.
The best part about social media is competitor insight. Now you have a way to see how your competition interacts with their customer and what their customers are saying about their products. This is very useful information. Find a way to make your product solve the problems of the competitors' products. Find what’s working for your competitors and test it for your company.
Social media has even taught us that we don’t always use products in the way the product developer intended. You can go on TikTok and search “ I was today years old” and you will be flooded with videos of people who found a hidden trick or functionality for the products they use every day. For example, did you know that French’s Yellow Mustard has a locking mechanism for the cap, so it can stay open and clean at events? How about the push-in tabs on the sides of aluminum rolls, like Reynolds Wrap, to keep it stable when rolling and tearing?
Educate every follower to give them an idea of what the product or service could do for them because there are always those frequently asked questions. A little education could change an unhappy customer to an elated one. Imagine if years ago, French’s was able to inform all customers about the cap lock instead of consumers figuring it out on their own a lot later. It could have changed BBQs, picnics, and parties forever!
Hosting & Support may not be viewed as important to customer experience and customer success, but it is. No matter what is done to prevent the possibility of a customer being unsatisfied with a product or service, it will happen. Customer churn is not always about the issue. Everyone has issues. It's likely about the way the issue is handled by the company. When informed of the problem, did your representative sound irritable, or were they friendly? Were they knowledgeable about the resolution to the particular issue? Did they thank the customer for bringing the issue to their attention? Did the company ask for feedback on the resolution? Putting customer service SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) & KPIs ( Key Performance Indicators) in place can be the difference between customer support and bad customer service.
There will also inevitably be a day when something causes the site or a process to be down. Having a great hosting platform will keep your pages up, improve your site speed, enhance security and add greater reliability. Having a trusted website host is essential so your brand can offer a quality experience for customers, every visit.
Companies have shifted their focus from customer service, and moved over to customer success and experience management. To do so, a change to a customer-centric approach is necessary. How do we start?
Many have proposed there are core metrics to view customer growth and how understanding them will help your employees develop a top-knotch customer experience mindset. Start here.
Getting these metrics in line with your goals and objectives for the business will push your growth passed what you expected. Let’s be serious though, no one moves forward without proof.
"Customers are likely to spend 140% more after a positive experience than customers who report negative experiences.
Companies that lead in customer experience outperform laggards by nearly 80%.
84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue.
96% of customers say customer success is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
Companies that earn $1 billion a year will see an average gain of $700 million within three years of investing in customer success." - Forbes
In today’s customer-centric world, where the customer experience is directly connected to the growth of that brand, all customer-facing teams need to be aligned with successful customer experience management. Since they are inescapably tied together, utilize the customer data collected throughout daily practices to maintain mutually beneficial growth that maximizes customer lifetime value and continuously strives for a better experience.