Most businesses operate under the assumption that their business or product stands on its own. They assume that simply putting a good customer experience out there is enough to generate repeat business and engagement.
Sometimes this is true. A customer’s first experience will hit an emotional bullseye and they can’t wait to tell their friends and make another purchase. Those people are great!
They’re also very rare. Relying on those super loyalists to appear is a good way to go out of business quickly.
But then there are the satisfied customers. The ones who have a good transaction and experience.
Assuming you’re not swamped with complaints or are not currently fighting off an angry mob with torches and pitchforks, this is probably the majority of your customers.
The thing with these customers is, despite being satisfied, they may never return.
They may never tell their friends.
They may not even think about your business again once they walk out the door. It’s just human nature - we’re distracted and have tons of options.
How do you convert these happy customers into loyalists?
Or, the better question to ask, is how can you maximize the value your business receives from every customer that walks in your door?
After all, loyalty is rare, and happy customers can offer even more value than just their dollars.
Here’s how your business can get more from the customers who are already satisfied, without even asking them for more of their money.
Think of Each Customer as Having a Checklist with Three Tasks You Need to Complete
Right when they walk through your proverbial front door, you’ve got three tasks you need to complete.
Only one needs to be completed instantly. The other two happen later, but they’re enabled by the first.
If you’re able to complete all three with a customer, they’re going to be far more likely to be engaged and possibly loyal. But even if they’re not, you’re going to obtain a measure of business value from them.
Let’s dive into it. After each task, we’ll cite a specific data point pulled from our constantly-updated collection of customer loyalty statistics.
- Establish a Connection
Even a good product or a great customer experience can be forgotten. It's just human nature. Consumers are very distracted, and they have limitless options for most purchases.
If possible, never let a customer leave without having an email address or phone number. Even a social follow or like is better than nothing.
Incentivize customers to give you their information if you must. Loyalty programs, special offers, and rewards are all worth establishing a connection.
You’re going to use this connection to engage the customer, not necessarily just sell them more of your goods. That’s going to come later.
Initially, offer content that’s helpful. Tutorials, use cases, customer communities and more are all going to help inform and educate your new customers. The more they know about your brand and product, the more likely they will be to maximize the personal value they receive from it.
Once you’ve made a nice introduction and shared some helpful resources, use your new connection to move quickly to task two.
51% of U.S. consumers are loyal to brands that interact with them through their preferred channels of communication (Accenture)
- Request Feedback
Make a personal appeal for feedback from the customer. Ask them how it’s going, if there are any questions they need answered, or if they’ve encountered any hiccups.
Any sort of feedback is valuable.
Positive feedback from the customer reinforces your value in the customer’s mind.
Negative feedback is just as important. First, it identifies possible weaknesses in your business. Second, acting on it shows your dedication to the customer experience, turning a disgruntled customer into an instantly-engaged one.
15% of shoppers would give a brand or product a second chance after a poor experience (InReality)
- Call for a Second, Non-Sales Action
After establishing a connection and getting some feedback, you’re probably really tempted to ask for that next purchase now. The customer is happy and engaged, after all.
Hold off just a moment. Take advantage of that engagement in a way that scales a bit more than just one more sale.
Now is the best time to ask your customers for a referral. This can come in the form of an online review, an email to their friends with a referral code, a testimonial, even a social media share.
If your product has held up thus far, you’ve communicated with customers personally, and you’ve used their feedback to ensure their happiness, the second sale is probably a done deal.
What’s far less likely is a spontaneous referral. Don’t count on it, however. Ask for it. Reward them for doing so, if you like.
With this action, you’ve taken a customer’s satisfaction and shared it with countless others, who may then follow the same path - and the same three tasks - with your company.
Post-purchase, 47% of consumers will use the retailer’s site or social networks to write a review. Of these shoppers, 68% will purchase from the same brand again within 3 months (Crowdtap)
Creating Loyalty Isn't Up to the Customer
It sounds odd, but customer loyalty isn’t up to the customer. It’s your job to create a good experience, find the right audience for it, and make sure they’re happy and engaged.
You can’t just create a quality product experience and hope that’s enough. Satisfied customers don’t always become repeat customers.
On the same note, it’s important to expand your definitions of what makes for a profitable customer. Whether they make a second purchase or not, satisfied customers can add a ton of value through referrals and reviews. Even negative feedback has value, if you’re willing to fix broken issues.
Getting this value is going to require specific, direct efforts on your behalf.
Don’t be content to watch them walk out happy; make a connection with them and find out what more they have to offer.
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