Your business’ foundation rests on the shoulders of your customers, they are your bread and butter. With so much competition out there in both traditional and online market places it is important that as a small business you take the time to invest in building long-lasting relationships with your customers, no matter how much of a challenge it may feel at times.
In a perfect world..
Once you’ve successfully made a sale and converted a lead into a customer everyone is happy… At least that’s how it should be. However, there are times when your customer suddenly decides to cancel their subscription and stop using your product after only a few weeks. This leaves you wondering what happened and where things went wrong.
Unfortunately, this is a common problem for many businesses. It reminds us that customer retention is equally as important as generating leads and making sales. Herein lies an important fact: Your relationship with your customer doesn’t end after you close a sale. Instead, this is where it all begins.
Case in point: Apple made $52.6 billion worth of sales in Q4 2017 – a 12% increase from the previous year. This is because they have customers who are both loyal to and passionate about their brand. These customers also appreciate Apple’s after-sale services.
Regardless of what your business sells, building customer loyalty is the only way you can transform people into repeat customers. With this in mind, here are a few quick tips on how to do this.
Offer Great Customer Support
Customer support is one of the most important parts of any business and it’s also the one challenge most businesses fail to live up to. Taking more than 24 hours to respond to an email or a phone call is unacceptable today.
This causes your customers to feel frustrated and gives them motivation to look elsewhere for the products or services they need. You need to make it easy for your customers to find solutions to their problems. Sometimes this is as simple as sending a Tweet or a direct message via Facebook.At other times you’ll need to find something that’s a bit more complex like providing live-chat support on your website with friendly and experienced staff.
In either case, it’s relatively easy to discover unsatisfied customers today since they’ll typically make their unhappiness known on social media. These are the customers you need to find a way to reach out to and offer them solutions so they remain loyal to your business.
Reward Your Loyalest Customers
Generous gestures like gift cards or free access to premium products just for doing business with your company can make your customers day. It’s also a great way to build trust and loyalty. This isn’t costly, which is why many businesses already have their own unique customer reward programs that encourage their customers to keep using their products while also bringing in new customers for free.
This is something that Dropbox has done. Their referral program gives customers an additional 500mb of free cloud storage space for referring a friend to their platform. Within the first 18 months of this program, Dropbox received 2.8 million referral invites. Today, 32% of all Dropbox user signups come through this referral program.
Use CRM Software
Entrepreneur says it’s important to continue a strong relationship with your customers after you’ve made a sale if you want to build a loyal user base’’. Email automation gives you a great way to keep in touch with your customers long after their first sale purchase without much effort, but it’s not enough. Instead, you need to use a G-suite CRM like Copper.
This will collect and store customer information so you can easily manage it. It also records your customer interactions (e.g. email discussions, social media interactions) so you can understand your customers better. This is great because when a customer is about to cancel a subscription or an order you can address their issues (e.g. too high of a price point, inability to understand how to use your product) and offer them some solutions that may stop them from leaving. It also gives you an opportunity to improve your product so your other customers don’t also leave.
Offer Discounted Extensions
Offering free plans or product trials may result in some users who leave when the trial ends because they want to stick with the free plans forever. For these users, you’ll need to offer a small bribe to get them to switch to a better plan.
Discounts usually work well here. For instance, Evernote encourages its free users to upgrade to its Premium plan by offering a 40% discount. This is also a great strategy to use to keep your users from leaving. You can also offer to extend their subscriptions.
Bonus tip: Make sure you create YouTube videos and blog posts showing the awesome features of your paid plan too!
It’s impossible to keep everyone from leaving. Some users will leave regardless of what you do to try stop them from doing so. The best thing to do is to learn from them by creating feedback forms in which you ask them what went wrong.
Polls and surveys are also great ways to learn more about what frustrates your customers and see what they want to have in your future updates. By taking steps to recognise customer churn before it’s too late allows you to take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening. This is why you need to establish a plan to increase customer loyalty. Doing so will save you a lot of money and create loyal customers.
Use an Engage-Win-Grow Strategy
Customer Experience Insight says it’s also important to use the “engage-win-grow” sales approach to develop closer customer relationships. This also helps you win more sales by occupying more space in your customers’ minds. Some of the strategies that will work best here include:
- Know what significant events are happening with your customer, who their rivals in the marketplace are, and who makes the purchasing decisions. By addressing what matters most to them you’re giving your customers a reason to continue doing business with you.
- Help your customers visualise future success and find ways to help them make this a reality. You want to include ways that you and your products or services can help them here.
- Focus on what your customer cares about, what they want to accomplish, why it matters to them, and how you can help them achieve this goal.
- Take time to grow the sale. In this phase you’re developing the strongest possible relationship and extending your success to new opportunities. Don’t just make a sale and vanish. Take time to maintain your relationship with them. Grow the relationship to a point that you’re helping them attain additional success by using your other products or services too.
To sum it up, it must be asserted that a sincere note should be kept for every concern and grievance of your customers to maintain a seamless flow of business with them. Stay engaged at every stage of the business interaction to understand their requirements in detail.
A smooth flow of solutions to their every concern is what is going to steer the way clearly. Even after you have cemented your business relations with them, stay updated with to be ready to give them the necessary guidance for future business gains.
Remember, a line of loyal customers can only be made when you offer something more than others in the market, i.e. a consistent and honest communication with customers. It certainly creates the much-needed trust for a strong and long-lasting relationship with your customers.
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