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How to Convert Occasional Buyers Into Reliable, Regular Customers for Your Small Business
Posted by Lagerquist Accounting & Advisory
No matter what type of business you run, regular customers are critical to the success of your company. According to studies by Bain & Company, acquiring new customers costs six to seven times more than retaining a current customer. Not only that, but the probability of selling to a new sales prospect is 5% – 20% compared to the 60% – 70% probability of selling to an existing customer. If you want to derive more value from your marketing and sales efforts, it’s extremely important to focus on building customer loyalty from occasional buyers.
Here are some proven strategies your small business can implement to keep your existing customers coming back for repeat business.
Use Live Chat Software
Companies are realizing there’s a better way to do business and have started using live chat messaging to build stronger relationships across the customer journey, from support to sales to marketing. Live Chat also offers excellent accessibility and gives you the chance to answer questions in real-time — when your customers need you. Many companies are finding creative ways to use Live Chat for support. For example, Petplan Pet Insurance has a ‘Chat with us’ tab on their Facebook page, allowing fans to communicate with their team in real-time without leaving Facebook. This serves as another lead generating channel for their sales and marketing teams.
Implement a Referral Program
A well-crafted referral program is an effective way to build relationships with your customers, whether you work in retail, professional services, education, or another industry. Businesses with referral programs in place experience an average of 69% faster time to close.
Many organizations have also discovered a link between rewards and increased customer loyalty. Shared workspace provider, WeWork, offers new members a complimentary month for every 12-month commitment when referred by an existing member. Referrers can receive up to $5,000 for their referral (depending on the size and scope of the new member’s subscription).
Seventy-nine percent of consumers consider loyalty program deals before making a purchase, according to Hawk Incentives Research. If you want to do the same, make your loyalty program easy to use. Most consumers won’t sign up for a program when required to fill out endless forms, especially if the rewards are not worth the effort.
Develop a Mobile App
People are spending more time on their smartphones and making purchases on mobile devices. Mobile apps allow for easier engagement than a website — you can use push notifications to keep customers informed, or use GPS technology to deliver relevant offers based on a customer’s location. Since people are using mobile apps more and more frequently, it’s also a chance to be in front of your customers with greater regularity, keeping you top of mind as their go-to solutions provider.
USAA is a great example of a company that garnered lots of repeat business with a mobile app. The bank was one of the first to offer a mobile deposit application, and went on to leverage smartphone cameras as a way of scanning checks for deposit. Simpler tasks include allowing customers to check their balances, transfer money, pay bills, and even trade stocks. Within a year of being introduced, the app had boosted the amount of online deposits by 14%.
Another example is the Star Point System, adopted by Starbucks. The app rewards customers for purchasing items with its point system. As customers increase their number of points, they can trade in those points for a free drink or added benefit. Customers like the rewards from this app and continue to return to the store. A mobile app can build customer loyalty with interactive programs that increase user engagement.
Improve Customer Service
One reason customers might not return for further business is poor customer service. Seventy-six percent of Americans view customer service as the “true test” for how much a business values them, according to the Aspect Consumer Experience Survey. And 58% of American consumers will switch companies because of poor customer service. These numbers highlight the importance of quality customer support for your current customers.
Consumers remember positive and negative customer service experiences — and most share these experiences with family, friends, and acquaintances. Take tech firm BairesDev, for example, which garnered an award for exceptional customer service after 93 percent of its clients reported a “highly satisfactory” experience with team members. As well as creating positive customer experiences, it helps to improve communication on the channels buyers use. If customers use social media, ensure a representative is available to handle any of their concerns.
Send Timely Updates About New Offers
Once customers have purchased from you, you can ask for their permission to use their contact info. That way, you can follow up with them about exciting offers they might be interested in. Send updates about offers in a timely manner to make sure customers are aware of new deals. This also encourages them to visit your physical store or office as needed. Spend some time thinking about the kind of deals people love to receive. Skillshare, provider of online educational videos, sends out personalized emails to current customers notifying them of new classes related to their primary interests. This is an excellent way to keep users informed, deliver value, and even offer VIP coupons or discounts for products or services they are likely to purchase.
The key to converting repeat visitors is to think about the buying process from their point of view and to improve their overall experience. Stay focused on the customer as you’re thinking about developing your strategies to reach them.
For questions about how you can better relate to existing customers and build customer relationships, contact the experts at Lagerquist Accounting and Advisory.
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