Let’s face it, acquiring new customers can be costly for most businesses, which begs the question: why do so many businesses do absolutely nothing after they have acquired their new customers?
It blows my mind how many times I have purchased a product or service, or provided my contact information (name, email, phone) at a company’s request and received absolutely no communication after the purchase. I suppose the business believes that because they acquired my personal data that I will continue business with them? Or maybe the business doesn’t have a marketing department or someone savvy enough to establish some basic strategies to initiate and maintain the new customer relationship? Or maybe it’s something else…
You see, the purchase is only the start of the relationship, not the end. You have just spent good money to acquire your customer through ads, phone calls, or direct sales and now you made your sale! Most businesses think that is the end, however, every business regardless of the product or service has a life-cycle in which the customer will likely return for another purchase. Although some buying cycles will be shorter than others, this cycle may be another car, a dental cleaning, a cell phone, a sandwich, or any other product or service you can think of.
As a preface to the customer life-cycle, the entire customer journey must deliver a positive experience. Assuming up until this point it has been positive, to initiate a positive ongoing customer relationship, it must begin immediately after the purchase. Since you have already collected important customer data (name, email, phone, etc.) it is now time to put your marketing strategy into action.
Below are eight key elements that will positively impact your customer relationship into the future.
- This begins with delivering what you promise, in a timeframe the new customer expects. If you are a retail establishment, in most cases the customer will receive their product immediately. If the product or service will be delivered, it must happen quickly. Remember, these days customers have a plethora of options and if they find that your process is slow, it is likely that they will consider this during their repeat purchase.
Build Up the Dream
- Regardless of the product or service, the customer has a vision in their mind of what the experience will be like. Build it up, make it exciting and aspirational so when they experience your product it has a built-in expectation that will be fulfilled making the experience more powerful. For example, if you just sold a pair of shoes, you can send an SMS immediately after purchase, “we can’t wait until you try your new pair of shoe – you will look great!” Something as small as this can re-establish the customer’s purchase decision and their excitement for the product.
Give Them Belief
- Customers may buy a product or service out of necessity and they chose you because they felt your company has the experience and is trustworthy enough to invest their money with you. For instance, people don’t like to go to the dentist, and if you are a savvy marketer you will send them an SMS indicating their appointment time. You can also send them an email that offers ‘satisfied client testimonials’ inserting a positive message into their minds before they even step foot in your office. Or you may want to send a follow-up email after their appointment which is a personal note from the dentist offering their personal cell phone if they have any questions or concerns about their procedure. Almost no one will call their dentist’s cell phone, but knowing that they have access gives them incredible peace of mind.
Happy Customers Will Refer
- Building on this positive momentum, it’s important to harness your customer’s most recent purchase by offering an incentive and guiding them on how to appropriately ‘sell’ your product to the people closest to them (family, friends, co-workers). Building a successful referral program gets your customer more engaged with your product as they are discussing the benefits and features to those around them, ultimately driving new sales to your business with very low acquisition cost.
Introduce the Customer to Your People
- If you are selling a product or service where there will be continued interactions with ‘client success agents’ or other staff, this is a great time to build rapport with your customer by introducing them to other people in your organization, either through a personal call or email in which you let them know they will be working with someone that is ‘super friendly’, an ‘expert in XYZ’. This continues to build up belief in the product or service and also opens up the opportunity to show that your company hires the best people and cares about its customers.
- Offering support may seem intuitive at first, but with further consideration, it may be more necessary depending on the business you are in. For example, if you are selling shoes you may want to make a simple Facebook group that offers the opportunity for ‘sneaker-heads’ to interact, share their shoes, pictures, and build a culture around your company. If you are selling a high-ticket item, it’s best to let the customer know that they have free coaching sessions on the use of the product or service so they don’t feel that they are stuck with something they don’t know how to fully use.
Create Engaging Interactions
- There are so many ways to do this. Some of the most typical ways to engage a customer is to share content, taking a questionnaire, review the product or service, or engage with the website or app in some meaningful way. Taking the customer’s engagement to the next level would be to participate in a community, refer the product or service to others, or various other forms of high-level engagement. Properly putting steps one through six into place will increase engagement with your customers. They will feel confident that they purchased the right product or service, that they can get the support they need, and that they have a sense of community that other offerings might not provide.
Sell Them More…
- What are you waiting for? The customers now love your product or service; you know this by their engagement with your company. Make sure you have additional products or services or upsells lined up that you can offer to them to enhance their experience or add to what they already have. If nothing else, offer them a product or service catalogue where they can learn more about what you have to offer.
It’s time to expand your mindset around what your customer experience can look like and consider applying some or all of these into your business to see your customer lifetime value increase dramatically.