Retaining customers should be a priority because it costs an average of seven times as much to acquire new customers as it does to keep your existing customers happy.
The content that keeps existing customers interested, satisfied and engaged after a sale is different from the content that brought them in the door.
For high ROI, create content that keeps existing customers interested and engaged after a sale.
Think of it this way. This customer has already agreed to the transaction and spent her hard-earned money. She’s also encountered the first taste of what it’s really like to do business with you. The stakes are high.
From the moment the credit card number is entered or that first check is written and deposited, the prospect becomes an “existing customer.” Every piece of content validates the choice your new customer has made. Make sure you’re sending the right message as soon as possible.
Thank them for their business.
It should go without saying, a sincere thank you is just good manners. You could thank them with
- An email
- A discount
- A handwritten letter
- A gift card,
- A link to a course or piece of content that increases their immediate value and satisfaction with their recent purchase.
This may sound lame, but I’ve received thank you stickers that made me happy to slap on my laptop. It’s the small things…
What types of content should you think about creating now that you have a new customer? The message depends on your customer’s level of interaction or the stage of their use.
Your company must immediately begin to keep its commitments. Buyers who make a purchase are often delighted, and strongly invested in their decision. Studies have shown that once a bet is made, the more confidence a gambler has in his chosen horse. We all like to believe we’re smart consumers who make educated and savvy buying decisions. The first flush of emotion after a purchase is usually positive.
Provide clear on-boarding content.
Companies should ride that wave and make sure to earn that continued response over the days and weeks to follow. Provide clear instructions for your customer’s next steps. Long term engagement and interest should be nurtured with tutorials, membership into an exclusive purchasers area of your website, or emailed content just for buyers.
Beware the negative emotions that can emerge if the buyer is unsatisfied. Among them are the after-the-close risks including, negativity, buyer’s remorse, distrust, and failure to build value.
A helpful and enthusiastic welcome wagon that comes rolling in will get the new customer on the right course, and ease any second thoughts they may have about a bumpy adjustment phase or learning period. This is especially true if you are providing exclusive services where communication and relationship-building are factors; software which depends on the self education of the user; or long term contracts where delivery depends on cooperation and trust.
Post-sale content must be inclusive and transparent.
Think about the upward spiral of engagement.
To maintain trust — and even begin to work toward an upsell — a company must be up-front about where the next problems will arise now that they’ve solved the first one. Some purchases will necessarily lead to the customer encountering a higher-level problem, especially with complex purchases or those involving consulting, coaching or training.
Don’t leave the customer hanging even if their current issue is solved. If you can help, then your content should show how, especially if it leads your client to the next step in the sales process.
Make people feel heard.
Next you’ll want to keep friendly communication lines open as you build a relationship of loyalty with your customers. Does she feel like she’s being heard? Get feedback through periodic customer calls or surveys. This shows that you’re interested in your customers’ experiences and other facets of their lives.
You could even highlight some of your customers’ joys, wins, special causes, or accomplishments — even if they are not directly related to your product. Celebrate who they are as people and why you’re glad to have them on board. Your customers will feel valued, and those associated with your brand will see that your goodwill extends to your clients’ best interests. Ask what’s important to them and then, of course, genuinely care.
Over deliver when things go wrong.
There will be times where there are emergencies or trouble spots that need patching. In spite of the heat you may be feeling to fix things, look at these as opportunities to make your client feel valued.
Even if you cannot immediately solve a problem to your customers’ liking, admit that you goofed, or that you are working like crazy to make it right. This will calm a client’s worries and may cement a bond that would not have existed if the complication had not occurred in the first place.
Recently, Manage Flitter, an online software service I use daily, was down for almost three days. I emailed a support ticket, then went to Twitter to see what was up. The public display of appreciation for my business, and the assurance that they were working to improve the system helped me wait patiently for the fix. Those short messages also gave me an indication of the commitment level of the company to maintain and even improve its service in the future.
[Tweet “Responsiveness in times of crisis may build customer loyalty.”]
Responsiveness in times of crisis can do more to build trust and loyalty than almost any other message your brand delivers. Consider keeping customers updated on a special page on your blog, or sending email to keep them current on progress.
Make people feel special.
Finally, don’t forget to send periodic promotions and greetings just for customers. Birthdays, anniversaries, good wishes toward their children… simple wishes are often the easiest and most appreciated.
Noah Fleming, author of Evergreen: Cultivate the Enduring Customer Loyalty That Keeps Your Business Thriving” maintains that loyal customers are the heart of every business.
“I talk to companies all the time that are looking for something more. They’re looking to fill some gap or void. They’re looking to continuously fill a barrel without checking if the base was nailed on. What they often fail to see is right in front of them.”
To build on the work you’ve already put into closing a sale, great companies create and sustain a foundation of loyal customers by sustaining the relationships they already have.