In the last article of this series, we’ll take a look at how you can turn first-time customers into loyal brand ambassadors.
Before we dig into the strategies, though, let’s clarify why it’s so important to focus on customer retention in the first place.
The Importance of Customer Retention
It makes sense that getting first-time customers to make additional purchases in the future is a good thing. Obviously, the more business you do, the better, right?
But keeping loyal customers has many more subtle benefits, too.
First, keeping existing customers is much cheaper than acquiring new ones. It also takes less effort and fewer resources to get earn repeat purchases than it does to get first-time buyers to convert.
Also, satisfied long-time customers are more likely to become advocates of your brand, which can provide your business with a valuable marketing source. Oftentimes these “brand ambassadors” will refer their friends and colleagues, leave positive online reviews, or share their positive experiences on social media. The result? Higher revenues and wider profit margins.
Second, current customers are more likely to try new products and appreciate being contacted with relevant offers via email and other platforms. And even if something goes wrong, loyal customers tend to be much more forgiving of mistakes.
Third, because long-time customers know your brand better than first-time or relatively new customers, their feedback is reliable. In other words, suggestions from a long-time customer who is intimately familiar with your brand and products are likely good reflections of what other customers would find valuable, too.
It’s clear then, why taking the “wow” factor beyond the initial sale is so important.
So let’s dive in.
Four Ways to “Wow” Your Customers After They’ve Made a Purchase
Let’s look at how you can impress customers after they’ve made a purchase.
1. Additional Gifts or Services
Going above and beyond to identify a well-thought out gift or bonus that caters to customer needs or personal preferences is an excellent way to show them how much you care.
You do want this gift or bonus to relate back to the initial purchase in some way or another. Dentists don’t give away hair gel samples or contact lens solution, for obvious reasons. But you also don’t want to just give away the same generic gift to all of your customers, either; after all, the purpose of the gift is to add value to your customer’s life.
As an example, let’s say your company sells a variety of athletic wear. For customers who purchase swimsuits, you might include a small bottle of sunscreen in their package. If they buy a winter coat, you might throw in some lip balm. For new sneakers, how about some extra laces?
Each of these cases demonstrates a thought process behind how customers use a product. That’s the magic sauce that will keep your customers coming back.
2. Extra, Valuable Resources
It’s important to remember that customers — especially first-timers — aren’t going to be insta-savvy when it comes to using your products or services.
They’ll almost certainly need, and appreciate, any help you can give them.
Instead of a run-of-the-mill instruction packet, think in-depth resources that allow first-time users to get everything out of your product or service.
You might consider providing your customers access to:
- Sequential email autoresponder lessons or tutorials
- Instructional videos
- Webinars, seminars, and workshops
Check out what this small California jewelry store offers customers who make a relatively small ($15) purchase:
For kids just getting into jewelry and fashion (and for their parents), this deal is a no-brainer. Not only do they get materials to make a pair of earrings, but they get a free lesson on how to assemble them, too.
Another takeaway from this example is that by providing exceptional value for the first purchase, you’re now in a perfect position to follow up with offers for additional products.
3. Beta Access and Exclusive Previews
Remember how we said that existing customers can provide incredibly reliable and valuable feedback regarding your products or services?
With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why giving your existing customers exclusive access to yet-to-be-released offerings can be another smart way to impress them and make them feel valued.
This can knock out three birds with one stone:
- Provide them with additional value
- Acknowledge loyalty to your brand
- Allow them to have their voices heard and opinions validated
Earlier this year, cosmetic retailer Sephora provided its most loyal customers early access to a number of products intended to be released in the fall. Not only were these loyal customers allowed to participate, but they could also bring guests who didn’t qualify as Sephora VIP Rouge members.
Providing loyal customers with early access to new products or services is great for everyone.
Customers get “first dibs” on new items, or get to beta test new features that they’ve been excited to try.
On your end, you can gain a decent understanding of which of these new releases will be successful and which may need to be tweaked.
4. Solicit Feedback (And Act On It)
Soliciting feedback from your customers is essential to improvement.
Whether by analyzing survey results, product reviews, or social media mentions of your brand, you can learn a heck of a lot about how your products or services are being received by your customers if you pay attention.
But it’s not enough to just know how your customers feel — you need to act on this knowledge if you want to make a difference.
On one hand, this can (and should) be done on a macro level. A few years ago, Domino’s completely overhauled its pizza recipe specifically due to the suggestions of its not-so-satisfied customers. Without going too deep into actual sales figures, let’s just say that taking action based on customer feedback paid off in dividends for the pizza giant.
On the other hand, you can also aim to provide one-on-one assistance to those who reach out to your company (and even to those who don’t). Take the case of the following customer, who abandoned his cart after he realized the company wouldn’t be able to ship to his area:
Not only did the company representative take the time to directly and personally address the customer’s issue, but the rep also took this scenario as a sign that the cost of shipping may be driving other customers away. Ultimately the company lowered the cost across the board for all customers.
The customer’s response says it all:
If it weren’t for your customers, you wouldn’t be in business.
Even if your obligations technically end once the product is bought, keep in mind that in addition to buying something, they’re allowing you to do what you love.
That being said, you should always look for ways to “wow” your customers. The more value they get from doing business with you, the more likely they are to continue giving you their business.