Imagine for a moment that a genie showed up at your door and offered you either unlimited new customers or unlimited repeat customers. Which one would you choose?
Some statistics might help make that decision easier:
- On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
- Loyal customers spend 67% more with a business than new ones.
- A 5% increase in customer retention correlates with at least a 25% increase in profit.
Are you getting the picture? Repeat customers mean more profits to your business than new customers.
Not only that, but repeat customers decrease your marketing costs. According to a study conducted by consulting firm Invesp, it is five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.
So let’s say on average it costs you about $50 to acquire a new customer (taking into account all the advertising and other methods you use to market your services to new customers). So it’ll roughly be about $10 to keep a current customer compared to the $50 you’ll spend to get a new one.
Which would you rather pay? $10 or $50?
Now multiply that by 100. Would you rather pay $5,000 for 100 new customers or $1,000 to keep 100 loyal customers?
Multiply that by 1,000. Would you rather pay $50,000 for 1,000 new customers or $10,000 to keep 1,000 loyal customers?
It’s a no-brainer. It’s much more cost-effective to keep your current customers.
So repeat customers will spend more money with you and will cost you less to acquire.
Your choice from the magic genie is simple. Bring on the repeat customers!
Well…hate to break it to you, but there is no magic genie that is going to show up at your door today. However, there are some real principles you can follow to create repeat customer magic for yourself.
So let’s talk about three secrets that you can start implementing today to get more repeat customers.
3 Secrets to Getting More Repeat Customers
1. Focus on People First
Your #1 priority is not the specific services you provide. Your #1 priority is your relationship with your customers. Now, to have a good relationship with your customers, you need to provide good services. So these go hand-in-hand. But it’s a little of a paradigm shift to make your #1 priority your customer relationships rather than your services.
Why is this paradigm shift so important? Why is focusing first on your customer relationships more important than focusing on your services?
The reason is simple. You can provide the very best services on the planet. You can have the very best methods, the very best results, the very best everything. But if you don’t have any customers, none of that matters.
To run a successful business, you have to have customers. And the fundamental rule of business states that, ‘people do business with people they know, like, and trust.’ We’ve heard that a million times, but how often on a daily basis do we stop and focus on that? How often do you focus on the connection you are making with your customers every step of the customer journey?
Chick-fil-A is a great example of this in practice. Their primary focus is not on chicken (even though that’s their business). Their primary focus is on people. They teach all their employees to nurture good relationships with customers. Employees are taught: “Every life has a story, and often our customers and our employees, need a little grace and a little space when you deal with them because they are either experiencing a problem, just finished having a problem, or are about to have one.”
Isn’t that true of all your customers? Every one of your customers has a story. Every one of them needs some tender care because they are either having a problem, just had one, or will have one in the near future. Focus on the person. Focus on the customer. Focus on your relationship. If that is solid, then the customer will buy and come back again.
Chick-fil-A’s focus on relationships with customers has earned it the highest rankings in various restaurant customer-service surveys. Even though they have fewer locations and are open one day less a week, they average 3 times greater annual store sales compared to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Their customers are fiercely loyal because the company focuses on people first.
The companies that prosper in today’s economy and who earn customer loyalty are the ones that consistently focus on people first and that devote conscious attention to forging meaningful, long-lasting relationships with their customers.
2. Be Available
If you want a customer to keep coming back to you for more business, you need to be available when they need you. Nothing is more frustrating than needing help from a business and not being able to reach anyone.
Google, Amazon Prime, streaming media—all of these advents have changed the world for the better to make information, entertainment, and products almost instantaneously accessible. But they have also shifted the customer mindset to expect immediate answers to questions and concerns.
According to HubSpot, 82% of customers rate receiving an immediate response (30 minutes or less) as important or very important when they have marketing or sales questions. The percentage rises to 90% with support questions.
If you are not available when your customers have questions, they will turn to another business that is.
This means answering your phone every time it rings. It also means making your website easy for customers to navigate themselves, just like the self-checkout lane in the grocery store. When your customers want to book jobs and when they call in with questions, you want to make it extremely easy for your customers to do business with you by being available in a variety of ways.
To be more present for your customers, you can use tools like Workiz’s Online Booking and Service Chatbot to maintain constant communication with your customers—even when you aren’t in the office. Workiz’s Online Booking feature allows customers to schedule jobs for themselves whenever they need—jobs that then automatically sync to your calendar. When you embed the Workiz Service Chatbot into your website, customers can get answers to frequently asked questions, 24/7. The Workiz messaging center allows you to easily maintain and manage two-way texting conversations with your customers. To top it all off, the Workiz Service Phone System allows you to organize call flows and manage all your telephone communications. Paired with a virtual receptionist service that works with Workiz, such as Jill’s Office, you can help ensure that no call goes unanswered and that all customers get live help when they need it.
3. Keep in Touch
Think for a moment about a person in your life who means a lot to you. When you picture his/her face in your head, you can’t help but smile.
I would bet that there are several occasions in the time that you’ve known this person that he/she checked in on you to ask how something in your life was going. Maybe it was to ask how that amazing vacation you’d been planning turned out, or to ask how you did on that big presentation you were nervous about. I’m assuming at some point in your relationship, this person has followed up with you about something. And most likely they do it on a regular basis. It’s probably one of the reasons you feel so connected to them, because following up with someone shows you care.
If you want to have a strong relationship with your customers and want them to keep coming back to you for repeat business, follow up with them. Keep in touch with them regularly and consistently!
Stay in front of your customers to keep your services fresh in their mind.
Here are some points along the customer journey where you can follow up with your customers:
- After they’ve requested a quote but haven’t booked yet. Check in to see how their decision process is going and if they have any additional questions. You’d be amazed how many jobs are booked just by virtue of effective follow-up to see if a customer has outstanding questions.
- After a job is completed to see if they were satisfied. Be sure to ask for a review if they were happy with your service. If something did go wrong, this is your perfect opportunity to fix it before it festers into a bad review or leads to the permanent loss of a customer.
- Quarterly, semi-annually, or annually (depending on your services) when they are due for their next service. Just as you get dental check-up reminders, make sure you follow up with your customers on a consistent basis to remind them when it’s time for a touch-up.
- When there are special offers and discounts. Running a spring special? Have a gift idea for the hard-to-get relatives around the holidays? Whenever you have a special promotion going on, be sure to let your customers know about it so they can get in on the savings!
These are just a few of the times you should stay in touch with your customers. Be sure to use various communication methods at different times in the customer journey to make sure you reach your customers in the way they most readily respond (email, postcard, text message, or phone call).
Customize your follow-up process to your own business needs and systematize it as much as possible so it doesn’t get forgotten. Use automations! Workiz Business Management and Scheduling Software integrates with communication services such as Mailchimp (for email automation), SendJim (for postcard automation), and NiceJob (for review request automation). You can also delegate follow-up to employees or Workiz partners like Jill’s Office (for follow-up calls to customers).
The Magic of Repeat Customers
Following the principles above will not only help you retain more customers and increase your average customer lifetime value, but loyal customers are also the best advertisers of your business. People who love doing business with you talk about it with their family and friends. According to a Nielsen survey of more than 28,000 consumers, 92% say they trust recommendations from family and friends above all other forms of advertising.
Think about it—which is more powerful? Jenny sees an ad for carpet cleaning from Jerry’s Carpet Cleaning on Facebook. They are running a special that includes 1 room free. It’s a good deal, but Jenny’s not sure yet. There’s a 2-3% chance she’ll call the company.
The next day Jenny sees a neighbor’s post on how amazing her carpets look after hiring Mike’s Carpet Cleaning. The carpet cleaners were professional and friendly. They were careful with her furniture. Her friend talked about how they even greeted her dog by name. She raved about how much she trusts them and what an amazing job they did on the carpets and how they look brand new. Jenny is 92% more likely to give Mike’s Carpet Cleaning a call rather than Jerry’s Carpet Cleaning because a trusted friend recommended Mike’s. Even if their prices are more expensive, if a friend says it’s worth it, she will most likely go follow through on a recommendation for someone she feels she can trust because someone she knows trusts them.
So make a daily conscious effort to do the things in your business that will encourage more repeat customer business so that those you serve:
- Are so happy about their experience with you that they tell their family and friends about you.
- Will call you first when they need the services you provide again, before calling anyone else.
Michelle Jeppesen is the Director of Business Development at Jill’s Office – a virtual receptionist firm devoted to creating fabulous customer experiences on every call. Learn more on how Jill can create more repeat customers for your business at JillsOffice.com.