This is a special guest post from Jonathan Herrick, CEO of Hatchbuck:
An effective customer relationship requires growth. While that first purchase is important, it’s subsequent purchases and referrals based off a positive customer experience that really add value to your brand’s bottom line.
There is a lot to be gained from setting your sights on enhancing existing customer relationships and maximizing customer retention. Consider this: you have about a 60% to 70% chance of selling to a current customer, versus just a 5% to 20% of selling to a new customer. Add to that the fact that increasing your customer retention rate by just 5% can increase your profits by anywhere from 25% to 95% and it’s clear that the more you can extend your customer relationships the better. And thanks to innovations in marketing technology, it’s easier than it’s ever been to do so.
We focus a lot on optimizing the customer journey from its very earliest stages, but below, we’ll look more closely at how technology can help further the journey after that all-important first purchasing decision has been made. Here are four ways to take your customer relationships — and your retention rate — to the next level, plus the technologies that can get you there.
1. Focus on cross selling and upselling.
If you want to effectively expand on purchases by turning one sale into another sale or into a higher-profit sale, then you need to know a lot more about a customer than just what product they’re initially interested in. And that’s where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software comes into play.
Your CRM platform is your one-stop-shop for pulling out all of the details that matter about your customers, including their purchase history, behavior history, and communication history with your brand. Armed with this information, your sales team can cross sell and upsell, even when the customer hasn’t made a recent purchase. They can also target recommendations with more insight — and thus more success.
Because of the way that CRM integrates with other technologies, it’s a good idea to add it to the mix no matter what your current tech strategy is. The more information the better, especially when it comes to anticipating (and more importantly: solving) your customers’ needs.
2. Be accessible.
An acknowledged customer is a happy customer, but most companies don’t have the man-power to be fully accessible 24/7. The fix? Robot-power.
Chabot technology has evolved into a boon for marketing and sales, allowing companies to engage with their customers off the clock and in new and improved ways. Deepen the consumer-brand relationship by offering an easy customer service solution that’s there for them when they need it, and pull data out of those engagements to offer recommendations and promotions targeted to their exact pain points. When there’s always an ear to listen, both consumer and company have a lot to gain.
3. Offer value in new ways.
Part of enriching your customer relationships is offering value even when it doesn’t lead directly to a sale. Think of ways that you can position yourself as a partner and advisor, and not just a vendor. To that end, automated email marketing and drip campaigns are great tools for rolling out regular content that keeps the lines of communication open and instills more trust in your brand.
In automated workflows, a customer performs a behavior that triggers another behavior. Set them up so that a customer who engages with a certain product receives content that helps them get more utility out of it, or so that someone who expresses interest in an add-on service gets content curated to promote why it’s such a necessity. Because everything is automated in the background, you get to go about your day-to-day knowing that you’re going above and beyond to add value to your customers, as opposed to always worrying that there’s more you should be doing.
4. Simplify the feedback process.
Customers can be our best sources of information about what’s working and what’s not. Remove the hurdles standing in the way of clearly communicated customer feedback and you’ll likely find a plan for improvement you didn’t even know was warranted.
There are a couple of ways to make the process of feedback easier for both customer and company. Chatbots are certainly one of those, as well as automated workflows that send a survey after certain behaviors, such as a purchase or a service renewal. Personalize your surveys as much as possible so that customers understand the value in their own input, and try to keep them short — you’re more likely to get answers to 2-3 questions than 8-10.
5. Ask for referrals.
Happy customers generate new customers. The key is identifying your biggest fans, and then making it super simple for them to refer new business. Keeping customer data centralized in a CRM is one way to track happiness indicators, like repeat purchases and customer loyalty. Another way you can identify your champions is to use a Net Promoter survey. It’s a one question survey that gives you insight into who your greatest advocates are, as well as the overall sentiment of your customer base.
Once you’ve identified an audience that’s ripe to provide you with referrals, it’s up to you to tap into it. Your sales and marketing software can help you build a referral program that rewards your customers for sending new sales your way.
All companies have a lot to gain from strengthening their relationships with their customers. And why go it alone if you don’t have to? Look for technologies that build on your existing goals and that make it easier to improve on multiple fronts.
Author bio: Jonathan Herrick is CEO and chief high-fiver of Hatchbuck, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform. His extensive experience in digital marketing and sales strategies has been a driving factor in growing Hatchbuck’s sales by more than 2,000 percent.