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By: Masroor Ahmed, Invesp

Every business owner knows just how much it costs to acquire new customers. If you retain your existing customer base’s loyalty, you can bring down acquisition costs and use that money to provide better service. Here’s how you can increase loyalty on a budget.

  1. Help Maximize Product Value—When your customer buys a product, make sure you offer plenty of supporting documentation. If it’s a software product, be sure to include FAQs, help, and user manuals. If it’s a physical product, create documents to explain how things work. Look at the product or service from a new customer’s perspective and create sets of intuitive documentation.
  2. Use Referral Programs—Encourage your existing customers to refer their friends and family members in return for a discount, a gift, priority membership status and so on. This transforms your existing customers into an extended arm of your sales team, and gains you fresh customers minus acquisition costs.
  3. Meet and Exceed Expectations—You spend a great deal of time in converting a lead. Don’t lose the lead’s trust through inadequate shopping process, fulfillment, or customer service. Focus on each aspect of your lead’s journey with you and ensure that you meet expectations, and even exceed them wherever possible.
  4. Target Correspondence—Segment your customers based on their purchase behavior, then, target your correspondence—emails, letters, and other correspondence to specific groups, based on their interests. Focus more on groups that are more profitable to you, and your bottom line will be secure.
  5. Offer Incentives—Create innovative incentive schemes such as “family incentives” or “couple incentives.” Reward such purchases with discount vouchers, gift incentives, or added loyalty points. Your customers will perceive great value to these incentives.
  6. Create Targeted Loyalty Programs—Analyze and evaluate each customer’s purchase behavior such as frequency, brands, days, times, average amount spent, and so on. Evaluate the profitability index of individual customers and come up with targeted loyalty programs to encourage profitable spending.
  7. Engage Via Social Media—Encourage your existing customers to follow you on social media by offering them exclusive perks, discounts, and special sales. You can offer other non-purchase perks too, such as an exclusive free download, a special podcast, and so on. Give back without engaging a sale and you’ll win them over.
  8. Customize Loyalty Offers—Use your understanding of customer behavior to customize loyalty offers. You can do this by emailing specific offers to segmented groups. Make sure that the offers are appropriate to the customer’s needs, so that the customer perceives them to be highly relevant and not an annoyance.
  9. Offer Personal Recognition—Make your customer feel special by sending Thank You emails, Christmas cards, birthday cards, and so on. Make these cards personal—sign them by hand, and include small personal comments if possible. This sort of personal recognition makes customers feel really good.
  10. Manage Complaints Effectively—Pay complete attention to customer complaints—respond quickly and with personal attention. Establish a clear turnaround time for complaints and be sure to stick to your SLA, or you’ll lose your customer’s faith. Be sure to follow up after issue resolution with a phone call.
  11. Automate—Incorporate an integrated customer database so that you get a comprehensive view of all interactions with the customer. This database should have a module for customer complaints—open the customer’s tab and you get a total view of all complaints from that particular customer. This will help you to alleviate staff hiring costs, streamline key customer services, and bring down response times.
  12. Don’t Bug Them—When a lead converts, send out an email asking permission to communicate offers, discounts, and useful information. Don’t ping customers with offers or correspondence unless you have their permission to do so. Don’t bore them with too many missives either. Leave the door open for them to opt out if needed.
  13. Share Valuable Information—Be sure to share valuable information with your customers every now and then. This can be industry-specific articles, helpful and useful tips, FAQs, podcasts, product demo videos, and so on. Look for content that’ll help your customers to learn how to use your products and alleviate their pain points.
  14. Offer Innovative Customer Service—Take advantage of every opportunity to build a relationship with your customers, especially via intuitive customer service. Use social media sites as a way to extend your customer service. Exchange conversations with customers and post valuable information for your customers to read. Let your brand be seen as helpful and concerned; this will result in a more positive brand engagement, which will result in repeat business. Offer customer service via chat, phone, social media, and phone and in person.

Masroor Ahmed is conversion optimization analyst from Invesp. He loves to share his vast experience in the area of landing pages and conversion rate optimization with other businesses, through articles, seminars and webinars.

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