When does a business’s relationship with the customer really start?

Acquiring new customers is undoubtedly key to running a successful company, which is why you should do everything you can to encourage them to get on board. However, what happens once you’ve made a sale?

Some entrepreneurs believe the relationship is over once the customer has parted with their cash, but in reality, this is where it really begins.

customer relationship

The key thing to remember is that acquisition is good, but retention is better. In fact, just a 5% increase in customer retention can boost profitability by up to 75%, and according to the Customer Service Institute, 65% of a company’s business is courtesy of existing clientele. Maintaining a relationship after check out could be the difference between making and breaking your business.

If you’re currently putting all your efforts into attracting customers, but struggling to keep them, follow these three strategies to help boost your retention rate and your customer relationship.

Provide support post-purchase

The last thing you want to do is cut ties with a customer once they’ve agreed to buy your product. Going silent means that they are not only more likely to forget about your business, but assume that you’re no longer interested in their experience with your products or services. And what customer is likely to return to a business that doesn’t seem to care about them?

Offering support following a purchase is a crucial step no matter what kind of business you own. For example, if you’re a beautician, aftercare advice for a manicure, facial, or any other treatment proves you’re an expert and makes your business look more professional. Reaching out to clients also reminds them of your business, and gives you an opportunity to promote any additional services or special offers you’re running. All these factors make retaining a customer far more likely.

Whatever business you’re in, you should be sure to check in with each customer at least a week after the purchase. Ask them how happy they are with the product or service they’ve received, and if their experience was a negative one, find out how you can best solve the problem and improve their future experience. This also gives them an opportunity to ask follow-up questions and provide feedback. All in all, you’ll come across as a proactive business owner committed to each and every customer.

Reward customers for their loyalty

Offering an incentive is a perfect example of the reciprocity principle—we pay back what we receive from others—and, therefore, an easy way to repeatedly tempt customers back to your business. This doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated, just something of value that compels them to return. And as 54% of consumers believe it takes too long to earn a reward for their custom, it’s best to implement a loyalty scheme as soon as possible if you want to entice them back soon.

You could reward your existing customers in a number of ways, like sharing exclusive offers or free samples. However, the best way to encourage customer retention is to set up a dedicated loyalty programme. This could mean giving them a freebie after they’ve bought a set number of products, or setting up a tier system—like bronze, silver, and gold memberships—where the more they buy, the more rewards they receive.

Maintain a continuous stream of communication

Even if you have a good product, that alone isn’t necessarily enough to guarantee commitment. Two-thirds of consumers are likely to switch to brands providing the best experience or service, while loyalty is generally harder to obtain—just 44% have been with their service providers for at least three years, a 39% decrease since 2015. As you will need to work extra hard to create a relationship, this means that a constant stream of communication is imperative.

Many business owners turn to email marketing in order to reach their customers. According to the Econsultancy/Adestra 2018 Email Marketing Census, almost three-quarters of those surveyed rated the practice as “good” or “excellent” for ROI—the highest proportion of all channels. As well as promoting new products, this is also where you can share case studies and provide readers with useful, educational guides related to your services and expertise. This shows that you truly care about their long-term experience with your business. However, you should be careful to keep everything you send your customers relevant and not go overboard with how much you send out. Too many pointless emails could be annoying and prompt a customer to unsubscribe.

Frequent communication also means they’ll be more likely to check out your other platforms, like blogs and social media pages. Keeping on top of what you post, and sharing engaging content will encourage users to come back and, in time, associate your brand with your specific niche. Once you’ve achieved this, a customer will be sure to seek your services next time they’re in need.