The cost of acquisition is much higher for a one-time buyer than for a repeat customer. Too often sales and
marketing campaigns are focused on lead acquisition and then fail either to maximize initial sales or to accurately stay connected with previous customers. Lead costs are continually rising; develop solid business practices throughout your company to increase your customer retention and the profit potential per lead.
- Know your customer – Gather critical information about your customers. Have a company policy of collecting email addresses from customers in all departments. An integrated DMS system is a critical tool for tracking customer contact information, buying history ,and preferences in one comprehensive database.
- Maximize the initial sale – Offer incentives to add additional, purchase-enhancing products at the time of the first sale. Integrated menu selling features result in increased aftermarket sales. Train your Parts and Service Advisors to use your software’s product upsell features to quickly upsell related items when creating invoices.
- Schedule follow-up communication – Use CRM prospecting tools to schedule automatic but personalized emails for various events such as birthdays, thank you for your service, or maintenance reminders. Set callback dates in the CRM to check how your customers are doing with their major purchases and let them know of any additional products that may enhance their ownership experience. Notate details in the CRM such as their dog’s name or upcoming vacations to further personalize verbal communications.
- Communicate, but not too much – Make sure communications are valuable to your customers. Don’t deluge your customers with email blasts of products that they don’t need or want, or you run the risk of being unsubscribed. Instead, study the average repurchase time for various products and schedule your emails and sales calls accordingly. Studies have shown that consumers prefer fewer but more meaningful email interaction with retailers. The best communications focus on events that create value for customers such as social events, seminars, or a worthwhile offer.
- Focus on great customer service – Product knowledge and great service are the two most important factors for customer retention. Schedule regular training for your team and instill a company-wide policy of service with a smile.
- Build value for repeat customers – Offer rewards for repeat business, whether through a club card or an attractive discount on major purchases.
Turning one-time buyers into repeat customers starts with the basics. Understand what drives your customers to purchase your products and the average time for repurchases. Build value for your customers through meaningful communication, production knowledge, rewards offers, and great customer service.
Published in Insights Magazine on June 10, 2014