“Most people miss Opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas A. Edison

Working with start-ups I notice that many focus on their marketing initiatives without also putting some thought in understanding their promise.  A “promise” is not just a key benefit or a unique selling point, it also includes what the customer will experience while making the purchase and afterwards. You have probably seen these stats before: it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. A well thought out follow up process with existing customers can steadily grow one’s business.

In a study done by Harvard Business Review the overriding conclusion on repeat customers is a businesses ability to make life easier for the customer and not about “wowing” them.

So much energy is put in to having complex social media strategies or campaigns that sometimes obvious follow up processes gets short changed. Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Do you have a simple follow up process once a customer makes a purchase? That can be as simple as a quick thank you for your business via email or “how to get the most out your purchase” note.
  2. Do you have a simple way to capture testimonials (short questions in an email they fill out right away)? Avoid long winded surveys or complicated incentives.
  3. Do you send out carefully timed reminders with useful and relevant content that isn’t just another sales push? How about an honest-to-goodness request for referrals?
  4. Do you have an easy and warm way that customers can do business with you again (i.e. know customers by name, a fast track for existing customers etc.)?

For each type of business the process would look different. But there should be one!

If you’re still in doubt about keeping customer service clear and simple take a look at another study by CX Solutions, a company focusing on improving customer service performance. They found five key drivers that impacted repurchase and recommendations from customers (in order of importance):

  1. Proactive help/teach me to get more out of your product
  2. Consistently good service
  3. Inform me of new/useful products/services
  4. Built personal relationship
  5. Fast, friendly interaction

What is interesting about the findings is that one doesn’t need to spend a lot of money to implement the suggestions. By all means sign up clients on your email list and engage with them on social media. However, consider what a successful brand stands for: a promise fulfilled consistently – one customer at a time.

A favourable purchase and post-purchase experience needs to be in place for the purchase and post purchase process with customers. After all how does word of mouth spread?

With a lot of email marketing and social media there is a tendency to rely on shouting out to them and bombarding customers with either too much unnecessary info or always making a sales pitch. Although capturing customer’s emails and having them engage on social media is a worthy goal many overlook the obvious.

The real missed opportunities can be from what you have under your nose. Many start-ups focus too much on acquisition of customers at the expense of customer retention.

Written By: Dominik Loncar, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Futurpreneur Canada 

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