You've Closed the Deal, Now What? Keeping Customers Happy For the Long Haul
So you’ve inked the papers and squared away the final deal. Now what? Your customer transaction doesn’t end when you close the sale. Ideally, you want to turn your new customer into a long-term prospect, eager to come back to you for all their needs. What’s the secret to keeping customers happy? Is it a matter of just offering products and services that they want? Or is it keeping prices affordable, no matter what? Or maybe it’s excellent customer service. While keeping customers happy isn’t an exact science, there are some constant truths that can greatly increase your chances of success.
The main objective of any business is to earn a profit. Most business books will tell you that the fastest way to do so is to create a loyal following among your buyers. For one, loyal clients tend to buy more. At the same time, retaining loyal customers proves more cost-effective than attracting new ones.
By incorporating some tried and true data-driven strategies into your post-sale client aftercare, tracking your sales and using a high-powered software like Ingage to help you do it all, you can forge longer-lasting, more meaningful customer relationships.
Improve Customer Experiences
As digital sales continue to rise, businesses must rethink their approach to customer service. Many still operate their customer service outlets as a complaint box—but this doesn’t even scratch the surface of what effective customer service can achieve.
Given the care it deserves, customer service can prove a game-changer for your company, especially considering current market trends. Today’s shopper—both B2B and B2C—has come to expect a highly personalized, educational experience. While engaging collateral chock-full of information is critical to pull this off, so is an informed, accommodating, and ever-available customer service team.
In fact, many companies have come to realize the value of their service teams as profit centers in their own right. On top of improving customer retention, customer service agents can also upsell and cross-sell—making them another invaluable part of your sales team.
Know Your Customers
How can you satisfy your customers if you don’t know what they want? The first step in keeping customers happy is learning what makes them tick. This isn’t maintaining a file containing their names, addresses and birthdays. Real knowledge is the meat of the matter: Why did they buy your product? How do they use it? What will keep them buying? How often do they need it? Where do they purchase, and why?
These data points can help you craft a more proactive approach to customers, tailoring your approach to their needs. Rather than randomly springing replenishments or upsells on them, your sales team can now time these suggestions at the right moment.
The more you learn about how to connect with your customers, the better you can fine-tune your check-ins. Clients will definitely notice the improvement! In fact, according to Zendesk’s CX Trends 2022 report, 60% of businesses that invested in customer service improvements say they’ve since experienced increased customer retention rates.
Boost Communication Channels
You can fine-tune your approach all you want, but if you’re not reaching customers on their preferred platforms, you can consider it wasted money. Every client has their preferences regarding how they’d like to be reached. Some customers prefer the personal touch of phone conversations. Other more active clients prefer the quickness of live chats or text messaging. Still, others prefer the controlled pace of email support.
Adopting an omnichannel approach to customer service access helps in keeping customers happy regardless of their preferences. By giving customers their choice of contact, you put them in the driver’s seat—and move between multiple platforms as needed. For example, interactions might start via a phone call. From there, customers can easily transfer the chat to whatever channel they are most comfortable operating in. Without repeating entry credentials and data over and over again, they can proceed via chat, email or even social media.
The earlier-mentioned CX Trends 2022 report also dived into customer feelings regarding an omnichannel approach—and found responses overwhelmingly positive. A whopping 93% said that they would spend more on companies that offer their preferred customer service channel!
Forge An Emotional Connection
Customers today don’t just look for a utilitarian transaction with their vendors, but to establish a deeper, more meaningful relationship. They often want to make an emotional connection with a brand and feel their values represented. Just imagine how you can bolster this connection by showing your customers a little love back.
Personalized, relatable advertising is key here. Instead of just showcasing what products can do, you need to pitch how you can integrate into your customer’s life. Make your customer the hero of the story—and make it a story, not just a list of features. Empathetic, human-centered selling is the key to success in modern sales, and this extends long beyond the close of the deal. Constant follow-ups, even as simple as “how are you enjoying our product,” can establish you as a brand that cares in their eyes.
Friendly and responsive service is now just the bare minimum for quality customer service. In order to connect with today’s buyers, companies need to show empathy and display values that align with their customers’ beliefs. With the right touch, a savvy service representative can turn a customer's frustration around into a long-term bond.
When listening to a customer’s problem, it’s important to show appreciation for bringing the matter to your attention. You don’t necessarily want to commiserate, but express that you get where they’re coming from and are here to help. Apologize straightforwardly when necessary. And remember: customers aren't calling for an excuse, they're calling to fix their problem. A quality, solutions-oriented, empathetic approach can intercept and salvage a customer interaction gone awry before disgruntled shoppers take to social media to complain.
Keeping customers happy also means making sure they feel heard. No one enjoys feeling like they’re just another ticket or a case number. A generic, scripted reply that's completely unrelated to the specific concern at hand is a surefire way to drive business elsewhere.
Instead, personalize your assistance to show that you care. Now, personalization doesn’t mean you have to intimately know everything about a customer’s life. But applying some basic knowledge about customers, such as their general buyer profile and preferences, can help you connect better with their needs. For example, is the caller a passive user or a power user? Knowing the difference between the two can lead the support agent to a more applicable line of conversation.
Why go through all this trouble? Obviously, personalized services have an increased chance of resolving problems. The more you actually understand the specific problem, the better you can solve it. But more importantly, it gives customers a reason to trust your company. They now know that your brand of customer service isn’t just lip service. They’ll also feel more confident patronizing your products because they know that they can rely on your support if things go south.
It’s no coincidence that rewards programs are also known as “loyalty programs.” The two words aren’t natural synonyms. Actually, the relationship is more one of a cause and effect loop—rewards are often a consequence of proven loyalty, which then spurs greater loyalty. While there’s no telling which is the greater player, rewards or loyalty, one thing is clear: these programs work in keeping customers happy.
How successful are rewards programs? According to Bond Brand Loyalty, the average consumer is a member of 14 different loyalty programs. Yet despite the extensive range of membership, this same individual only actively participates in less than half of these programs. In a separate study, McKinsey reported that well-performing loyalty programs can increase a company’s revenue by 15 to 25% annually simply through customer points redemption. Consumers usually increase their purchase size or buy more frequently to take advantage of these programs.
Keeping Customers Happy Means Implementing Better Loyalty Programs
The most successful loyalty programs provide customers with extra perks in exchange for their loyalty and increased consumption. Often, these programs contain specific add-on features or bonuses that make the rewards program a more fulfilling and engaging experience for the customer. How can you structure your loyalty program to be maximally enticing?
For starters, you want to open with an instant reward just for signing up. This is the best way to jumpstart participation from the get-go. Next, you want to make sure you set reasonable time frames between redemption for participants to collect enough points for big-ticket items.
When it comes to redeeming points, keep it simple. Provide an easy system for access and use, and make sure you offer rewards that are unique and actually of value. A “cash plus points” option can also prove a nice addition, encouraging participants with fewer points to go for the bigger rewards.
With proper execution, a well-designed loyalty/rewards program can excite your customer base into increasing either purchase sizes or frequency. It also gives your company a great way to show appreciation to your most loyal customers.
Focus on Convenience
Today’s shoppers are looking for a quick, easy process, with minimal time spent filling out forms and re-entering credentials. Considering this, one of the keys to keeping customers happy is making their customer experience as convenient as possible. In fact, today’s consumers actually place a premium on convenience. In its Consumer View Winter 2020 report, the National Retail Foundation reported that on average, 60.4% of consumers don’t mind paying extra for convenience. From browsing to checkout, strive to make the buyer’s journey as smooth and hassle-free as possible.
In contrast, a poorly-designed or complicated journey often ends in an abandoned shopping cart. The same NRF report also warns of the dangers of inconvenience: approximately 97% of consumers backed out of an online purchase when the process became too inconvenient.
Convenience Isn’t Just About Paying, Checkout and Delivery
The NRF report highlights that 38% of online consumers insist on convenience from the very start of the sales cycle, and all the way through after. They also expect heightened levels of convenience right before purchasing an item (20%), during checkout (18%), and after sealing the deal (23%).
However, consumer expectations don’t end there. Fifty-eight percent of users want a site that’s convenient when searching for future deals and promos; 57% also want an easy way to compare prices and reviews. Enfolding these broadly popular requests into your sales approach provides an obvious way to elevate your game and meet the moment.
Nurture Deals with the Help of Presentation Software
Customers are the reason why companies keep producing their products. Keeping customers happy, then, would seem like a no-brainer expectation. However, this is more than just a cheery smile—it means anticipating their wants and needs in a proactive manner. It pays to give clients a reason to believe that you view them as more than just revenue generators or customer service tickets. If you want to keep customers coming back, keep the connection strong—even well after the sale.
Providing clients with a memorable customer experience across their whole sales journey helps them develop a deeper attachment to your brand. Offering meaningful relationships apart from products and services makes it easier for customers to trust you, in turn making them more likely to stick around.
These strategies are important. But equally important is having the tools to execute them. To help send a clear message to your customers, you also need powerful interactive presentation software like Ingage. Begone, boring PowerPoints! The Ingage suite is cloud-based software built with the sales cycle in mind.
With Ingage, you and your team can develop highly interactive and engaging presentations above and beyond the average slideshow. Collaborative features allow your team to adjust and update presentations on the fly, wherever they are, and deliver presentations to clients instantaneously. After the deal’s been sealed, you can use the detailed analytics features to assess what did and did not work and make adjustments for next time. From initial reach-out to post-sale aftercare, Ingage can level up your customer interactions every step of the way.
Are you ready to boost your sales team’s performance? Contact Ingage today to see how quality presentation software can make a difference in your customers’ experiences.