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Post Sale, Now What? How to Increase Your Repeat Customers

In the marketing world, we put the bulk of attention on getting new customers. Of course, that is important to keeping your business running. However, keeping your customers coming back deserves as much, if not more, attention, especially in a SaaS model where repeat customers are the base of your business. So, what can you do to retain more customers?

#1: Provide Unusually Great Customer Service

Did you know that when asked what makes them loyal to a particular brand, 72% said “customer service”? This is the easily most obvious suggestion, but what does solid customer service look like for an online business when a customer can’t pick up on body language and tone?

Based on research from Dimensional Research and Zendesk, the two main things that make a customer service interaction bad are the same ones that cause good interactions:

  1. Speed of resolution
  2. The customer having to explain their problem to more than one person

This means that:

  • If you aren’t already measuring speed of problem resolution as one of your core customer service metrics, you should be (and be actively working on lowering it).
  • If possible, customers shouldn’t have to deal with more than one representative to solve their problem.
  • But, in the instance that a customer does need assistance from more than one person, they shouldn’t have to explain their problem again. The new customer service representative should be able to look at the previous conversation and start from where it was left off, without any repetition.

Hernan Charry, director of marketing at Split One Technologies, credits their customer service as the reason that 48% of their 2013 revenue came from repeat clients. When starting with a new customer, the project is broken down into stages with goals for both the internal team (deliverables) and the customer’s experience (leads and revenue generated from the website) attached to each stage.

The Split One team does their best to make sure that not only is the customer’s experience excellent during the first stage, but that their goals are met as a result of working together, and in between stages of the project, Hernan often calls the client to check in on how their business is doing. The high-touch service leads to not only a large amount of repeat customers, but also to 36% of new clients being referred directly by a current or previous client.

#2: Create Your Sales Process With Repeat Customers In Mind

You can automate this to some extent by giving customers a small discount after buying to incentivize them coming back. Another option is a discount/rebate on their next purchase for sharing about their current purchase, as SocialRebate lets you do.

Loyalty programs are similar to this idea, but they have their pros and cons. Research has shown that retailers with loyalty programs are 88% more profitable than those without, but critics argue that loyalty programs only attract people who are loyal because they’re getting a discount. And a different study has shown that companies that spend more on loyalty programs grow at about the same rate or slightly slower than companies without. Either way, most of the currently available data is for retail industries, so if you do this for your business, make sure to test your results before and after.

And of course, if your sales process is high-touch, make sure that your service doesn’t stop after the sale. You need to have at least one check-in after a potential customer becomes a client to make sure they’re actually learning how to use your product and that they don’t feel as though they’ve been left high and dry as soon as your company received their money.

quoteroller template

An example of a QuoteRoller proposal made with a free custom template included as part of the trial period

Josh Gillespie, product specialist at QuoteRoller and PandaDoc, says that having high-touch service during the trial period has shown measurable results for them. The service has a two week free trial, and during those two weeks, the sales team goes all in to help onboard the client and help them achieve revenue as a result of using QuoteRoller. As a new measure, they decided to offer custom template design as part of their free trial. Since introducing the custom templates, they’ve seen a 40% increase in subscriptions.

#3: Keep Up With Your Current Customers

You can’t have repeat customers if your customers have forgotten all about you, so you need to make sure you’re keeping up with your current customers – without being obnoxious. Using social media marketing comes into play here, of course, but you also want to be keeping up with your customers via email and sending them information that’s interesting to them.

ConcertFix, a site dedicated to helping people keep up with concert news and purchase tickets to concerts, recently debuted a new tool called the ConcertTracker. It automatically sends users news on new concerts in their area from artists they’ve chosen to follow, so it’s providing engaging and useful information and keeping ConcertFix top of mind for customers. Since debuting the new feature, there’s been an almost 10% increase in repeat customers.

thank you card from greenpal

A thank you card from GreenPal

You can also go the high touch route here. Bryan Clayton, CEO at GreenPal (best described as Uber for lawn mowing), recently implemented a “thank you” card campaign to reduce churn. After their third transaction, customers receive a handwritten card to thank them for being a customer. It’s still too early in the campaign for statistically concrete results, but there’s been a measurable decrease in churn, and a lot of customers have reached out to express gratitude for the thank you card.

The example of QuoteRoller above touched on another aspect of keeping up with your customers – customer success. If you’re making sure that your customers are successful (whether via valuable industry information or helping them use your product more effectively), they’re more likely to stick around because your value is obvious to them.

Planning Pod, a SaaS startup that offers event management software, does this via how-to videos at their Youtube channel. The video demos walk users step-by-step through all of the tool’s features and how to use them, decreasing the learning curve significantly. Jeff Kear, the owner/founder, notes that when his team made the videos a very visible part of the support pages, they increased customer retention by 14%.

Conclusion – the three questions to answer today to get more repeat customers:

  • What can I do to decrease my customer service team’s response time and problem resolution time?
  • What can I do during the sales or trial process to increase the customer’s engagement with my product – and actually get them to use it?
  • How can I make my current customers more successful? What information can I provide to help them get their return on investment from my product?

About the Author: Michelle Nickolaisen is a freelance writer and content marketer based in Austin, TX. She also writes about productivity and systems for freelancers and entrepreneurs at Bombchelle.

  1. Great article Michelle!

    I’m a huge fan of exceptional customer service, I literally brag and boast about companies until the bitter end when I’m happy with what they offer (recently stayed in NYC for 3 months and ended up converting 20 people from one grocery store to another simply because I busted down the door shouting about the service and products!).

    I also find myself preaching how fast and efficient a email marketing company we use is at responding to tech emails, considering I’m based in the UK and the company in the US it’s actually quite interesting to see how fast they reply.

    Customer service FTW!

    • Marius, glad we could help. Looking forward to hearing from you :)

    • I’m just like you, Marius…the value of good customer service is SUPER apparent to me, because if I’m impressed with a company’s service, I tell everyone and their mom about it, post about it on Twitter, leave five star Yelp reviews, etc. Glad you liked the article!

  2. Sylvia Parker Aug 07, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I really like this, especially the part talking about how important customer service is. I think people think being polite and courteous is all there is to having good customer service, and while that’s important, it’s even more important how you solve the customer’s problems. I LOVE the idea of making sure the customer never has to deal with more than one person, or if they do then the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves. That is absolute gold. Great article!

    • Sylvia, glad we could help. Thanks for the feedback. Looking forward to hearing more from you :)

    • Right, Sylvia? I’m reminded of more than one time dealing with a complex issue, having to call in and explain it over and over and OVER again to different people…so frustrating. Glad you liked the article and thanks for your comment :)

  3. You have hit the nail on the head. Post-sales customer service is much easier that recruiting new customers. Loyalty is built by consistent, positive interactions with customers. Thanks for the great article.

  4. Michelle,
    Great article. Interesting to know that people are still on the fence about whether discount/loyalty programs work. I think it really depends on the industry. VisionLink is a big fan of Kissmetrics. Keep the good articles coming!
    All best,
    Jason Fowler

    • Hi Jason! I’d definitely agree with you based on the research I did, it seems to widely vary by industry. Thanks for the kind words – glad you liked the article.

  5. Wew love this <3 As many businesses and organizations learn over time, it’s just as important to keep current customers as it is attracting new ones.

  6. Adam Lundquist Aug 08, 2014 at 6:29 am

    Hi Michelle,
    Getting repeat customers is totally important – which is why your headline grabbed me on my feedly! I have found that former customers are “warm leads” and statistically they are much more likely to convert then someone who randomly comes to my site. What I have found to be the key is to actually engage with them. We don’t have a million customers so I can take the time to get to know each one and do things that, as I customer, enjoy when companies do. My team and I use their first name, make an effort to have phone calls, and actually care if their business succeeds or fails. Also we try to over deliver – unexpected over delivery is big for customer satisfaction.
    I totally agree with the research from ZenDesk that one of the most frustrating parts of dealing with customer support is explaining a problem more then once. It is the process that is so de-humanizing. First you have to deal with all those phone trees with press one for this department. Then after you get sent and explain the problem, they send you to another department and you have to explain it again. I am amazed that more companies don’t have a simple program that would just allow them to track it.
    Again – great article,

  7. Customer service is key. You need to be quick in answering questions via social media, emails or on the phone.

    If you don’t know the answer to a question or concern, figure out the answer and get back to the customer yourself.

    A company cannot survive without good customer service.

    Great article!


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