might be stating the painfully obvious, but we all want to grow our
store – potential new ideas and strategies are never far from our
mind. We invest significant amounts of time and energy into acquiring
NEW customers to help us achieve that growth.
is there an argument to suggest that the best thing we can do towards
achieving our lofty ambitions, is simply to take better care of our
true, service sells! In this article, we'll make the compelling case
for focusing on customer service (and retention!) while touching on
some stuff you might be able to do better in your own business.
value of repeat business
any new business is great, but scoring repeat business really is
something to shout about. On
are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. [White
House Office of Consumer Affairs]
a huge potential revenue stream and the last thing you want to do is
discourage people from shopping with you on an ongoing basis by
providing lousy service.
been estimated that, whereas you have a 5-20% chance of selling to a
new prospect, that number actually increases to as much as 60-70%
when selling to an existing customer. [Marketing Metrics]
concentrating on existing customers can also be significantly more
cost-efficient. Research suggests that it can actually cost 6-7 times
more to go get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
[White House Office of Consumer Affairs]
numbers tell the story, here: retention deserves just as much of your
attention as acquisition does!
another reason you want to keep your customers happy, too.
it's just plain old human nature, but it's a fact; we do tend to
focus more on 'bad news' than 'good news.' Perhaps, then, it's
unsurprising that we're twice as likely to share bad customer
experiences with our friends than we are to talk about positive
experiences. [2012 Global Customer Service Barometer]
just underlines the damage that can be done by bad customer service.
Not only can it undermine your chances of scoring repeat business, it
can actually hurt your image in the minds of people who've never even
dealt with you before.
does good service help keep customers?
have shown that the top two reasons for customer loss are :
feeling poorly treated, and
to solve problems in a timely manner.
a staggering 89% of consumers say they've stopped doing business with
a company after receiving poor customer service. [Customer
Experience Impact Report by Harris Interactive/RightNow, 2010]
it's a no brainer: we need to treat our customers well, and solve any
problems that arise as quickly and effectively as we can...or risk
losing them forever.
makes a great experience?
next logical step is to work out what MAKES a customer keep coming
back for more.
it's highly unlikely that you're going to turn every single customer
into a raving fan who returns time and time again to raid your
virtual shelves. A certain element of churn is to be expected in any
being said, we can always do better...and isolating 'what
makes a great customer experience' is
the best possible starting point in boosting loyalty and repeat
on your own experiences – and put yourself in their shoes
though you're in the thick of managing your own business, there are
plenty of other times where you're a customer yourself. You'll have
felt the same feelings of loyalty and happiness, irritation and
despair as any other consumer. So why not draw on your own
about the companies you frequent. What do you like about dealing with
them? What do they do well? Why do you shop with them regularly?
consider some of the bad experiences you've had – what was it that
particularly irritated you? Why would you never return?
you think about the lessons you can learn from the very best and very
worst of the companies you've dealt with, you'll often find that some
familiar patterns start to emerge.
is basically the bedrock of amazing service, in pretty much every
service industry you can think of. Some of the most annoying consumer
experiences in the world are rooted in poor (or nonexistent)
about it: being put 'on hold' while trying to call someone. Waiting
an age for your food, with no updates from the waiter or waitress.
The checkout assistant who doesn't offer to help with your packing.
It goes on and on.
like in every other business, good communication is the bread and
butter of an awesome Ecommerce experience, and should be the glue
that holds the whole process together.
the customer is deciding to buy, are you there to help advise them?
their order is placed (and you have their money) are they receiving
clear indications of what the next step is, or are they left in the
waiting for delivery, are they informed where their package is up
they've received it, are you checking in to see how the product was
for them and asking for feedback?
human interaction is something that we sometimes forget about with
the whole 'buying online' thing – the better you communicate, the
greater your chance of establishing loyalty and creating a great,
personal experience for your customer.
are good! (if you resolve them)
statement sounds totally counter-intuitive, but – while it never
really FEELS good to receive complaints – they can actually be a
huge win for your business. Why? Because they give you a chance to
learn and improve.
vast, vast majority of people who are unhappy after dealing with you
will slip away silently. You'll never know if there was anything else
you could have done.
Newell-Legner suggests that, typically, a business will hear from
just 4% of its dissatisfied customers. But she also suggests that up
to 70% of customers are willing to do business with you again, if you
resolve their complaints.
this light, it's clear that complaints, while toxic and damaging if
unresolved, can be a wonderful opportunity to win customers back and
establish loyalty if you handle them well.
a look at your procedures
for dealing with complaints and
ask yourself whether you can do more to encourage feedback and
As great as it is to attract new customers, you may find it much more fruitful to concentrate on retaining the ones you already have. And the numbers speak for themselves; one of the best ways to retain customers is to provide fantastic service and address problems effectively as and when they arise. It's not rocket science, but it requires a concerted, ongoing effort and a commitment to delivering excellent service to every customer on every transaction. Good luck!