customer service

How to Turn 1-time Buyers Into Lifelong Customers

CLV Office

“You want to go where everybody knows your name… da da da… and they’re always glad you came… da da da.” Familiar? Even if you weren’t in the Cheers generation you have probably heard this theme song somewhere along the line. People like to feel valued whether in personal relationships, the bar/restaurant they decide to frequent, or in the service providers they choose to call when they need something. Either way, you will win the loyalty game if you learn a few key principles to turn 1-time customers into lifelong loyal business, and the secret is they are a lot cheaper (it’s 6-7x more costly to market to a brand new customer than a returning one) and way more valuable (10x the profit over a lifetime) for your business growth.

Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

1. Be honest!

I recently worked on a project to help a carpet cleaner in a small town build their visibility online to help drive new business and loyalty. The first thing I noticed when I went to their Facebook page was 3 reviews that started with “This company does not represent themselves accurately online with who they are in person. Don’t hire them to clean your carpets.” Another one said “Stop making up fake reviews from customers! You don’t even do the things you talk about in the reviews you are making up!” Unfortunately the list of bad reviews went on and on. We are living in the day and age of abundant online reviews - you can’t afford bad publicity especially when you are just getting started!

In addition to representing yourself honestly online be honest about your pricing up front and if there is a possibility of an increase (or decrease) in an estimate, be upfront with that too. Try to live a policy of “no surprises” when it comes to what you are offering. When you are transparent you may lose customers before you get started, but in the long run you will gain trust and loyal customers tenfold. Loyal customers are also 10x more likely to refer you to their friends so they can multiply your customer base without you spending a dime! So be like Abe, and be honest.

2. First impressions are everything

Business Insider suggest that you have 7 seconds to make a strong positive impression. So before you ever pick up your first phone call or visit a new or returning customer, think first about how you would like to be treated or the experience you would like to have if they were in your shoes. Dress nicely, have good hygiene, and if you are rushing over from another dirty job, then be genuine, smile and say “today has been so busy I haven’t had time to clean up but I didn’t want to leave you hanging another minute!” If you enter a customer’s home or property leave it cleaner and better than you found it. If an accident does happen don’t pretend it didn’t. The scary truth is that 59% of customers that are left with a negative impression then leave a poor review online. Get ahead of the game and put your best foot forward before it comes back to bite you.

When you leave an appointment your first impression of an exit is just as important as when you first meet a customer. Jay Bean, CEO of FreshLime always says, “Handing over a paper invoice to a customer after a service is like sending them to the loyalty graveyard - you will never hear from them again.” Offer to send their invoice via text or e-mail to save on paper. This not only makes you look environmentally-friendly and tech-savvy, but it will also give you the opportunity to re-engage with your customer after your first service. You can send a thank you - a follow-up to see how everything is working several days afterward and you can let them know about specials and other offers you have going on. If you are active on Facebook let them know about it and send a follow-up e-mail asking them to like your page so they can know the latest and greatest. Be friendly and leave a reason for them to want to engage again. An extra 5 minutes will make 5x the difference in your bottom line growth.

3. Pleasant persistence

The key to good follow-up isn’t always fancy graphically-designed e-mails or intricately-automated marketing campaigns. Sometimes it’s just simple, good old-fashioned timing. Whatever industry you are in, start a document outlining your ideal customer. Include how often they would call your business to come back, and what issues they would likely call for. In a separate column outline your busy season, and any seasonal or holiday trends your business encounters. Then match up the two. Try to communicate at those ideal times and for ideal reasons and don’t communicate without a strategy in mind.

Make sure you inform your customer about your intentions to communicate. If you start sending out e-mails every few days and they didn’t expect to get them, it will annoy them more than endear you to their over-eager strategy. If you don’t hear back right away after texting a customer with a deal that you think is killer, don’t reach out right away and wonder why. They might not always reply to every message, but it takes 6-8 touches with a customer to get them to hire you. Just make sure those 6-8 touches aren’t a cumulation of texts and e-mails all in a few days:).

4. Highest quality every time

Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in how to market and communicate with our customers that we forget that the most important thing we need to do is make sure our service is the highest quality, each and every time. Your product and craft will speak for itself and drive online reviews and referrals more than anything else. You can get the best marketing strategy in place but you have to back it up, otherwise it will be considered “false advertising” and you will be looking at the kind of reviews I mentioned above.

The Economist recently published an article about the cost savings associated with outsourcing areas of your business that aren’t core to your offering. Not only does hiring someone else to do your marketing or your financials make you 60% more productive, but it also saves you time and resources that you could be spending on deals that actually bring in the bacon. Consider this - the 2 hours it takes you every week to design a newsletter might bring in a new client or two, but it’s also 2 hours of time you could be out on a job that is 4 to 6 times more profitable. Hire a service to help you out and it’s their core business. You pay a fraction of what your time costs, it’s usually more effective, and everyone wins. Breaking down the not-so-obvious helps you avoid unnecessary decisions and business cost.

5. VIP Insider Club

If you have left a good impression, are communicating at a good pace, and are genuine and honest in your customer dealings, you are setting a great foundation for long-term business growth. So the next step is more of a principle on how to treat each customer, especially those that have come to you more than once. Make them feel like a VIP. Every time you talk to them listen intently and try to provide the best and most cost-effective solution. Care about them and show them the kind of service you would always want to receive. Make them feel like any offer you extend is only for the VIP Club - and they are part of it.

One of the reasons Facebook grew so rapidly when MySpace was already in the game of social networking is that it started out exclusive. You could only join if you were enrolled in certain universities. You had to be part of the elite. It was considered superior just for that reason and people felt special to be part of it. Those on the outside wanted in. This led to a tipping point and once it was open to anyone it originally still felt unique. Provide this same kind of allure and experience and your customers will rave about how well they are treated and how much they love coming back every time. It works like a charm.

The service businesses we surveyed last year reported that they thought 80% of their customers had come back more than once if not a lot more frequent than a one-time deal. When we really looked at their data, however, we found that in reality, only 20% of their customers were coming back. It’s been our mission to change that number, and implementing these principles has made all the difference.

Erin Schurtz is the VP of Marketing for FreshLime. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, and subscribe to her blog posts.

Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.

Why Your Business Needs Live Web Chat

live web chat

Via Davinci

Let’s face it—the Internet has irreversibly changed how people find information. We’re able to search for anything, at anytime, and in seconds find more results than we can handle. With all of this information at our fingertips, it is now simply a matter of completing an online transaction or contacting the preferred provider to achieve our original intent.

However, this consumer convenience may also bring complications for brands. Because consumers are able to search for information in real time, they now also expect that brands will interact with them in real time. It’s a behavioral side effect that challenges many businesses to rethink their entire digital strategies.

A Business Built Digitally

Let’s take my business, Davinci Virtual Office Solutions, for example. We are a Utah-based company that supports almost 20,000 small to mid-size businesses with live receptionist services, virtual office addresses, and flexible meeting spaces. Davinci Virtual markets its products and services strictly online, directing all prospects to our company websites. We look at our Web properties as our “high-end retail stores” and make sure all sites are well designed, informative, and easily navigated—offering a straight path to transaction.

Because our market has become quite competitive over the past years, digital advertising expenses have increased and online conversion rates are more critical than ever to ongoing success. To ensure maximum return and conversion rates, we translated basic business 101 rules into our digital interaction approach. The following are a few of the more notable ones...

1) Give the Customer What They Want

Davinci Virtual takes advantage of real-time digital visitor intelligence to match a user’s specific search terms with the right online ad. We then direct the prospect to the product page that best matches that interest. We often present related cross-sell or upsell offers.

2) Service is Everything

Once a prospect is browsing one of our websites, a Davinci Virtual sales or customer service agent will invite the visitor to a live Web chat session. The main purpose is to welcome the person to Davinci Virtual, and to specifically address any questions and/or assist with the purchase process—all instantly, and in-channel.

3) The Customer is Always Right

At any time, the customer can choose how they would like to communicate with our company. They can elect to complete their online visit without any personal interaction, or they can opt to use the live Web chat tools to communicate with our team members. They also have the freedom to use our Click-to-Call tool to speak directly with one of our agents.

How’s it working so far?

As our websites function just like retail stores, it is imperative that we take advantage of every technology available to affect the overall customer experience and bottom line. All of the above scenarios are being enabled by an easily implemented digital engagement platform from LivePerson.

We are able to touch 90 percent of our website traffic though either live chat or phone, and many customers take advantage of both channels based on their need. This approach has been one of the key factors in growing our overall conversion rate to almost 30 percent.

Today, 15 percent of Davinci Virtual’s online sales transactions are completed via live chat, and the conversion rate sits at a strong 26 percent. Some of the contributing factors include customer targeting, skills-based routing, detailed response content, and a better overall use of live chat by our sales force.

Not only has digital engagement increased conversion rates, it also has the value per transaction through intelligent cross-sell and upsell strategies. Specifically, we are achieving average order for live chat sessions increase by about 25 percent.

Digital Engagement for Digital Customers

In the digital era, prospects and customers have reserved the right to choose how they want to communicate and interact. It is our job as business owners to create the best possible user experience.

Embrace the opportunity and be available to assist your customers where and when they choose to engage. Your customers will thank you.

About Davinci Virtual Office Solutions

Davinci Virtual is the leading provider of turnkey virtual office solutions. Davinci's virtual offices and services include local or toll-free telephone and fax numbers, digital voicemail, electronic fax, email, online command center, unified messaging, conferencing, voicemail to email, fax to email, professional live receptionist services, virtual assistants, live call answering, screening and forwarding, find me, follow me, surveys, live web chat, outbound calling, customer service, appointment scheduling, order taking, and much more.

Davinci offers virtual office locations and virtual office services worldwide. With professional business addresses in over 900 locations, mail forwarding, lobby and directory listings, access to over 3,000 conference rooms and day offices, catering, administrative services, virtual assistants, business support centers, resident agent services, license hanging and more. Davinci Virtual helps businesses maintain a global presence on a local budget.

For more information, visit www.davincivirtual.comwww.davincimeetingrooms.com 

Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.

Customer Service: 6 Tiny Things You Can Change to Make a Huge Difference

pizza girl

When it comes to interacting with your customers, it’s not always the giant changes that get noticed. It’s sometimes the little things that make the biggest differences. Try the following seven tricks and see if it doesn’t put a little extra pep in your customers’ step!

1. Say “Thanks”

It’s unbelievable that such a small thing could be so crucial, but there’s a reason the term “thank you effect" exists. Simply thanking the customer once in a while during an interaction can immediately endear them to you. 

Naturally you don’t want to say it during every sentence as it will become meaningless. However, thanking them for information they provide or even for being a customer can make your company stand out from the crowd. 

2. Follow Up

Did you have a customer with a unique, hard-to-fix problem? After you got off the phone or finished up the email conversation you may have had the nagging feeling not everything was right. Instead of letting it go, why not follow up with them to see if everything is ok? Even if nothing’s wrong it just reminds them why they love your company so much. 

3. Define Goals

Do you want your team to improve on certain areas? Don’t just say “be faster,” outline a series of steps they can take to accomplish this. For example, list out things like “answer emails within 30 minutes or less” or mark out a schedule for phone calls. Being specific can let your team reach for the stars and improve the whole business as a result. 

4. “Eat Your Own Dog Food”

Want to know what your customers are going through? How can you truly know if you don’t use your own products? Empathy is one thing, but sympathy is yet another – if you know for instance that your cell phone app has a tendency to fail during thunderstorms (for some reason!), you can tell them how to create a workaround.
You may not be your own target customer, but you should use your own products or services anyway, i.e. “Eat your own dog food.” 

5. Ask How to Improve

Most customers have ideas on how your company can improve. Always be asking them how they use your product or service and how you can make it better for their needs. You’ll discover new use cases and maybe even some golden opportunities along the way. 

6. Listen!

In so many of our conversations with customers we tend to shut our ears off. We think we know what’s going to be said so we ignore the details just to keep things moving along. What this does, though, is limit our understanding of the real situation.
While many times the customer WILL say exactly what we think they will, sometimes they won’t. In these cases we really need to open our ears and listen instead of assuming too much. This can help all of us resolve problems much faster and create a happier customer base.