Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic relationships; Valentine’s Day is all about making the people around you feel special. We all want to feel special, right? Of course! INCLUDING your customers. Every brand wants to attract their ideal customer, and your customers want to know that you love them as much as they love you.
In fact, there are a lot of similarities between courting a romantic prospect and and acquiring and retaining a customer: you’ve got to make a strong first impression in the acquisition phase, ensure that the second date or transaction (and third and fourth) is just as good as or better than the first, and consistently remind them why they chose you in the first place… so they continue to choose you!
In other words, you’ve got to optimize your customer acquisition and retention strategies to ensure that you’re attracting the ideal candidates and earning their loyalty over time.
If you’re constantly striking out with prospects or can’t get them to stick around for more than a few months consider implementing these three tips into your CX strategy. Do they sound like dating advice? Maybe. But trust me: They’ll work just as well (and maybe even better!) from 9-5 as they do from 5-9!
Customer Acquisition Vs. Customer Retention
Before we dive into the CX tips, it’s important to understand the difference between customer acquisition and retention.
Customer acquisition is the process of attracting new customers to your business.
Customer retention encompasses all of the things your brand does to keep your customers coming back.
Acquisition and retention are the one-two punch that can make or break the relationship you have with your customers. If you aren’t paying attention to your acquisition efforts, you may end up attracting the wrong type of customers. Or, you could lose out to your competition before you’re ever given the chance. On the other hand, if you stop paying attention to your customers once they’ve made a purchase with you, you could end up back to square one, trying to chase new prospects. Sound familiar?
Let’s dive into three tips for improving your customer acquisition and retention, inspired by Valentine’s Day:
Optimize Your Online Profile
According to Mic.com, dating app users spend an average of three to six seconds looking at a profile before swiping left or right. With such a short window, you’ve got to optimize your page to tell your story and capture a prospect’s attention, otherwise you won’t stand a chance.
The profiles on apps like Hinge include photos, bio, prompts, and captions that help users find compatible matches. However, if someone has only one or two outdated pictures, or only pictures with sunglasses/hats (apparently hatfishing is a thing where men hide their baldness in their profiles!), they will probably lose out to the competition.
In addition, with blank or cliche answers to the prompts, you can appear lazy or uninterested (or worse, uninteresting!). With over 323 million people using dating apps, filling out the bare minimum on your profile isn’t enough. You’ve got to showcase your uniqueness to get your prospects to care.
Guess what? It’s just as important for brands to optimize their customer experience before any transaction occurs. “Before” is all the parts of the customer journey that you weren’t there for. This can include the online searches they did, or the visit to your website and the website of a competitor. This is one of the most overlooked parts of a customer acquisition strategy.
If a prospect googled your brand or looked you up on social media right now, what would they find? I recommend googling yourself at least once a month to ensure everything looks right.
According to Bright Local, 63% of consumers say that finding incorrect information on a business listing would stop them from using that business. You’ve got to ensure that it’s easy for customers to find you. If it takes more than a few seconds, they’ll just hit the ‘back’ button and move onto the next result on Google.
Use the “before” part of your acquisition strategy as a chance to set yourself apart from every competitor. Create frictionless interactions and infuse your uniqueness right away.
Don’t Lose the Spark
Have you ever gone on a few dates with someone and told your friends afterward that he/she was “Nice, but there’s nothing really special about them”? Perhaps the first date was pretty good, but after hanging out a few times, you realized that you just weren’t “feeling it.”
Apathy can kick in at any point in a relationship, but it’s especially common after that honeymoon phase is over. Once a partner feels like they have your attention and stops trying to court you, you may lose interest. Maybe another attractive person comes along and gives you attention, and you think, “this guy might be a better match for me.”
Brands often make the same mistake; they’ll allocate immeasurable resources to customer acquisition. Then, when they’ve got those customers, they do an okay job of taking care of their needs. Naturally, customers get apathetic and think, “Maybe I’ll see what else is out there.”
It’s critical to remind a customer why they chose you in the first place. If you’re in a high-touch business, reach out personally to get details about what their experience was like and tell them you’re dedicated to making their next experience even better. If your volume of customers is too high to reach out personally, use automation to give them a feeling of personal interaction.
At the end of the day, you never want to fall into the trap of getting too comfortable. A loving couple can lose their spark and grow apart over time. The same thing can happen with your business: your most loyal customers can lose interest- typically, when your story and theirs are no longer in sync. Make sure you are putting in as much effort into the retention stage as you are in the acquisition stage to keep your customers committed.
Learn the Right Way to Apologize
Learning how to apologize is one of the more underrated communication skills. Many of us have been on the receiving end of a “Whatever I did to make you mad, I’m sorry.” We know exactly what it feels like: A BS un-apology. Making mistakes is an inevitable part of any romantic relationship, but the way you apologize (or attempt to apologize) can worsen or improve the dynamic with your significant other.
Similarly, customer centricity isn’t only important when things are going right. It’s about repairing the relationship when things go wrong, too. You’ve got to ensure that your customers feel valued and heard. When brands own up to their actions, customers can feel a stronger loyalty than before the mistake occurred, a phenomenon called the Service Recovery Paradox.
According to Salesforce Research, 78% of customers will do business with a company even after they’ve made a mistake, if the customer service is excellent. Mistakes will always happen. Putting a proper system in place for making things right is a key part of any customer retention strategy.
Luckily, the steps to apologize are pretty much the same no matter who you’re dealing with:
- Acknowledge the mistake you made, how it negatively impacted your prospect, and how they might be feeling as a result.
- Apologize. Say you’re sorry without any excuses or qualifiers.
- Ask how you can make it right.
- Atone. Put your solution into action.
- Adjust whatever system, process, or behavior (or lack thereof) led to the problem in the first place.
If you want to attract your ideal customer and get them to commit for the long haul, you should reevaluate your acquisition and retention strategies. First you’ve got to give ‘em a reason to take a chance on you! Then, you need to constantly remind them why they chose you in the first place; don’t take their loyalty for granted, or someone else could swoop right in and take your place. Finally, always take responsibility for your actions and know when and how to apologize when you hit the inevitable bumps in the road.