How to Turn One-Time Customers into Lifetime Customers

Tracy Borreson on November 27, 2017

Anyone with a customer experience focus will tell you that turning one-time customers into lifetime customers is the over-arching goal of their position. We want to make sure that customers come back again and again, by giving them something they can’t get anywhere else.

Now, we’re not talking about all one-time customers; some are just one-offs that will never be back, no matter what you do. But we are talking about those first-time customers, that your marketing team has worked so hard to drive in for you, that have so much potential!

There are 4 easy-to-implement ways that allow you to start bettering these relationships as quickly as tomorrow – check it out:

1. Good Data Intelligence
Understanding data is an important first step to ensure you know which customers to focus on. Do you even know who your first-time opportunities are versus one-timers? Both have one purchase on their account, so their “frequency” is the same. How do they differ on other scales? How much did they spend? How many products did they buy? Does their product bundle lend itself to additional items? Were their products on sale? How recent was their purchase? These questions will lead to a much better profile of the difference between these two groups; and once you know the difference, you can start to change focus.

2. Targeted Customer Follow-Up Programs
Now that you have a segment associated to “good” one-timers, how do you plan to communicate with them? Are you going to wait for an issue before you touch them again? Or are there some proactive things you can communicate in the meantime? Often companies see a pattern of how other customers reach out with a similar profile (more data gathering), and this information can be beneficial in driving communication programs. Once you understand what customers are concerned about, you can put proactive communication programs into place to address potential issues before they arise, and convince your customers they are taken care of, before they need to be.

3. Get Direct Feedback from Customers
Pretty much all brands use customers surveys of some kind. But what type of information are you effectively getting from these? Is it information that you can use to create a better customer experience? If not, then ask yourself why are you asking for it?

Surveys are meant to collect direct customer feedback that can address a specific issue. A survey just for survey’s sake is never a good strategy. Make sure you 1) know what information you want to get out of a survey before sending it, 2) distribute the survey in all channels in which your customers interact, and 3) use the data you have collected to provide a better experience for your customers.

If you would like some more detail on customer surveys, click here to check out my webinar recording.

4. Provide Legitimate Help (and Sound Helpful)
This is mostly tied to staffing policies. Are you hiring people that both: 1) have the predisposition to provide friendly customer service, and 2) have the authority to provide the best service? One without the other is not going to allow you to provide legitimate help; instead, it will force your customers into a frustrating loop to get anything done – and none of us want to experience that. Your people are your best opportunity to turn any customer into a Lifetime Customer, so they should be hired with the appropriate intention and authority. Don’t forget to attach appropriate performance standards to these roles – we can’t risk investing in employees that create poor experiences.

I’ll finish with a quote from one of my favorite people – the great Walt Disney:

"Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do."

Don’t you wish that was you?
For more details on how SPLICE can help you get started on creating lasting customer relationships, send me a message at