Customer loyalty is more than a feeling. It has tangible bottom-line impact. And that's why it's worth your time and effort to cultivate and maintain.

We ran some numbers recently to look at the impact of customer loyalty on our operation. You can do the same whether you're a creative agency, an organizational team leader or a content marketing juggernaut of one.

I looked at sales from Q1 to find out two things about customer loyalty:

  1. How much of our work comes from repeat customers
  2. How much of our work from from customer referrals

Like the net promoter score, this data provides a window into how well we do at meeting clients' content and service needs.

How customer loyalty helps business

As I reported last week, 69% of our business in Q1 alone came from clients who have used us at least once before. I'm pretty chuffed about that.

First, it means I can be more strategic about chasing new business because my pipeline's pretty well filled. And it gives me a nice metric to cite about our performance, which is handy in a world in which I rarely get my hands on shareable data about how our content performs for clients.

Second, it keeps our workflows streamlined because we know our clients' preferences, style and voice, and it keeps learning curves flat because we possess sufficient background/contextual knowledge.

Why customer referrals are important

A closer look at our sales shows that 60% of first-quarter revenue was attributable to two sources whom I've worked with at various companies for a decade or more. Six of our 16 active clients -- 37.5% --in Q1 came to us through these two people.

That makes thems serious force multipliers. They're a virtual sales team who sings our praises based on actual knowledge of the high standards we meet in terms of work product and customer service. Because they know us so well, they essentially qualify leads for me, a huge time-saver. And their advocacy on our behalf makes it faster and easier for me to close the deal.

It's expensive to recruit new business and replace lost clients. Repeat business and referrals are crucial risk mitigators that are mostly within your control.

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