Isn’t it enough that customers find a product appealing, the service up to scratch and the price reasonable? The answer is no! A customer that says “yes” to all of the above might be satisfied with your product, but loyalty is a whole different matter altogether.
In our previous article, we discussed the difference between satisfaction and loyalty. Today, we’ll look at how to achieve both.
1. Understand Your Customers
Make Them Feel Special
Specialized service can go a long way in keeping customers loyal. If you manage to win over a customer’s heart in a manner that’s irreplaceable elsewhere (like throwing in a free pick up for car servicing), it’s more likely that they’ll return despite a lower cost elsewhere. It costs less than you think and lowering churn rate can reap unimaginable profits in future.
Provide A Familiar Experience
People like seeing familiar faces. In a physical store, having employees that know their customer’s names and preferences differentiates you from competitors. In the cyber world, having seasoned employees who know about your company inside and out allows them to provide customers with a higher level of service when help is needed.
Live chat allows businesses to create a familiar experience for their customers because different agents can read up on past conversations and follow up on previously unresolved issues. Think about it. If a company constantly lays-off its employees and every time you seek help, an inexperienced agent fumbles with handbooks and knowledge bases before forwarding you to someone else, would you return?
Create A Common Enemy
Most fans of a certain product hate on another. Especially when they’re extremely similar, but not exactly the same. Think for example, Pepsi and Coke during the Halloween of 2013. Pepsi came up with a clever ad, but Coke fans retorted with an even cleverer one.
Moral of the story? If you can’t give your fans a reason to rally together, give them a cause to rally against. As the saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Think Apple and Windows—the friendly war between cool and geeky never ends.
Once you’ve understood what makes loyal customers tick and you’re determined to convert your normal consumers into raving fans, here’s what you need to do.
2. Commit Wholeheartedly
The only way to succeed in keeping loyal customers is to dedicate time and effort into a strategy that always puts your customers in first place. A good strategy to take up is the balanced scorecard developed by Robert S Kaplan and David P Norton. What the strategy basically does is to address the needs of the various stakeholders in an integrated manner, with the company’s core values as its pivoting point.
The balanced scorecard guides companies in thinking about their decisions and operations from four different points of views: the customer perspective, the financial perspective, the internal process perspective, and the employee perspective. What this means is that if a company places customer loyalty and satisfaction at its core, the strategy will help tie in all other areas in order to meet that goal.
This is extremely useful when it comes to helping individual employees see their own value and their impact on the entire company. For example, a customer service agent would have their own scorecard on how to satisfy customers. Yet at the same time, they’ll be able to see the impacts their own actions have on the financial section of the company, since the balanced scorecard ties everything together. When employees feel important to the company and all stakeholders feel committed to a goal while having clear targets, the ultimate dream of achieving customer satisfaction and loyalty can be effortlessly attained.
3. Measure Success
The ever daunting CSAT (customer satisfaction score) troubles even the most brilliant of us. Since customer satisfaction is a self reported measure, businesses often try to figure out what their customers are thinking through a series of stats.
Zopim recently launched a Chat Rating feature which allows customers to rate each individual chat and enables businesses to find out just how happy their clients are when speaking online to a chat agent. This is an example of a measure in obtaining your CSAT.
However, since a comprehensive and accurate CSAT is usually made up of more than one measure, collecting information from different aspects of the business can help provide a more thorough idea of how satisfied your customers are.
For example, considering customer service alone, data can be collected from different areas, such as the speed of service, efficiency when solving problems and ease of use regarding the customer service platform. Not only will a business be able to find out how satisfied their customers are with regards to customer service, but they’ll also be able to see which areas they are dissatisfied with. Zopim’s built-in Analytics function is a great way to observe customer behavior and view information such as chat duration and number of missed chats.
Customer loyalty is tougher to measure than customer satisfaction. This is because rather than directly asking customers how loyal they think they are, loyalty can only be measured when observing the actual behavior of a client.
However, it is still possible to think of customer loyalty as a statistical measure where accuracy increases with the number of measures. There are a few popular indicators of customer loyalty, such as customer retention, advocacy rate, and repurchasing rate.
Data collection for these measures can be done in 2 ways. The first is to ask customers questions that will indicate their loyalty. For example, when trying to find out advocacy rates, questionnaires with items such as “Would you speak to your friend about our brand?” and “How often do you speak to your friends about our brand?” can help shed some light on their likelihood to be your brand ambassadors. NPS (Net Promoter Score) surveys are also one of the ways businesses separate their customers into promoters, detractors, and passives.
The second method, which is also more reliable since it doesn’t rely on customers reporting their sentiments, is to observe customer behavior. Repeat purchases can be tracked with loyalty cards, and advocacy rates with social media reposts and referral benefits. These behavioral statistics speak a lot about how loyal a customer is even when they don’t speak out loud.
Measuring success is important because it lets you know if your current strategy is working. Although success can come slowly and a strategy that works for now won’t always work forever, periodic measures can help a business identify problems before they exacerbate into crises.
Do loyalty programs actually work?
Consumers typically participate in loyalty programs because there is a perceived benefit of being a loyal customer. Whether it’s a discounted purchase, a sense of belonging or prestige, customers tend to be quick when saying “yes” to holding a membership card, but slow when it comes to repeat purchases.
Research has shown that for the amount of effort put in place to make these loyalty programs work, their returns are surprisingly low. Also, most loyal behavior stem from the product, price or the customer service offered by a business rather than the presence of an incentive program. Thus, pushing out benefits to reward already loyal members might help to make them feel valued, but their effects on converting existing customers to loyal ones might be marginal at best.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 3 Steps To Achieving Customer Satisfaction And Loyalty
More Sales & Marketing articles from Business 2 Community: