It’s a lot easier to keep an old customer than win a new customer. In fact, it can cost seven times as much to gain a new sale than to retain an existing one.
Needless to say, every business wants to grow their customer base, however it’s far savvier to grow it while retaining your current one. The value current customer’s offer can’t be questioned and according to research from SumAll, 25 – 40% of custom for stable businesses comes from returning clients.
Repeat customers matter and creating brand loyalty is extremely important. Figuring out how to create this loyalty can have significant benefits and allow a brand to reap rewards that are already there. So, how do you do it?
Great Service via Social Media
If something goes wrong, or a customer has a query – where do they go? Well, in 2015 they usually head straight to social media channels.
Ensuring your social media channels are well manned and that your social media staff are well trained has significant benefits. Being attentive and helpful and in essence, holding a customer’s hand until a solution is found is a sign of great customer service. Customer service is important, all the great businesses know that and act on the fact.
Additionally, remember in a world of social media, bad news travels as fast as good news – maybe faster. Not treating existing customers’ right and meeting their needs will mean that getting new ones will be even harder and cost even more. Remember a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
This infographic showcases the good, bad and ugly of customer service in a social media world.
Customer Advice is very important
If customers are willing to offer their advice, then you need to listen. If customers’ provide feedback or criticism, it’s to be cherished and not scorned.
Look at it this way, if you were to hire a marketing company to conduct surveys and feedback it would cost a pretty penny, so customers doing it for free should be cherished.
So, instead of going with a hunch, encourage customers to provide feedback. This can be done by placing polls on social media, specialist customer surveying software, sending out questionnaires via sites like Survey Monkey or getting them to complete feedback via an onsite form. Needless to say there are countless other ways to encourage customers to provide this feedback via blogs, video, forums and other means.
If you do decide to change things, credit the customer and send them something as a thank you. They’ve saved you money and you’re gaining a loyal customer by acting in this manner.
Go the Extra Yard
Great businesses with loyal customers go the extra yard. Providing more value than your competitors is a great way to do just that.
For example, let’s look at SEMRush for instance. They offer their customers large amounts of content in the form of news, Webinars, tutorials and tips on a daily basis, Bufferapp does the same. Both are huge players in their field and this can certainly be attributed to the value that they bring.
Offline, UK retailer John Lewis goes the extra mile with great customer service and warranty’s that are far longer than the norm on the goods it sells. This has created a level of loyalty that others just don’t have in the retail area.
Put yourself in their Shoes
In a lot of ways, creating loyalty is simple. You put yourself in your customer’s shoes and you get a better understanding of what they’d like to see. Factors to consider include staff interaction, customer service, the way you portray your marketing and also the ways you deal with feedback. According to a Barclays Bank report, 59% of people said that a genuine smile and a hello made them return to a local business repeatedly.
Being proactive and trying to deliver what the customer wants before they ask for it can have significant benefits in this regard. Most people don’t tend to complain about customer service and will just drift away from your business. However by looking out for potential issues before they occur, you prevent this from happening. Watch trends, examine your service from an independent viewpoint and if you need to make changes do so ASAP.
Let’s look at two scenarios:
- Your phone stops working. So you tweet the network provider, who in turn tweets back promptly, organises someone to collect and repair your phone and return it within 36 hours.
- Your phone stops working. You have to email the network twice to get a response within 24 hours. You then have to go to their nearest dealer, send off your phone and await its return for 7 days.
Which service are you going to choose?
Convenience is incredibly important in modern life. Whether it’s recurring billing, delivery at a time that suits you or reminders for when you need to change or alter something. For a business, adding value through providing the customer with services that make it easier for them to enjoy the service or item, is a winner. This hassle free process creates loyalty and fans of your business.
In conclusion, if you want to build a loyal base of customers and brand advocates you need to provide people with more than they expect. Over delivering helps greatly with brand loyalty.
It’s worth working for. Remember, it costs seven times as much to win a new customer than keep an old one – so what greater focus do you need to put the extra effort into meeting your current customers’ needs and doing something great that’s nigh impossible for them to ignore?
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: How your Business can Reap the Rewards of a Loyal Customer Base
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