How to Retain Customer Loyalty in a Digital Age
The internet has brought us many wonderful things but it also brings competition. Businesses have to offer something really special if they want to be in with a chance of getting noticed. That’s why so many businesses offer a free trial, or a discount on your first order, as a way to entice customers over from their competitors. But these offers only apply to new customers, what about the customers who have already chosen your company?
As much as you need to attract new customers to grow as a company, you don’t want to lose the ones you’ve already worked hard to get. Business.com claim that “acquiring new customers costs 5 to 10 times more than selling to a current customer”. Why not put that effort into existing customers? Especially because just a 5% increase in customer retention efforts could result in more than a 25% increase in profit. It’s beginning to make more and more sense to pay attention to your existing customers.
So, what can you do to increase customer loyalty for your brand? We’ve identified a few things you can implement to keep customers coming back for more.
Get your service up to scratch
It sounds obvious but if you’re providing a shoddy service, you can bet that your customers will look elsewhere next time. Results from a ClickFox study show that low brand quality is named as the biggest deterrent to brand loyalty by 35% of respondents. However, it’s not just the actual product or service you’re giving people that you need to worry about, it’s how you deliver it too. In that same study, 48% of consumers named poor customer service as the biggest deterrent.
On the other hand, really good customer service is brilliant for customer retention. Research shows that customers are more likely to make a second purchase from a company after having a good customer service experience. Not only that, but 33% of respondents said that they shared their good experiences with over five other people. So, for the sake of improving your customer service, you’re increasing your customer loyalty and potentially bringing in new customers at the same time!
Know your customers
If you want to do anything more drastic than just improving your product/service, you’re going to need to do some research. Not every marketing technique works for everybody so you need to work out which methods appeal to your target audience. Use your customers’ behavioural data to figure out what, specifically, customers are hoping to get from you. This will help you understand how you can best help them and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.
You can also try to align your company ideals with those of your target audience. The Harvard Business Review have found that 64% of consumers claim to have a relationship with a particular brand because of their shared values. Customers will likely come back to buy from you again if they see that you support something which they do themselves.
Think about how you contact your customers
A rookie mistake often made in marketing campaigns is to inundate customers with a barrage of interactions because you think that the more your clients hear from you, the more likely they are to choose you. In reality, receiving a load of communication tends to annoy people. When you annoy customers you make it very tempting for them to click that ‘unsubscribe’ button and then they’re lost to all the new content you’re working on so hard to create. Instead of sending them something per day, think of sending a weekly round-up or monthly highlights.
Also remember that in this digital age, most people don’t appreciate being called on the phone, unsolicited, to talk about special offers and upgrades. 60% of people in fact, according to a ClickFox study. Of that 60%, 75% say that they’d prefer an email which allows them to look at it in their own time rather than interrupting whatever they’re doing.
Think about how your customers can contact you
As part of making sure you provide great customer service, one of the best things you can do is to make sure that your customers can easily get in touch. Aberdeen Group Inc. has found that companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain approximately 89% of customers as opposed to just 33% for companies with weaker omnichannel strategies. Having different contact options available means that complaints can be dealt with as soon as possible and reduces any frustration the customer may feel.
Reward your older customers
Many companies offer a discount on the first order but what’s to stop a customer taking you up on that offer, only to then go and use another company and their introductory discount next time they have a project or job? Business.com have calculated that returning customers spend 67% more than new customers do but these kinds of introductory promotions tend only to attract fickle customers who don’t come back for a second purchase. Companies should instead try to bring in more discounts and offers for loyal customers who have a made a significant number of orders. Frequent flyer benefits from airlines is an example of how you can incorporate a scheme which rewards those who have remained loyal to your company or brand.
Listen to your customers
Finally, if you’re ever unsure of what your customers like or want, just ask them! Sending out surveys and feedback forms has the double advantage of letting you know what needs improving as well as making your clients feel involved. Bain & Company conducted a study showing that 80% of companies feel that they are delivering a “superior experience” to their customers. However, only 8% of their clients could agree. There is obviously a communication gap between companies and their customers. If you want to deliver a truly ‘superior experience’, you’ll need to talk to your clients and listen to what they got to say.