A happy customer is a loyal customer. It’s a simple equation, isn’t it? Yet it is one so often overlooked by many business owners and marketers alike. It’s all too easy to get bogged down with the day-to-day operations of running a business that the fundamental importance of keeping customers engaged with the brand can go unchecked.
In this article, we look at some strategies and real-life examples of how successful global businesses keep customers happy (and therefore, engaged).
Why Should I Focus on my Old Customers?
Did you know that it costs five times more to acquire new customers than it does to retain current customers? How about the fact that according to Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%?
Looking at these facts, any business should be prioritizing nurturing existing customers who already have a strong emotional connection with your brand. While it’s true that new customers are fantastic and need to be considered in yourmarketing strategies, utilizing the strong foundation you already have should be considered a very easy win for your business.
Which of my Current Customers are the Most Valuable?
Understanding your current database of buyers and understanding their spending patterns all comes down to data analysis and research; this should be in the toolbox of every marketer. If you do not have a strong understanding of the behavior of your customers, then you are missing out on success.
Some key questions to ask of your brand:
What products are being bought consistently?
Are there any consistent referral sales from a particular customer?
Are there any interesting patterns of when products are brought?
Of all your customers, which segment tends to spend the most with your business?
Running through your data with these questions in mind will help uncover some key insights that will help you create strategies to re-target and reward your loyal supporters. Not sure where to begin? There are plenty of tools for attaining this data, and these key insights can be produced automatically by the platform.
What Will Keep Your Customers Returning?
Once you have identified who your “high value” customers are, it’s time to open up the channels of communication and dig into what they value the most. Do they prefer free shipping? Do they want discounts? Do they want the chance to be first in line for special events?
The power of customer feedback should never be under-estimated: be open to asking questions of your database and using that information to drive your business forward.
Feedback could come in the form of a general in-app survey, a social media poll or even personalized emailsasking for information.
Gaining customer feedback will not only help your understanding of what drives your clients, but it will also help create strong advocates for your brand.
Customer Service is Key
Any business can create an intricate customer loyalty program with all the shiny offers and discounts, but if you cannot provide the fundamental basics of strong customer service – your loyalty program will fail.
What do we mean by good customer service?
Creating a seamless transaction process for any purchase
A strong system for dealing with customer complaints and refunds
Communicating on a regular basis with your customers
Asking for and replying to feedback
Thanking each customer for their purchase!
No matter the size of your business, always ensure that your customers are appreciated.
The Importance of Measuring Success
As we discussed earlier in this article, a great loyalty program must start with research and analysis, but it must also end with exactly the same process. How will you know if your program is successful without having key performance indicators in place to show success?
Measuring successwill come in different formats for different sizes and styles of business, so it is important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to measurement.
Some key areas to look at include:
Customer retention – How long have your customers been giving you their business?
Net Promoter Score – Yes, someone might buy from you but did they enjoy the process? If they saw the transaction as negative they are unlikely to return, so it’s important to measure their perception of the overall customer journey and brand experience. This is where feedback becomes important.
Referral data – How many new customers are being acquired thanks to glowing reviews and referrals from your current brand advocates?
Social media interactions – A large amount of business is conducted online nowadays, with social media being an important channel for marketing and brand awareness. Analyzing how your brand and loyalty program efforts are being portrayed and perceived on social media will be a strong indicator of success.
Five Ways You Can Keep Loyal Customers Happy
Now that we have looked into how and why you should be rewarding loyal customers, let’s look into some real-world examples of success!
Surprise and Delight
What do we mean by surprise and delight? A good example is when Mercedes Benz launched a Christmas campaign based on the name “MBSecretSanta Program”. The campaign asked customers to work with the car manufacturer to find the perfect Christmas gift, and saw the company provide thousands of free gifts to its biggest fans.
It’s worth noting that this campaign would have cost a large monetary outlay for the company, but the goodwill and respect that grew for the brand was invaluable.
Involve Your Clients in a Game
Nothing keeps customers returning more than providing the thrill of being included in a game! Starbucks has seen customers return again and again, thanks to its iconic My Reward app, which offers customers points each time they make a purchase and provides an interactive game-style app that gives out goodies.
Repeat customers are rewarded consistently with free beverages, deals and birthday offers. Not just complacent with a points loyalty system, Starbucks also introduced larger rewards for its most loyal customers, providing them with very personalized treats and offers that entice people to keep purchasing.
Tap Into Emotions
A business that taps into the emotions of its customers is a successful one. What do we mean? Look outside of profits and special offers – what can you do for your customers that shows you are a company that cares?
As human beings, we place a high amount of value on supporting those in need, and providing money or support to charitable causes. When brands get involved in this process, it resonates with customers.
One global brand that does this well is The Body Shop – in addition to its standard points-based loyalty program where customers can access discounts and vouchers, The Body Shop also offers customers the chance to give up this monetary win for a good cause. As a customer, you have the option to support a charity and give back to the world!
Does your business have the option to support a cause either in your local area or on a global scale? It’s important to remember that the answer isn’t always cash – can your staff volunteer? Can you provide products or leftovers? Can you do more to support the environment? Think outside the box!
Treat Your Customers Like Royalty
Let’s take a look at global cosmetic company Sephora, which has managed to develop nothing short of an army of loyal customers across the globe by providing offers that are truly ‘exclusive’.
Unless you are a member of Sephora, you won’t have access to early release deals, invites to VIP events or the chance to interact with celebrities. Through this feeling of exclusivity, Sephora sees millions in repeat business, and has exponentially expanded brand awareness as these unique features are being shared by happy customers.
At times, some businesses can fall into the trap of offering countless different offers, vouchers, exclusives… the list goes on. Amazon Prime is an excellent example of how one simple yet strong offer can be the key to success.
The global streaming service keeps things simple, with one price for its subscription that offers a small range of benefits for customers. What do you get as an Amazon Prime member? Easy, quick cheap delivery and access to the streaming service. This may not seem like a lot of benefits, but the average Amazon Prime member spends $700 more than a non-member.
What does this mean for your business? Think about one solid offer that rewards your customers or clients and avoids falling into the trap of overcomplicating things.
To Sum Up
Loyalty can be developed and nurtured by any business that takes the time and effort to understand, measure and reward its customers. At times, we need to take a step back from the day-to-day operations of running a business and tap into the human emotion that could drive your business to success.
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