Loyal Customer Base: The Questions We Want to Answer
Customer loyalty is important for a business to grow. In simple words, it is the willingness of a customer to buy from or interact with a company on a continuous basis. It’s safe to say that if a customer chooses your company for their specific needs over and over again even with the competition, he is loyal to you. If you have a loyal customer base, your customers cannot be easily swayed by availability, price, or freebies from another company.
Why then is it important? Compared to new customers that are costlier to acquire and who don’t spend as much, loyal customers who are coming back for more are critical to making a business succeed. Without them, no business can ever survive, especially since short-term profit grabs don’t work. It’s been found that it costs 5 times more to convert new customers than to take care of existing ones.
To illustrate the importance of having a loyal customer base, let’s take the example of a leaking bucket that’s filled with water. The water symbolizes all types of customers, including new, repeat, and loyal customers. However, if your bucket has a hole in it, water will slowly leak, and you will eventually lose your customers. No matter how much water you put in it (done through marketing and advertising strategies), you will still lose it. However, if you cover the hole (make customer service and retention a priority), the problem will be solved. In fact, even just a 5% increase in customer retention can increase business profits by 25%-95%.
Another important reason to have a loyal customer base is for referrals. Loyal customers make recommendations to their family and friends, and people often tend to rely on referrals when looking for what they need to buy.
As many business experts are saying, directing a business’s resources towards increasing customer loyalty is probably one of the best investment moves an organization can make. The slightest 2% increase in customer retention can have the same effect on profit as reducing the organization’s operating costs by 10%. Therefore, it’s more effective to spend money on keeping customers than spending less money on them.
Finally, It has been shown that repeat ecommerce customers bring in the most profit because they spend more than twice the amount that new customers spend.
Share with us some of your positive customer service experiences!
STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING A LOYAL CUSTOMER BASE
Now that we know the importance of having a loyal customer base, it’s time to enumerate the strategies for building one. Though it’s not as costly as acquiring new customers, building customer loyalty does take a lot of effort and careful planning.
Set clear values and communicate them
With tight competition, it’s essential to identify the brand values that you want your customers to know about. Gather your team and create a marketing strategy that emphasizes these values to help your company stand out. Target those that are unique to your brand since more and more customers now are buying based on beliefs. For example, if your brand doesn’t test products on animals, then this can be a good highlight.
Offer exceptional customer service
Exceptional customer service should be offered to both new and existing customers. Contrary to what people believe, it doesn’t start when a customer picks out a product from your online store. The moment they type in your web address, customer service starts. Not surprisingly, people have high expectations when it comes to customer service. According to a study, a good 89% of customers believe that a quick response to their initial inquiry is crucial in deciding who to buy from. But what’s more telling is that nearly half of people say that they will switch to another brand even after just one bad customer service experience.
Create a loyalty program to express your appreciation
This strategy is timeless, and many businesses are still doing it even to this day—online and offline. If you’ve noticed, some online stores offer discount codes when someone follows their account, opens an account with them, or subscribes to them. Loyalty reward cards, coupons, and special offers help make customers feel good about making purchases and encourage them to keep coming back.
Ask for feedback and be open to them
The best way to know which areas of your business you need to improve on or continue is to ask your customers for feedback every chance you get. You can conduct Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys, which can reflect how happy your customers are with any help that they have received from your company. Another way to gather feedback is to ask your customer service team to compile those that they receive in the tickets that they work on.
You don’t have to limit yourself to just these strategies. Be creative and you will reap the fruits in time. Feel free to share some of those tips with us too!
HOW TO KEEP LOYAL CUSTOMERS
Now that we know how to build a loyal customer base, we don’t stop our efforts there. Businesses need to know what to do in order to keep loyal customers the way they are—loyal. It’s important to understand that the slightest mistake or problem can make them go to the other side of the court, and you lose them forever.
The truth is that retaining an existing customer costs less than acquiring a new one and that finding two new customers does not equal retaining an old one.
Though the strategies for building a loyal customer base and keeping loyal customers loyal are similar, there are more steps to take for the latter.
Keep customer communication constant
In business, not all customers will provide you with feedback, and this shouldn’t mean letting them be. Your company should be proactive in communicating with them by reaching out to them and re-establishing the relationship. The best way to do this is to create a communication calendar where you can see the timings and opportunities to engage. Moreover, this calendar can show you when your customer has last reached out to you and when you last sent them an offer.
Buying from you doesn’t always necessarily mean trusting you. Though it takes time to build trust, 81% of customers consider trust as an important factor in their buying decisions. And since a ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy for building trust is simply not going to work, you need to create unique ways to show your brand’s trustworthiness. It’s important to show your reliability by consistently delivering value to your customers.
Create a customer advisory board
Loyal customers are a good source of information. And since they are your most valued customers, their inputs are valuable too. Let them feel it by creating a customer advisory board, which is a panel composed of customers who can help you fine-tune your products and services. Plus, if you encourage participants to publicly share their reviews, the more you increase customer advocacy. Another way is to encourage customers to share their testimonials to help you attract potential customers.
Take responsibility for errors and apologize
Excellent customer service accepts that mistakes happen, no matter how careful we are. Therefore, when such things happen, you have to own up to the mistake and apologize. Then, offer to help in a way to rectify the error. Regardless of how small the mistake is, your customer didn’t deserve it. According to HubSpot’s research, 96% of customer respondents would continue to buy from a company if they apologized and did what they could do to rectify the error.
If we look at these tips, these are very simple and should be done with or without any seminar on customer service and loyalty. Are you doing these too in your company? Please share your thoughts.
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