How to retain your customers
How often do you say “thank you” to your customers?
If there’s one thing we should learn from 2016, it’s that marketing revolving around your brand doesn’t work anymore – your customer must be at the heart of everything you do. That involves rewarding them and saying thank you once in a while. And what better occasion than the end of the year to do so?
Retaining customers is up to 5 times less expensive than acquiring new ones. Make sure to put in place a “customer loyalty program” to avoid churn as much as possible. When one mentions “customer loyalty programs” though, we immediately think of cards and points and occasional discounts with the local supermarket. But there are other ways to create loyalty, even in B2B.
Satisfaction remains the main reason people suggest when they’re asked why they’re loyal to a company. If you look at the studies, it usually means that the product or service works fine and delivers results. But satisfaction is a bit tricky because it involves several factors all put into this generic word. It can also involve having a good customer service, a good quality vs. price ratio, etc.
What can be risky is the form of inertia that can appear in this loyalty. Customers may stay by being passive and not because they are fans of what you do. The other factors will then help you turn your satisfied customers into happy customers.
A good way to build the foundations of customer loyalty is to have top performing account managers.
Having available customer service from the onboarding period until their plain use of the product is capital for customer retention. Not only does it ensure their satisfaction, it is also what is going to differentiate you if you evolve in a very competitive environment. Good customer service creates trust and highly contributes to overall satisfaction.
It is the third key element of customer loyalty. The latter partly comes from your company delivering what it promised. The worst for you would be to sell a dream product or service to someone and then not meet expectations after having placed them very high. Always be able to deliver what you promised and remember: the higher the expectations, the bigger the disappointment.
With the Internet and social media becoming so strong, reputation has become something to really watch out for. Check how people see you from an outside point of view. Do you appear on Google? Have you ever been reviewed? Are you active on social media? Present in events?
This is a matter of credibility. If you don’t look credible, nobody will believe your promises. What’s more, people tend to choose to buy from a company that they feel they can trust.
As for customer loyalty, changes in your reputation can impact it. If you get bigger or if your community is engaged then they are more likely to consider you serious and in a positive loop that will influence how they think of you. If on the contrary nobody knows you or you do something that affects your image, your customers might feel disconnected towards your brand and it could impact their trust.
Rewarding your customer is linked to showing gratitude. People like to feel that there is something more than just a contract between you. Rewarding your customers with exclusive content, exclusive offers, personalization of your communication, etc. is something you should do from time to time.
Your pricing strategy is your own. High price, high quality (and vice versa) is the only rule you need. When talking about customer loyalty, the price almost doesn’t matter. I could have added it to the image above as the smallest circle of influence. If a company already is your customer, then the price is not a problem. Unless they have drastic changes in their revenues, it’s not what’s going to make them leave. If a competitor is cheaper, then it’s very likely it has fewer features than you – so you have ways to defend yourself.
Customer success stories are trendy – and there’s a reason to it. Expose their success stories and people will dream of making it just like all these other customers of yours. It doesn’t only show how great your product or service is but also – and it might be the main advantage – because it shows that you care about your customers. You’re not just a product or service; you’re interested in what your clients do and what they become; you follow them and support them every step of the way. Every company has its own story and you share it.
The point is: it’s great to attract new customers. And for your already existing ones, the reason is obvious. Who wouldn’t feel loved and proud of being recognised for their success?
Learn what your customers want in order to improve your communication and choose your rewards with more precision. That’s where customer satisfaction surveys come in. Make it as short as possible and as easy to fill as possible. Take the time to consider what they really want and work on those things. Your clients want you to listen to them!
Happy customers are customers that pay and remember: the best advertising is done by happy customers!