7 Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty and Retention
There are many ways to measure customer loyalty. The easiest way is simply to ask your existing customers how they feel about you, and the services you offer. You can also use questionnaires to determine your Net Promoter Score (NPS) – a measure of how likely your customers are to recommend you to others. Head here to read our detailed guide to measuring brand loyalty.
So let’s say you measure your customer loyalty, and find it to be lacking. Oh no! What can you do to fix this? How can you increase customer loyalty and retention?
Let’s take a look at seven strategies that will help convert your existing customers into loyal brand ambassadors.
One: Don’t Neglect Your Existing Customers
Show your existing customers just as much love as you show to your new customers. Or better yet, show them even more love.
Many of us learn this lesson the hard way, through being taken for granted by the brands we use. About a year ago, we shared a story on this blog about a poor experience with a gym. Having canceled a gym membership, our blogger received an email containing a pretty generous “reactivation offer.”
“This made me sad. Not once during my 7 years with my gym did I receive any recognition or incentive for being a loyal member for such a long time. Nothing. Not one simple ‘thank you, we appreciate you.’ No offers, no treats, nothing to make me feel valued. The only communication I received was an annual notification that my fees were increasing, ‘refer a friend’ offers, and a satisfaction survey.”
Two: Offer Something in Return for Your Customers’ Loyalty
Compare this heartless gym to online supermarket Ocado, who reward their loyal customers on the anniversary of their joining the service. Once a year, all Ocado customers get a voucher for a free bottle of wine or box of chocolates to the value of £10. “£10 a year,” wrote our blogger. “That’s all it takes to make me feel like a valued customer.”
Indeed, supermarkets in general seem to be big on customer loyalty schemes. Take a look at some of the best, and think about how you might show your loyal customers the same sort of love.
CrowdTwist found that 79% of consumers are more likely to buy from a business that offers loyalty programs. So don’t neglect your existing customers! Show them you care, and that you appreciate their loyalty.
Three: Nail Your Customer Service
Customer service matters. 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. So if you treat your customers well, your consumers will feel valued.
You need to deliver exceptional customer service at every level, and on every channel. Wherever customers can contact you, you need to exceed their expectations. All businesses understand that their sales staff must be polite, courteous, engaging and helpful. And if you run customer service hotlines, you’ve probably already invested in extensive training for your call centre staff.
Four: Don’t Forget Social
There’s a new frontier for customer service, and we’re afraid that far too many companies either ignore it outright, or don’t give it the attention it deserves. We’re talking about social media. Your customers will try to reach out to you on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. And you need to be there to receive them.
Social media specialists Convince and Convert found that 42% of consumers expect to receive a response on social media within an hour. 32% are even less patient. They expect a response within 30 minutes. Delivering excellent customer service on social media really is a full-time job.
You may have to hire a dedicated social media team for your business. Or you could outsource the job to a social media agency. In any case, it’s worth investing if the end result will be improved customer loyalty.
Five: Add Value and Offer Something More
Or to put it another way – offer something more than products or services at a price.
Depending on who you are and what you do, there are many ways you can add value for your customers. Think about your company blog, for example. Don’t just use it to announce new product launches and to post dry press releases. Instead, commit to writing blogs that are genuinely fun and informative to read.
Take a look at Asda’s Life & Style blog for some ideas on how this might look. Yes, many of the blog posts are essentially just adverts for their products. But it’s the way they’re presented! It’s warm, it’s human, it’s helpful, and it’s engaging. They’re trying to give people a reason to return to their site – and by extension, to their stores.
If you run an actual physical retail store, there are many ways you can show your customers you care through offering that little something extra. Like a tray of doughnuts and some coffee to keep customers refreshed while they browse. Or special discounts for anyone wearing red. Use your imagination!
Six: Take the Time to Get to Know Your Customers
What makes your customers tick? What sort of things do they like? And what sort of things do they dislike?
The better you understand your customers, the better you can design your customer experience to truly meet their needs. The better your customer experience meets your customers’ needs, the more you’ll be able to delight your customers. And needless to say, delighted customers are loyal customers.
There’s also the small matter that customers like to feel like they’re being heard. Gather feedback and act on it, and it sends a strong signal to your customers – that you care what they think.
Seven: Act Upon Any Feedback You Receive
Do your research. Ask the right people the right questions. Gather feedback from as many touchpoints, interactions, and channels as you can. Share your insights across your organisation. The things you learn can help you to improve many areas of your business, from your marketing to your product design.
Take a look at how we used advanced customer research to help Aston Martin meet the specific needs of customers around the world. We helped Aston Martin build lasting customer relationships through providing a tailored, one-to-one service. They’re now a customer-centric company. If you want to improve customer loyalty, you should commit to becoming a customer-centric company too.