6 strategies to secure long-term customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is the cornerstone of successful marketing. According to statistics, customer acquisition costs about seven times more than customer retention.So to save yourself and your company from a colossal expense, you should focus on securing long-term loyalty from your existing customers for greater gains in the future.
It is one thing to attract customers to your service, but retaining them is another ball game altogether. You have to show the right amount of availability and flexibility, while making sure to keep them interested in your product or service, by offering them a variety of exciting incentives.
Image : shutterstock
While the saying ‘Deliver what you promise’ goes a long way to securing this purpose, here are six other strategies you can implement to win customer loyalty for life.
Deliver beyond expectations
In an article by the Huffington Post, the concept of ‘under-promising and over-delivering’ is examined which, in nine out of ten cases, will end up working towards the company’s advantage. Consider this simple scenario.If you tell your customer to expect a call-back from you within the next 24 hours and you get back to them within six hours instead, it will reflect positively on your company. Delivering beyond expectations will always work in your favour because the customer would rate you higher than others in your field who offer standard service features. Subsequently, they will return to you for more businesses, and so it goes on.
Feedback and review
According to a study by Lee Resources International, on an average for every customer who complains about an issue, there are 26 who don’t say anything; they simply leave. To avoid this very situation, you need to promote a sense of transparency in your relationship with your customers, and most importantly, encourage them to give you both feedback and a concurrent review. And instead of side-lining this to just paper, you should actually take away from the feedback and figure out where you can do better for your customers. Reviews are the support-base for any service to gain an edge in the market.Hence, it is important that you use the feedback you receive to improve on your services.Doing so will help you secure a good review from your existing customers, which in turn will gain you more customers in the future.
You have to keep one thing in mind: ethics aside, the customer is not obliged to be loyal to your company. Not only can they tie themselves with as many companies and services they see fit, it is natural they will end up sticking with the ones they trust most. To this end, it is necessary to make sure that you can offer your customer enough of an incentive to stick by your company for the long-run. This could range from something like offering them a discount on their next purchase to sending them free products, to even upgrading their premium services at a lower cost. You have to give your customers a reason to remain loyal to you over the others, and the best way to do that is by, as the saying goes,‘spoiling them a tad bit’.
Everyone prefers sending out automated messages. It’s so much easier to type out a single generic mail and then send it across to your whole list of customer-contacts. However, in most cases automated or non-personalised messages fail to interest customers, receiving a minor glance at the most. Research proves that personalised emails deliver six times higher transaction rates than their automated or non-personalised counterparts. Hence, to retain your customers, get personal. Address them by their name or even send them a discounted offer on their registered birthdays. This will secure your customer’s loyalty because it helps create an emotional bond.
Flexibility and damage control
Any business will know that dealing with customers isn’t the simplest feat. This is because the customers are not entitled to the company in any way, deadlines or otherwise. To this end, it is necessary to be flexible with them – to make them realise that they can form a mutually beneficial and comfortable relationship with your company. For instance, if they want to change the date of the delivery, cancel a transaction at the last minute, or wish for a refund, then as a company, you need to cater to their wishes. Of course, this has to be kept within bounds of reason. At the same time, you need to be humble enough to realise when you have messed up in an interaction with your customer, and must make sure that you turn the wrong into a right. This practice of instant damage control will increase your customer’s faith in your reliability and make them stick on with you for the long-run.
Availability for both old and new customers
This is one of the most important pointers in winning customer-loyalty and retaining them. You need to ensure that you treat all your customers equally. You have to be as forthcoming, available, and accommodating to your old customer as you are to your new. Doing so will let them know you wish to secure their loyalty for the future and will help win it over, as well.
For any business, it is important to secure customer loyalty for the long haul, because after all, what is a business without its customers?