Customer retention is one of the hallmarks of a successful business. When you have repeat customers and genuine loyalty, you know that what you have to offer is just what your customer base is looking for. And, when this happens, you don’t need to worry so much about figuring out ways to appeal to more people or different groups. You know where you’re pitching.
Designing a customer loyalty program is one of the most effective strategies to boost your business growth. It is organic and doesn’t require the same amount of resources or time as trying to locate and identify new customers. However, this doesn’t mean that you can be complacent about your customers at all. You still need to think carefully about how you can keep their custom and continue to raise the bar.
So what does it take to ensure customer retention?
Make it Easy to be Loyal
People like doing the easy thing. We prefer supermarkets because they offer everything we need under one roof, we prefer products that free-up our time and once we’ve found something we like, we tend not to keep searching. This is ultimately what customer loyalty is about – you need to make it as easy as possible for your customers to stick with you.
One way you can make it easier is to offer a subscription service with easy and accurate billing. Billsby is a great option for this and the software can even give you a greater understanding of your customers with a value score. For your customers, a subscription means that they don’t have to think about using your company, they can make their choice once and then roll with it.
Another good way to make it easier to be loyal is to offer your customers incentives to continue shopping with your business. Supermarket loyalty cards are some of the best-known programs and many offer their customers discounts and exclusive deals, often based on the customer’s shopping habits. This is why loyalty programs like these are so important – not only can you encourage your customers to spend more by offering small discounts, but you can also learn a lot about them.
The easier you can make it to be loyal, the more likely your customers are to stick by your business. Just make sure that you understand what your customers are looking for and continue to meet their needs better than your competitors!
Stay in Touch
Staying in touch with your customers is all about communication. If you can’t talk to your customers, you won’t be able to tell them about the latest deals you have for them or find out what they could be looking for. There are so many ways to stay in touch now that if you don’t have a social media account, you are already way behind the times! Don’t even bother to continue reading this article just yet – open a new tab right now and set those things up!
So, now you have a social media account, you need to know how to use it. Social media is brilliant for showing off your brand identity and engaging your customers on a more personal level. You don’t need to be constantly advertising or showing off; you can ask questions, comment on industry developments or simply post things you find interesting or amusing.
Another crucial form of communication is the humble email campaign. Again, if you don’t have one already, you must start thinking about this as soon as possible. You can even use your social media presence to build up your list of email addresses. The key thing to remember is that your emails must be relevant to your audience and provide some value. This might mean sending a newsletter including links to your blog but it could be more tailored and include particular deal codes they can use with your business to get discounts or other incentives.
Staying in touch with your customers should also allow them to influence how you grow and develop your business. In other words, you need to be able to have a conversation, not just a one-way lecture.
Use a Customer Feedback Loop
And that’s where the customer feedback loop comes in. If you want to know what your customers think of your services and business, the best way to find out is to ask them. Yes, it’s really that simple!
Surveys are one of the best ways to ask a lot of customers about a specific aspect of your business and to find out what the majority think. However, you must ask the right questions to get the information you really need. Remember that even though you might really want positive responses to all the questions you ask, the reality is that you know that there are things you need to improve and you need to be neutral to find out what those things are.
Another way to gain customer feedback is to run a focus group. This is a brilliant way to gauge interest in new products or ideas you would like to experiment with soon. Customer focus groups also provide forums for people to give their opinions in a more open way. Though you should certainly keep the conversation from deviating too far from your requirements, allowing your customers to express themselves openly could be hugely beneficial. Asking a market research company to run these groups on your behalf will also remove any possibility of unconscious bias.
Customers want to stay loyal because it is easier than constant shopping around. However, you still have to make an effort to keep their custom and ensure that you don’t take them for granted. Shopping around might be frustrating but it doesn’t mean that your customers can’t be tempted away. Keeping an eye on the competition is one way to avoid losing customers but you should also be thinking about what unique services or products you could offer.
If you really want to keep your customers, the best thing you can do is keep them at the very centre of your business plan.