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Loyal customers are invaluable. They represent future sales and brand advocacy and are worth investing the time and effort to nurture. A new customer can cost anywhere between 5 and 25 times as much as an existing one, but many companies instead focus their efforts on customer acquisition, losing the money already invested. So, here’s five ways you can boost your customer loyalty in the coming years and turn customers into advocates.
- Exceed their expectations
The customer has certain expectations when they come to your business. Make sure they’re met, and then go one better! Take Five Guys, for example. They offer free peanuts while-you-wait, a simple but highly customisable menu and a free extra portion of chips in the bag. These simple extras are an easy way to exceed the customers’ expectations and leave them with a more positive memory of their experience, driving future loyalty and engagement.
This isn’t just limited to restaurants though; every industry can get involved:
- Hotels – offer your guests a personalised welcome pack with a customised suggested itinerary and remember guest preferences, such as dietary requirements or room service requests, for repeat visits.
- Banks – offer personalised spending insights and budgeting advice to customers, recommend saving opportunities and promotions based on purchase history to save the customer money.
- Shops – offer a personalised welcome using apps, a free gift wrapping service, complementary food and drink whilst browsing and music requests in store to create an immersive experience beyond the purchase.
Have a look at these slides to get a better idea about what customers actually expect… It may surprise you!
- Personalise the customer experience
Customers want to feel special. Many companies collect customer data but then don’t use it to enhance the customer experience and drive loyalty, when the technology is out there to do it for you.
Segmentation is key to this. All good CRM systems have the ability to assign characteristics to customers, which allows you to develop deep customer insights and create highly personalised content. There are lots of ways to personalise content, and lots of companies offering this including:
- Optimzely and Visual Web Optimiser – Website optimisation platforms, which allow you to target different customer segments with different versions of the website, as well as to test different versions of web pages, to optimise sales or lead generation.
- MailChimp – Allows you to send highly personalised e-mails to customer segments, increasing the click through rate and conversion rate of e-mails. Personalised e-mails deliver 6 times higher transaction rates than generic ones. Following segmentation and personalisation, clothing retailer Johnny Cupcakes reported a 42% increase in click through, a 123% increase in conversion and a massive 141% increase in revenue per e-mail campaign. Have a look at this infographic for more tips on how to boost your e-mail campaign performance and improving loyalty.
- Triggered e-mails – E-mails sent to customers following a specific action are incredibly effective with a 152% higher click through rate than traditional campaigns. Triggers can include abandoned carts, a price drop for a saved item or cross selling after a purchase.
- Hubspot – Having a connected CRM is vital to generating key insights, but it’s no use having a mail hub that doesn’t connect to your marketing or customer support systems. Hubspot provides a free CRM and low cost (and free) bolt on packages that allow you to maximise customer growth as well as integrating with existing platforms such as MailChimp.
- Embrace Artificial Intelligence
Operating online means consumers will be accessing your site at any time, day or night, but still expect the same level of customer service irrespective of this. Chat bots such as Twyla integrate into your existing systems, including CRM and web support apps and learn from agents in order to provide a highly personalised service. Having access to assistance when they want it will drastically increase your customers’ experience, driving loyalty and increasing sales. Live chat is shown to have the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channels, beating both e-mail and phone. You can hear more about Twyla in action here.
In the US, Amtrak generated an 800% ROI and saved $1M in their first year after implementing chatbots across their website, as well as generating 30% more revenue. In total the chatbots answered over five million queries.
- Partner up to benefit the customer
The right partnership can have a huge impact on purchasing and repeat custom for your business. Take a deep dive into what your customers want and look at how you can partner with other companies to achieve this.
Amazon Logistics have partnered with a number of click and collect services, such as Pass My Parcel, allowing customers to collect their parcels from a local convenience store rather than having to be at home for delivery. Although there is a cost to providing this service, click and collect is experiencing astronomical growth and this will continue to rise in 2018.
It’s not just partnerships in sales that matter. Vitality Health Insurance partnered with Virgin Active to offer reduced gym membership to its policy holders. Offering member only privileges like this is a proven method to boost customer loyalty, as customers respond better to instant gratification than to points based rewards. Policy holders can also get a reduction in their insurance premiums for using the gyms.
- Surprise and delight the customer
Small gestures go a long way to retaining customers. Customers want to feel appreciated, but a recent study found 2/3 of customers thought that brands don’t recognise the benefits of surprise and delight offers. A recent survey revealed 95% of customers felt that surprise and delight left them with an increased positive view of the brand, over half shared the positive experience with friends and family, and more than 1 in 3 revealed that the experience resulted in them giving the company more business.
Studies have shown that the best way to surprise and delight include:
- Gifts for long-time customers
- Birthday discounts
- Recognising high spending customers
- Targeted gifts over holidays based on purchases