Since the 70’s, customer satisfaction is the core of all marketing strategies. Related to the quality or the value of the product, it has long been considered as an automatic factor of customer’s loyalty, with the idea that a happy customer is a captive customer. This is obviously not accurate anymore in a current context of global market and changes related to digital revolution.
Curiously, nowadays a satisfied customer is not necessarily a loyal one, and that a loyal client is not always satisfied. However, we will introduce you with all the strategies to implement in order to create an idyllic relationship with your clients. Because having the customers that already trusted you coming back to you for their next purchase is what will make you activity not only stronger, but even bigger.
A unique customer experience: trigger emotion
“People do not buy for logical reasons, but emotional ones”, Zig Zigla (1926 – 2012), american speaker and motivation specialist
In other words, if you want to win new clients – and keep them for life – simply showing them your brand is way no enough. You must make it so desirable that they will fall in love with it. And then you must do your best to keep and sustain that flame.
70% of the consumers prefer to hear about a company from articles (news paper, blog, etc.) rather than from advertising contents. And 60% are sensible to being able to read opinions from other clients on the website. BtoB companies which have a blog generate an average of 67% additional leads compare to those that have none.
Quit old sales strategies, be creative : learn how to reach and talk to the core of your clients, not only to their brain or their wallet. Indeed 55% of consumers admit to be ready to pay more for having a better purchasing experience.
Ask their name to clients and do not hesitate to use it
Small companies owners who collect datas from their clients know that people are more and more comfortable with providing their personal information and talking about their purchasing habits to other organizations. A survey shows that the clients who trust a brand are ready to provide personal information if this can lead to a better customer experience. As long as they do business with you, they will expect that you take their tastes into consideration by advising useful articles and services, and by proposing them targeted and specific offers.
Remember to bring your personal touch to keep on surprising the one that trusted you
All organizations can add a personal touch to their communication with their clients. An e-commerce website can add a special a positive touch such as a hand written thank-you message in the package. The anniversary of a traditional shop is an excellent opportunity to send a hand signed card to invite local customers to visit the shop. When they are part of bigger strategy, these additional signs of care can be a long term investment. This way the client who will feel concerned by the hand written thank-you card received after an order or a service he receive could talk about it around on social medias, and thus increase the visibility of the brand. The dream of every marketing specialist, isn’t it?
The service you provide? Of outstanding quality!
“Treat your clients as if you belong to them. Because you do belong to them”, Mark Cuban, businessman, investor, author
The service you provide must simply be of outstanding quality. 73% of the consumers report to love a brand for the quality of its customer service. In contrast, 89% of them have already changed supplier after a bad service related experience.
Did you know that according to a survey, a good service can trigger emotions similar to one we feel when we are being loved? Like lovers who talk about their crush to their friends, clients are eager to tell the people around how great your company is when you provide that outstanding customer service.
Service quality depend on how quick and relevant the answers provided to the clients are. To reach this:
- The customer service, or the after-sale service, and the sales representatives must have access to the same information for each request to be quickly resolved. Your client needs a spare part? The after-sales service must have instant access to his last purchase in order to provide the right reference number. The customer service must have access to the data of the sales representatives to know the exact context when being in touch with the client.
- Various channel must be available in a fluid omnichannel relationship (web, e-mails, social networks, phone and shop).
- A “self service” is always appreciated by clients (access to instruction manual, tutorials, etc.), but must be complemented with phone or web chat if the client needs it.
The key for success: each of your clients must feel that they receive a privileged care.
Losing now to win back later on
Encourage your employees to solve problems. An unsatisfied customer experiences an emotional reaction, so your staff must be able to help them in one go, either by accepting a return a few days after the deadline or by withdrawing from an invoice some expenses that could be questionable. In the long term, these losses will pay off in terms of customer loyalty and recommendations.
See clients’ problems as opportunities to gain loyalty and make them ambassadors of your brand, provided they feel that you have listened to them and made sincere efforts to help them.
Loyalty program: nurturing the desire
A loyalty program helps to tip the buying decision in your favor AND is a very good way to collect customer data in order to further customize the interactions and strengthen the relationship. If it offers tantalizing rewards, it is also a way to consolidate the emotional bond.
You had your crush, you know each other well and comes the time of habits. How to renew the passion of the beginning, how to chase habits? Rush the daily routine, offer promotional offers and reward loyalty. It is more expensive for most businesses to win a new customer rather than to retain the existing ones.
With the data that the company now collects around the consumer, it becomes possible to offer attractive and personalized offers around the habits of each customer. We know its route, its favorite products, its periods of purchase and it sometimes even provides its geolocation via a mobile application. Make sure that this data is collected in a meaningful way and always with a view to satisfying your customer.
Make sure the program you implement is really efficient
A recent survey on consumer motivation reveals that consumers are more likely to finish something that has already begun. Customers in a car wash received two slightly different loyalty cards. In both cases, people had to dab eight squares to get a free wash, but one card had eight squares, while the other had ten squares. All those who had been given a ten-square card were immediately given two free stamps. These customers were almost twice as likely to fill their loyalty card, compared to those who received a card with eight empty square. Electronic loyalty programs also use this tip to increase customer engagement by offering them points as soon as they join.
Never forget that loyalty is emotion related
Everything is a matter of perception and depends on your ability to make your customers really feel important. Whether it is a plumber who takes care to put on overshoes over his boots before entering a house or a clothing store that sends a mini catalog making sure that each item is offered in the size of the recipient, customers want to feel that you know them and that you care about them. In return, they will do the same and, as ambassadors of your brand, they will not fail to talk about their excellent experience to their loved ones, in person and on social networks.
Know how to surprise, to create waiting and pleasure. 3 out of 4 customers say they prefer a brand because it gives them positive experiences. And retaining a customer is worth 10 times more than just buying one of your products.
Involve your customers in the making and improvement of your products
“Your most unhappy customer are the best source of improvement you have.” Bill Gates
For 1 unhappy customer who speaks, there are 26 other malcontents who have remained silent, but who will never come back, and you will not even know…
The client wants to be able to interact with the company, with other clients… So do not hesitate to create a client community, a “client club” with organized meetings, a forum where they can express themselves, a blog where they can comment on articles…
These tools will allow you to:
- Encourage exchanges between customers or between customers and prospects: a satisfied customer is the best prescriber!
- Foster a sense of belonging to the “client community”, enhancing the brand’s strong image.
- To create an emotional connection with the brand: the customer recognizes himself or herself in the values of the brand.
Some brands of consumer electronics, or clothing and accessories in particular, rely heavily on these last two points!
Do not hesitate to involve your customers in the design and improvement of your products. They are the ones who use what you market and they will be even more loyal if you ask their opinions and check them regularly to find out what could improve with their daily lives.
Social media: mass communication weapons
Your presence on social networks should allow you to reach and gather your customers, generate leads but also hear their voices and respond to their queries. Your Community Manager will thus be the handover of their expectations and the echo of their voices internally. Never forget that getting negative feedback on your page is not necessarily a bad thing. You will have the opportunity to turn a bad experience and a dissatisfied customer into an ambassador of the brand.
Moreover, if we have seen above that the content of the brand is important, social networks will allow you to highlight the content generated by the community. Testimonials, product tests, blog articles, visual creation, etc. We all like to connect with a community, to be part of a group, the need for belonging guides us to one another around values that resemble us. Valorize your community, it will retain it and will make others want to join you.
To get content created by your community, start by asking for it. A simple publication requesting customer testimonials can bring up interesting things. You can also offer visual design contests around the brand. There is a lot to be done, but do not wait for the community to do it, be proactive, invite them to build your story with you.
Up-selling and cross-selling : consolidating your sales by serving your clients even better
Spend time on additional sales: offer the customer who has just made a purchase, and thus confirm their interest in your product, a more complete, more advanced, more recent version. This “improvement” proposed to buyers increases the average value of the customers, while satisfying the customer valued by the proposal.
It may be supplemented by additional sales. For instance, a customer just bought a touchpad online. Before paying for his purchase, he is offered a suitable case, with integrated keyboard, at preferential price. These practices are common in traditional shops: a seller presents you a more sophisticated device than the one you have selected, offers you a price on the cover to protect the pad that you have chosen …
Offering another product to a customer who just made a purchase is not just a way to increase your sales. It is also the assurance that your customer is completely satisfied and that his needs are completely fulfilled. By offering him what he has not yet thought of, but of which you, the specialist, know that he may need later, is saving him time, and therefore money. Il will also reduce the the risk of buying something that will not suit him somewhere else. And with a customer going home with the feeling of having killed two birds with one stone, your customer-loyalty rate can only be increased.