As most marketers have experienced at some point, it’s one thing to hook customers, another beast completely to retain them. Improving customer loyalty should be a priority, or those customers you worked so hard to convert could vanish before you even know what happened.
To avoid that, here are 3 ways to better your company’s customer loyalty.
#1. Share your values.
To build a strong relationship with your customers, you have to share their values. According to a study by the Corporate Executive Board of 7,000 U.S. consumers who said they had a brand relationship “64% cited shared values as the primary reason.” In fact, shared values are “far and away the largest driver.” If you want loyal customers, you need to tell them what your brand stands for.
#2. Provide excellent customer service.
Sounds obvious, right? But, it deserves mention again because excellent service is what creates lifelong customers, avoids negative word-of-mouth and differentiates you from the competition. But, how can you improve customer service?
For starters, listen to customers and address their concerns a timely manner. Make it easy for customers to get in touch with a representative. Clearly display an email address, phone number and social media account. You have to “wow” them by going above and beyond.
#3. Be transparent.
There will be days when things don’t go as planned. Instead of denying the problem, be honest with your customers about the bad news. When Buffer had a security breach in 2013, the company told their customers about the situation, provided updates and addressed concerns immediately.
The world has been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly every life and industry affected. Governments are working to keep their citizens safe while economies are struggling to stay stable. Small businesses around the world have been challenged financially, being forced to adapt to new forms of selling. As we navigate through the pandemic and prepare for its end, there’s several ways that businesses can strategize to make the most out of their situation.
Let’s go through three helpful tips that can guide your business to boosting sales during and after COVID-19.
#1. Re-evaluate Your Offering
It’s no secret that the onset of COVID-19 has changed how we live our lives every day. This is one thing that you cannot ignore when it comes to your customers. Some products you sell may be irrelevant to their needs, while others may be more important than ever. Ask yourself the following questions to determine what you should still be selling during and after the pandemic:
What products do you sell that may no longer be relevant?
What products can you sell that may be more relevant to customers?
Where can you move physical offerings to online venues?
How can you readjust your service to better cater to customers?
#2. Communicate with Customers
During and after the pandemic, it’s crucial that your business is constantly communicating with your audience. Businesses and customers are both experiencing many changes in their day-to-day life, whether it’s financial struggle or a simple change of routine.
According to research by 4 A’s, 43% of consumers find it reassuring to hear from brands that they know and trust during this time.
Utilize your messaging channels, including social media, to inform customers about what’s changing (and staying the same) with your business. This includes the following:
Will all products still be available?
Are you halting delivery to any countries or areas?
Will there be any delays on production?
What is the updated expected delivery time for products?
How are you keeping customers and staff safe?
What services are returning as the pandemic winds down?
#3. Start Planning Ahead
If you had no crisis plan in place before the pandemic, then your business may have been caught off guard and suffered as a result. There’s no better time than the present to start planning on how you’ll be approaching the rest of the pandemic and how you’ll be returning back to normal once it’s over.
Of course, the pandemic has been largely unpredictable, with lockdowns starting and ending quickly. It’s impossible to plan with specific dates, so give your plan room to change if the situation alters at all. While we all want to increase sales, we also don’t want to lose sales either – look at what your business is doing right now and locate any weak points.
Without effective, strategic customer onboarding, here’s what happens:
Spend thousands on user acquisition
Get new customers
Lose those customers
Ouch - what a waste! And yet, it’s true. It’s all too easy to treat building a great product and getting new customers as separate processes – especially since those goals are handled by different teams.
That’s where customer onboarding comes in. Customer onboarding is the bridge between acquiring new users and turning them into highly engaged customers.
In this blog post, we will walk you through three powerful customer onboarding best practices to acquire more customers.
#1. Map Customer Journeys
To help people understand why they need to use your product, you’ll need to help guide them through the journey. Give them a guided tour of what their customer journey will look like. This will also help you prioritize and organize your message.
To start, you’ll need to have a clear image of your product’s user. Create a concrete user persona by answering the following questions:
What are their needs?
What motivates them?
What are their goals and values?
Do some users need more education about your product than others?
Who will be the final decision maker to make the purchase?
Use these insights to build your customer avatar, which is a fictional character that represents your ideal prospect.
#2. Show Value Immediately
Before using a product, you’d want to know what’s in it for you, right? Onboarding is more than just showing users how to use your product. To be successful, you have to show them why they need to use it. And it’s important to show them the value immediately.
This means giving users a compelling value proposition: a simple, clear description of what makes your product unique.
Potential users shouldn’t have to guess or work hard to understand your product. They should be able to understand what it is and why they should use it in less than 5 seconds.
#3. Create Onboarding Flows and Connect Teams
If your product or service is meant to be used by teams, make sure to get as many people on board as early as possible.
Once you’ve shown the value to an individual user, give them an opportunity to show others. Create an onboarding flow that includes other teammates so your teams will stay connected. As part of your user onboarding strategies, give each user the necessary access and resources they need to understand the product or service.
Customers are kings, so it's important to do everything possible to retain them. Some people say it costs five times as much to earn a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Others say that retaining customers is seven times more valuable. And finally: “Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”
There are a lot of ways to increase your customer retention rate. From interacting on social media, email marketing, and setting realistic expectations, here are the best practices for increasing your customer retention.
#1. Set Realistic Expectations
Setting realistic expectations is so important if you’re trying to improve your customer retention rate – it can have a huge impact on your business’ ability to keep customers. Think about things like shipping times, for example. Most online stores can’t compete with Amazon when it comes to shipping times. But, what you can do instead is work hard to keep your customers informed.
You can have transparent shipping information on your website. You can send emails to customers telling them that their order was received; that their order was processed; and that their item has shipped. You can customize the updates you send to your customers with a few clicks in the Shopify backend:
#2. Create a Loyalty Program
A customer loyalty program is a great way to increase customer retention. These programs reward your customers by giving them incentives to come back and shop with you.
Once your customers opt into your loyalty program, make them feel special by hooking them up with offers: Give them a sneak peek at new products, and offer exclusive deals. This royal treatment will help your customers to feel valued, and is the crux of this customer retention strategy.
#3. Pay Attention to Questions
You know how you sometimes need an extra set of eyes to edit because it’s impossible to spot your own typos?
The same thing can happen with your business: You designed the customer journey, you built the product pages, you set the prices. In short, you understand everything about your store because you’re the one who invented it.
Which is exactly why we can’t always see what we did wrong. At least not as well as our customers can. Paying attention to questions about your business is a great way to keep your customers, and a simple customer retention technique.
A whole array of technologies are being shouted from the rooftops as the key to unlocking the potential of your company. Artificial intelligence, social media, big data and cloud computing… the list goes on and on. But you can’t forget those that hold these keys—your people! You need to hire the right people.
People are the most important aspect of your company, responsible for how you operate, how you present yourself to clients and customers, and ultimately how successful you are. When it comes to hiring the right people in your company, look for those with similar values and work ethics while diversifying the workplace in terms of gender, ethnicity, and skill sets.
You need to create a cohesive workplace but also identify what every employee can bring on an individual level. And it can be a tricky balancing act. In this post, we’ll explore some tips to help you hire the right team for your business.
#1. Know What You Are Looking For
What kind of team do you need? What will your company culture be like? How much will you be willing to pay? You must answer all these questions so that you know what to look for in interviews.
#2. Write a Good Job Description
The more specific your job description, the better. Applicants should know precisely what your company is looking for. Make sure to detail how many hours employees must work, the skills and experience they need to apply, and how much they will get paid.
#3. Reach Out
Establish a presence on LinkedIn, Monster, Craigslist, AngelList, and other websites. Know where your talent resides so you can go out and find them. You can also utilize your network and reach out to partners for referrals.
#4. Call Their References
Ask their references about the candidate's work style. Find out how much they have contributed to their past employers and ask if they believe the candidate would be right for your company. Prepare a refined list of interview questions beforehand so that you can weed out the good applicants from the bad ones.
#5. Consider Alternatives
Can an applicant's job be outsourced or replaced with a robot? Can you do it yourself? Perhaps you should hire them part-time instead of full-time. Or maybe one worker can wear multiple hats. Think carefully about all the options you have.
You may have a fantastic product, but if your customer service is unhelpful, unreliable, or just plain hard to get in touch with, folks will hear about it, and you’ll lose customers over it. That’s one big reason why investing in customer service is key to long-term business success.
So, how do you offer excellent customer service to your clients? Read on to find out
How To Provide Excellent Customer Service
#1. Know your product/service
46% of all consumers will abandon a brand if the employees are not knowledgeable. And this is almost a half! Just imagine: one day a half of your customers may abandon you in favor of your competitors. It doesn’t sound fun, right?
In order to prevent any negative consequences, spend some time organizing training or coaching for your employees. Make them learn everything about the product, and they will not fall flat on their face in front of the customer.
Another thing to do is create a knowledge base for the employees with the main concepts, ideas, and FAQ. Such a guide will not only help them learn all the necessary data but assist in responding to clients as well.
#2. Know your customers
Here, we can mention two elements to consider: the marketing aspect and providing excellent customer service.
As for marketing, it’s all clear. You have to know your clients well to target the right audience, conduct re-marketing campaigns, and improve customer retention. But why is it so important for customer experience?
The thing is, in most of the cases, clients have to deal with multiple customer support representatives. Unfortunately, not all of them know the customer’s history well and can provide instant help.
#3. Remain human
Our human nature is a great advantage, which you should never underestimate when it comes to customer service.
No matter how fast the technologies advance, human interaction will remain the most valuable feature of customer service. On average, 75% of customers would still prefer to communicate with a person rather than a chatbot.
#4. Solve problems fast
29% of consumers consider speed as a critical aspect of customer service interaction. They mention quick problem resolution first when they describe excellent customer service.
Moreover, a lot of clients are even ready to pay for faster service. For instance, 40% of respondents in most surveys claim that they would pay extra for same-day delivery.
Customers are not willing to wait long even for a CSR to answer their phone call. In this case, an example of excellent customer service would be answering the phone during the first 1-3 minutes.