Assortment in product range and buying options has increased the investment companies make in order to gain customers and win their loyalty. Businesses are now gaining competitive edge on the basis of multiple factors, such as marketing, innovation and customer focused advertising. This has led to companies facing tough challenges in the market and constantly having to innovate and excel at pleasing customers and retaining them.
Before we build on what strategies we can implement to enhance customer experience and gain loyal customers through emotionally intelligent and effective strategies, let’s have a close look at some of the reasons why it is so important to have loyal customers.
Having loyal customers means repeat sales. Customers who are satisfied with the offers of a particular company, almost always buy from them, because of their positive experiences in the past. Existing customers offer more profitto companies in comparison to new customers who are simply exploring the brand and may not go on to become repeat customers.
Word of Mouth
Loyal customers who trust the business for its offerings often spread positive word of mouth and recommend your company to their friends and family. Happy customers talk about their experiences to other people, which helps in positive and more direct marketing of your company.
Not only do customers share their experiences on a personal level, but also often take to social media to express their opinions and thoughts about their experience with a company and how they feel about it. The modern consumer almost always takes to social media and online reviews before deciding which product to buy and which company has the best offer.
These online reviews play an important role in the customers’ final decision, since positive feedback from loyal customers can have a great impact on the buying decision of other shoppers as well. The same can apply for customers who are dissatisfied with your product as they might be as keen to express their negative feedback and share it with other people as well. Therefore, it is important to focus on the satisfaction of existing customers and build on customer experience offered by the company.
Let’s look in detail at some of the factors that can contribute to increasing customer loyalty and bring in more customers to continue doing business with your company.
Differentiate on Customer Experience
The first and foremost step in converting a customer to loyalty is through the experience offered to them when they interact with the company. Each and every touchpoint contributes to the total experience of the customer and how he or she views the company. In order to offer quality customer experience, make sure there is a smooth channel of communication between the customer and the company. Make sure all the needs of the customer are being addressed and the service is value oriented.
Design your customer experience to build loyalty and make your customers feel special when they are engaging with your staff. Management should look to hire staff which is capable of managing the service front as well as empowered to skillfully deal with complaints and offer support when needed.
Standing out amidst the competition can help companies increase their Wallet share. Wallet share also known as share of wallet ( SOW) is the metric to measure if your loyal customers are buying products of the same category from you only or also from your competitors. So if a loyal customer is buying hair shampoo from your company and is very happy with it, but is also purchasing shampoo from one of your competitors, then you have 50 percent of their “wallet share”. By differentiating on experience and giving yourself service based advantage, companies’ can help increase their wallet share and gain more revenue.
Loyalty Programs and Gift Cards
Loyalty programs are designed to thank customers for doing business with the company and a form of showing appreciation to the customer. Loyalty programs offer encouragement to the customer to continue doing business with the company and reap the rewards offered. Loyalty programs can range over different kinds, such as loyalty card, reward card, point card and membership card etc.
A rewards or loyalty card gives loyal customers an edge over regular customers, in terms of offers and discounts etc. Some loyalty cards give customers shopping points, discounts and or coupons which they can redeem in the future and benefit from. Loyalty programs are also a differentiator between a regular customer and a loyal customer, as they are given special offers and deals which regular customers do not benefit from. Loyalty programs are also exclusive in nature, making the customer feel special because of the premium service they have, which is not offered to everyone.
Customers always appreciate efforts made by the company in trying to please them and offer better buying options than the competitors. Offering discount cards or coupons is always an effective strategy, as it builds value for the customer, and also encourages them to continue shopping with you, to utilize the discount card for purchase in the future. This also motivates the customer to go back to the shop, online or physical, and avail the discount. This results in more sales and thankful customers, who have saved some money on a product they were interested in buying.
Gift cards are another form of giving your customers a little something extra to enhance customer value and thank your customers for choosing you. While discount cards offer a percentage or certain amount discounted on the total amount of purchase, gift cards are a gift from the company, which come with an amount the customer can use for free to make a purchase of their choice.
Social media plays a large role in customer loyalty, by retaining customers through online engagement and listening. It is important that the customer feels his or her voice is being heard and that the company is interested in listening to their opinions and feedback. Customers reach out to companies through their social media platforms and ask questions or get help.
Use social media for collecting data on how customers perceive your product or service as well as for improving standards. Not only do social engagements give insights into customer behavior but also helps the company identify customers who are brand advocates. Further developing relationships with brand advocates gives the company an advantage of building lasting relationships as well as using the opportunity to attract new customers.
Times have changed from when customers would wait for a weekday and some fixed hours to connect with a company and speak to a customer service representative. Customers can now pick up the phone to call the company around the clock, log in to their social media accounts or even have a chat with them on their websites. Not being able to reach out for help at any given hour can irritate the customer who is not used to being kept on hold any longer.
Make sure your company is offering around the clock service and is present to provide quick and effective solutions to the customer. Having an experienced team that can actively handle difficult situations and provide viable solutions is a must. Any compromise made on delivering support can lead to a dissatisfied customer, who can easily switch to the multiple options they have.
In a situation where the company knows in advance that the service will be down or that a customer will be facing a negative experience, then the company should reach out instantly and let the customer know. Proactively reaching out to the customer to help them out, builds trust between the customer and the company and also lowers levels of frustration.
Using feedback data provided from customers can be a useful tool to improve service, understand loopholes and enhance customer experiences. Have your loyal customers participate in surveys and questionnaires to gather information on how they feel about different parts of your service and then focus on fixing those problems.
Feedback should not be collected from loyal customers only but also new customers, so you can get their input and work on strengthening terms with them in the future. Getting back to a customer and informing them about taking their input into account is a strategy that builds trust as well as creates a dependable relationship. The customer acknowledges that their voice is being heard and the customer service team is working on providing enriched service.