Getting new customers is a good thing, however you only win big if you can turn them into loyal customers, and loyalty is only possible when your customers have a satisfying emotional experience after doing business with you.
“Building loyalty is about more than satisfied customers,” says Sylvia Schutte, managing director of Stratitude. “To create loyal customers you have to engage and delight them at every touchpoint during their experience with you. It’s no use having a website with all the bells and whistles but your contact centre prompts get customers’ tempers flared up.”
According to Schutte these are the five ways you can build customer loyalty
1. Enrol customers in a relevant loyalty programme with benefits that they value
Research shows that customers value programmes where they save money, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to only providing benefits with a financial saving or the ability to earn points on purchases. Benefit programmes such as Cell C’s GetMore do exceptionally well because members are not limited to airtime savings, they save on a wide range of items such as movie tickets, meals and coffee. In addition, they have access to services like travel bookings, recruiters and legal advice.
“You can drive sign-ups by integrating your loyalty programme with in-store marketing, your inbound and outbound contact centres, direct marketing such as email, social media platforms and your website. This 360° engagement appeals to your customers,” says Schutte.
2. Keep customers updated with email marketing
While many people complain about the quantity of email correspondence that they get, this channel is still incredibly effective. Not only will it help your brand stay in touch and top of mind, but it also keeps you relevant. A well-timed surprise email or a themed, occasion newsletter still does extremely well – as long as your content is fresh and relevant.
3. Be where your customers are
People want to do business with you through channels that they find convenient, rather than the ones you dictate to them. This is why an omni-channel customer experience is so important.
“If you have an online shop and a retail store, consider a “click and collect” option for customers to collect in store, instead of paying delivery charges,” says Schutte.
4. Use social media to engage with your customers
This is a no brainer, yet it’s surprising how few brands use their social media platforms to communicate and connect with their customers. It can be an effective channel to deal with customer complaints and you can pick up trends by looking at customer likes, shares and comments.
5. Celebrate a special occasion
Think a birthday message is cheesy? Not true. According to a study, 75% of customers thought more highly of a specific company (that they did business with) after receiving a happy birthday message. Ask your customers for important dates when they sign up for your loyalty programme and reward them with a bonus when it’s their birthday, even if it’s simply the offer of a free delivery.
“It’s worth the effort and investment to nurture consumers and turn them into loyal customers, because if you increase customer retention by just 5%, you can improve your profits by more than 25%. But, as customer touchpoints increase, loyalty is harder to attain. The key is to identify these touchpoints, include them in the customer journey and then see the positive effect on your conversions,” says Schutte.