According to a report released by Forbes, it is estimated that 79% of customers switch to other providers within a week of poor customer service. The report goes on to point out that the cost that customers incur when switching to other businesses is $ 1.6 trillion. Thus, there is no doubt that customer loyalty is the heartbeat of every business. Companies and products which have existed and stood the test of time didn’t do so because they have the most advanced product, or because they are immune to competition, but because they have mastered the art of attracting and retaining customers. Further, it is estimated that it costs 500% more to acquire new customers than to retain old ones.
Hence, how can you achieve this customer loyalty?
Make customer loyalty core of your marketing strategy
A good marketing strategy starts and ends with customers. There are three core marketing strategies that a company can adopt to increase customer loyalty. These strategies are:
- Limited- Time promotions
This refers to short- term promotional campaigns meant to capture customer’s attention. Promotion can take the form of price cut offs, amazing discounts or free items. Limited-time promotions work in the short term, but as a strategy to gain customer loyalty; it is the first and most effective stage. The trick here is to get many customers to test your product or step into your store.
- Reward for purchase
Once you have attracted customers to the store, give them a reason to buy your products. The aim here is to get customers to keep coming back to the store, thus it is not a short-term strategy like promotions.
- Points-based Reward program
This is the last step in this three step strategy. Here, customers should be enrolled in a loyalty program where they earn points for every purchase made. These points can be redeemed at a future date for money, free shopping or even holiday trips. Thus, you give customers a reason to come to your store every time since they are motivated to earn loyalty points.
Check with customers about their experiences and use their stories
According to entrepreneur.com, customer satisfaction is the main marketing strategy for attracting and retaining clients. One satisfied customer will recommend two potential customers to the company while a dissatisfied customer will tell six other potential customers about their bad experience with the company. Thus, a disgruntled customer can do a lot of damage to a reputation that took years to build.
Customer experiences tell you the level of your customer’s satisfaction and how you respond to the customer’s experiences tells those customers how much you value them. For instance, when you receive a complaint from a customer, how do you handle it? Do you apologize for the inconvenience? Do you try to make-up for the bad experience? Or do you blame the customer for the problem?
If you make it your objective to ensure that you meet and surpass customers expectations every time, then you can be sure to get repeat business from these customers as well as a recommendation. Use their experiences to try and improve service provision. For instance, when a customer complains about the long queue, put measures in place to increase the rate of service delivery. On the other hand, if a customer applauds something, build on it and make it even better. This way, your customers will feel valued and appreciated and you can be sure to gain customer loyalty.
Use the four stages of the Customer Loyalty loop
The modern day customer is more informed, has more choices and demands excellence. This is the foundation of Customer loyalty loop according to Mckinsey. The customer starts with many options and narrows down the options before making a purchase.
Let’s start by understanding the customer loyalty loop
Basically, this indicates the stages that customers go through when making a purchase decision. It starts by consideration stage whereby customers consider all the existing brands basing on information available to them. The next stage is the review stage during which customers add or subtract brands basing on new information acquired. The purchase stage is the point where customers make a decision to buy a product, and the last stage is the post-purchase stage where the customer evaluates the product to determine whether or not it meets their expectations.
What is the implication of this to customer loyalty?
Firstly, there is need to avail information about a product throughout the decision- making stages. Customers evaluate products basing on available information, thus putting out accurate, relevant and updated information about your brand increases the chance of making it to the next stage. Secondly, aggressive marketing is necessary to convince customers that your brand is the solution to their need/problem. The marketing campaign should emphasize on portraying the brand as the only solution to customer’s needs. Lastly and this is the most important in gaining customer loyalty, ensure that the brand or product meets and surpasses customers expectations. If you meet their expectations, you can be sure to earn their loyalty. In case the product falls short of expectations, there is a need to reassure the customers that they made the right choice. The last thing you need is customers feeling disappointed about your product during post purchase stage, as it will be impossible to convince such a customer in future.
Thus, whether you are growing or scaling for heights, customer loyalty is the make or break ingredient in your business. If you follow these simple strategies, you can be sure to gain some customer loyalty.