Customer loyalty is important – everyone know this. What we are noticing, however, is that many small business owners are undervaluing its true prominence in determining future success. First time customers are great and getting people in the door for the first time is half the battle – but how do you get these customers to return time and time again? They key is a comprehensive customer retention strategy. We get it, it’s easier said than done and that’s why the Trezoro team has come up with a simple 5-step plan to get your business on the route to customer loyalty.
- Internal Audit: Start by taking a look at your own business and be sure that everything is running smoothly internally. What’s our work environment like? Are staff members enthusiastic about their work? Are our day-to-day processes well thought out and efficient? These questions are just a sample of many that business owners should be considering. You can’t expect customers to be confident in your business until you yourself are confident. In other words, its important to make sure the behind the scenes portion is perfected so you can put your best foot forward when interacting with customers.
- Implement a loyalty scheme: Rewarding return patrons will give customers a tangible reason to come back to your store. Attaining new customers is a lot more expensive than retaining your current ones. It will also lead to increased customer profitability and lower account maintenance cost. You can achieve this by compensating existing customers with deals, discounts and freebees to incentivize return business.
- Involve your staff: A company’s staff has the potential to be its greatest asset, so it’s important for business owners to keep their employees in the loop. Its likely that they are the primary form of communication with customers, so making them aware of the objectives and benefit of the loyalty scheme will help them pass this information on. Plus, an informed staff member is likely to deliver better customer service, another crucial component of customer loyalty.
- Use your data: For businesses, the best part of loyalty schemes is the customer data that is provided as a result of its usage. This data can gives companies insights on their customers and helps analyze buying behaviors and consumer preferences. In this respect, businesses have the ability to target their promotional efforts effectively. Rather than using mass marketing, consider sending only relevant offers to customers. This will foster stronger business to consumer relationships and make your customers feel valued and understood.
- Meet Expectations: Even with a perfect loyalty scheme, if the product or service you are selling doesn’t live up to its expectations it is likely that customers won’t return. With that being said, businesses should avoid making promises they cant keep. Focus on delivering consistent quality to customers to foster a trusting relationship and keep them coming back for more.
Dominos was named America’s favorite pizza brand, according to statistics from the 2015 Brand Keys customer engagement index . When asked what they attributed this recognition to they responded with “by listening to our customers”. Customer feedback has driven Dominos to revamp their almost 50-year-old recipe, expand their menu and implement technological innovations like their mobile loyalty app and the beloved online pizza tracker – don’t lie, we’ve all found joy in watching the cartoon pizza chef prepare a faux order for us while we waited for the real deal.
Anyways, Dominos is a perfect example of a company that successfully utilised customer feedback to create brand loyalty. The Trezoro team excels in mobile loyalty apps so the Dominos case got us thinking. The following are tips that can help businesses improve their customer feedback systems and follow in the footsteps of the much-loved pizza giant.
- Acknowledge Feedback: First of all, if a customer takes the time to provide your business with feedback, good or bad, it’s important you get back to them. Take this recent statistic from a UK customer engagement survey for example: 43% of consumers surveyed said that they don’t complain/leave feedback because they don’t think the business cares. However, 81% of these consumers said they would be willing to give feedback if they knew they would get a faster response. By acknowledging customer feedback in a timely manner businesses can generate more of it, as customers will see the value in taking the time to submit.
- Put Feedback to Use: We get it; sometimes the feedback we receive from customers isn’t what we’d like to hear. However, its important to remember that happy customers are profitable customers and profitable customers keep businesses afloat. Whiny patrons seem like a pain at the time, but they’re actually doing your business a favor. They’re probably saying what a lot of others are thinking, so it’s important to treat feedback seriously and take action when appropriate.
- Identify Best Customers: Customer feedback allows businesses to classify their best customers and to turn them into company advocates. Word of mouth is a hidden promotional gem, as it is both credible and free of cost to a business. Customer advocates with no financial stake in a business serve as a more trusted source of promotion than efforts coming directly from the company. Businesses should therefore identify these ‘best customers’ and continue to keep them happy.
- Social Media Listening: Asking for customer feedback directly can often result in sugarcoated responses. Monitoring what people say about your business on social media, however, gives companies the opportunity to see what customers are – for lack of a better phrase – saying behind their back. Today’s digital society allows customer to post whatever they want about a business on social media and reach masses of people instantly. This serves as both a blessing and a curse for businesses so it’s crucial that they oversee it carefully.
Picture courtesy of Dominos website
2015 was named ‘Year of the Millennial Consumer’ by Forbes magazine, and certainly with good reason. As the largest generation in world history they are soon predicted to have the largest purchasing power in the consumer market – more than the boomers! These are the consumers businesses need to be appealing to, so knowing a thing or two about them is worth your while.
So you’ve got a loyalty scheme – that’s great. But what type of loyalty scheme will appeal to this new generation of millennial consumers? It’s important to lock them into brand loyalty early on so your business can see financial profits later. Here are a few tips from the Trezoro team that’ll help your business do just that:
Go paperless. The Millennial consumers are mobile obsessed. They grew up with technology, so naturally they are mobile experts. Ease of use and convenience is not only desired – it’s expected. You can’t rely on this generation to go fishing through their wallet to find that flimsy stamp card they got two weeks ago – because they just won’t. With the introduction of new technology like Google Wallet and Apple Pay, the mobile will act as a wallet entirely and eventually defeat their purpose. Your loyalty scheme should most definitely be digital to avoid extinction.
Make it fun. This may sounds silly, but its true. Millennial consumers are drawn to loyalty schemes that feature a competitive aspect. Take this statistic for example: 27% of millennials continue using a loyalty program because it features elements like leaderboards, badges or levels. Only 7% of baby boomers feel the same. This is a serious gap and just goes to show how drastically consumer preferences are changing among generations. Consider adding to your loyalty scheme features that let consumers track their progress and give rewards to acknowledge achievement as they reach certain levels.
Add a social element: Millennials are a generation that seeks approval from others, especially their friends. Socializing and consuming are done simultaneously so a friend’s opinion is likely to influence their own. Consider linking your loyalty scheme to different social media platforms so these consumers can share their progress with their followers on applications like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This option will satisfy the millennials desire for social approval, while spreading brand awareness for your business. Everyone wins!
Photo from: vicimediainc