In my last post, i talked a little bit about how to convert leads into paying customers. So, in this post, I will move a step further by explaining to you the need to continuously attract more customers and retain loyal customers to grow revenue for your business.
The world moves so quickly that the only way to compete is to nurture, protect and foster the bond you have with your existing customers but this doesn’t insinuate that you shun other prospects because for your business to be successful, you will need to keep your sales funnel full at all times.
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Forming a deep understanding of the customers who want to be there, their preferences and their patterns of behavior is the only way you can develop a truly effective customer-centered strategy to get the highest loyalty.
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Most times, marketers concentrate on the chase and sales of their product or service without giving enough attention to retaining their existing customers. Industry analysts agree that acquiring customer costs 5-10 times more than retaining a customer.
Before we dive into how you too can retain loyal customers; lets quickly review the question “what is customer loyalty?”
Customer loyalty is ultimately when your customer sticks to your brand, product or service without using an alternative one. Most loyal customers end up being brand evangelist which is the more reason why you should strive to beget loyalty for your brand.
In this post, i will show you how to retain loyal customers while attracting more leads to your product or service. Most businesses tend to forget about their existing customers and concentrate on acquiring leads.
Yes it is a good marketing practice to keep your sales funnel full but you need to understand that your existing customers are the fuel that keep the engine running. Thus achieving a balance between servicing existing customers and nurturing leads is a key success factor for any business.
To successfully rule your business world, it is imperative that you always keep your loyal customers very close to your heart. They are extremely relevant to you in the progressive outcome of your business.
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How to do this might seem strange to you or probably you have always thought of how to achieve this; I will lead you with this post on how to achieve customer loyalty without breaking the bank.
It can cost nearly seven times more to acquire new customers than to keep existing loyal customers, I guess you can weigh your options and make an intelligent choice.
Always offer incentives to your customers for patronizing your product or service
There is no better way to say thank you for your patronage than with gifts. I love to collect gifts a lot and am sure most people won’t mind. As a company, it is imperative that you regularly provide some of incentives for your paying customers.
This goes a long way to show them how much you appreciate their loyalty to your brand and this will encourage them to continue in the patronage.
Incentives could be in any form, it could be gifts, money, and discount their purchases. You should be able to understand your customers so well to know what incentive will suit them the most.
Your kind of business should also determine the type of incentive you will be offering i.e. the product you sell or service you render determines they caliber of customers you have.
For instance, if you are a hotel owner, and you know your customer base, you should be able to decipher to know the kind of incentive that befits them.
You can’t give them something that isn’t worth it. Please bear in mind, you don’t have to break the bank to achieve this. In fact, psychologist Norbert Schwarz found that as little as 10 cents can create reciprocity between two individuals.
Make your customers love your product through story telling
Making customers love your product doesn’t mean forcing the product down their throats until they love it, it simply means creating a user experience that will leave lasting smiles on their faces after using your product or service.
Every customer comes for your product with the aim of gaining satisfaction from it and once that isn’t achieved, it is very easy to lose their loyalty and patronage to your competitor (s).
Am just trying to drive one point home, and that is, your product or service should be appealing enough to retain your customers. You should consistently device means to keep your customers closely knitted to your brand by telling stories of your user experience.
Make sure your product or service actually provides the exact user experience you claimed it provides, it should never be less than the required expectation. Let me quickly break somethings down:
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Every customers always looks forward to being satisfied from the use of a particular product or service; the key word here is satisfaction. So, if your service or product is purchased and it doesn’t meet up to expectation, the customer quickly moves to the next available substitute to replace that vacant space of lack of satisfaction.
User experience entails the satisfaction (good or bad) a customer experiences after the use of a product or service.
This determines whether he or she continues to be a loyal customer or moves on. Every product and service experience is expected to be worthwhile so as to maintain loyalty.
Accomplish promised value
Once a customer buys your product or service, they practically expect it to do exactly as u promised it would.
Therefore, anything short the expected experience would amount to losing your customers. You should be sure of what you’re giving out.
Sometimes, people use products based on referrals, also, people get discouraged before using a product based on referrals, i.e. one person uses a product or service and doesn’t enjoy its worth, the next time a friend talks about using that product, he or her discourages the next user on the ground of lack of satisfaction.
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Be sure to leave a good lasting impression on your customers, never take little details for granted and do not overlook necessary information.
Customer service provision
Always make sure your customer service team are on top gear to respond to queries from your customers also to render support where need be.
This is the ultimate loyalty retainer. Your customers will feel free to share their problems and also give you hints on ways they feel you can step up your product or service to attract and retain customers; things like suggestion boxes can be kept to get additional information from customers.
For customers to love your product, these three key components have to be implemented to achieve maximum loyalty from customers.
Educate and inform your customers
As it is popularly said, “education never ends” Arthur Conan Doyle; it is a ladder you have to keep climbing each passing day. In your daily conversations, surfing the internet, watching television, you keep learning, learning never stops.
So use this to your own advantage when it comes to retaining loyal customers. Make your customers call your attention and seek your advice on issues when it relates to your industry.
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For example, if you offer Digital Marketing services, your customers should be able to seek your opinion even outside business term on certain key issues. You should create an impression of always willing to listen to them and add value to their lives.
Educate your customers with useful information that can help them take certain important steps.
To have loyal customers, you have to ensure your brand stands for something
You have to be particular on what your brand stands for. In essence, you have to create a niche for your brand; something people know your brand for. Loyalty comes when customers know what you represent.
For instance, if your customers know your company for providing IT services, you have to let people know that it is what you do. You can’t say you offer one service but when people come, it’s a different thing they get.
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Make it easy for your customers to identify your business or products in the midst of the crowd. Create a winning slogan, tagged with a catchy logo and a unique theme. Most important, make a specific promise and deliver on that promise.
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Brands like coca cola, Pepsi, Apple, and peak milk have created a distinguishing trademark for themselves, once they are spotted out you already know the difference. Create a peculiar slogan or logo that best describes your brand, so that your customers can identify it from miles away. Your consistency and innovation attracts more loyal customers to your business.
Remember customer’s special occasions
People love to feel special and tour customers are not any different. You should always remember the dates of special occasions celebrated by your customers, like birthdays, anniversary etc.
Always ensure you create a column where your customers can fill while trying to sign up with you. I want to use Guaranty Trust bank as an example, they send text messages to customers on their birthdays.
This goes a long way in the hearts of your customers, it basically tells them that they are special and you appreciate their patronage so you choose to celebrate with them on those particularly special day.
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Loyalty comes with appreciation, if you show even the littlest form of care or appreciation, they will always be loyal customers to your product or service. Make it a point of duty to always keep track of special occasions.
Create a medium for getting feedback from your customers
Feedback’s are just a way to make your customers feel relevant. Like I said earlier on, you can create a suggestion box to make them drop comments to help you either opt your strategies to improving your market reach or to add some more value to customers.
This will help you evolve your sales techniques and marketing tactics, and in exchange for their participation, you can offer a discount for a future visit to your business.
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This creates a form of loyalty in your customers because they are also given the opportunity to work with you and also have their opinions heard.
Customers are very important and loyal customers are hard to find, making them realize that will help in fostering your relationship together.
Use words your customers love to hear
There are certain words that evoke the willingness in customers to purchase certain products or service. Words like free, instantly, new; these words create a level of want in the hearts of your customer’s that make them look forward to every experience with your product or service. to have loyal customers, you have to be sensitive to the words you use because every statement can change the face of your business forever.
Remember to keep your promise
Companies that can boast of great success in their customer retention endeavor to have great customer service. It is out of place to promise your customer heaven on earth then down the line, your customer discovers it has all been fable stories.
You have to put all your skills together to ensure you provide the sort of experience you promised your customer, there is no need lying or beating around the bush with them.
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If you create even the slightest form of doubt in them about your brand, you will end up losing every single one of them.
Communication is a vital part of keeping customers satisfied. It’s important to listen to your customers. Make sure you communicate well with a customer either through the use of magazine, calls, face to face meeting, or newsletter to keep customers well-informed.
According to research from Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent.
Customer retention rate is how well a company keeps its paying customers over a period of time which spills into having loyal customers.
This is a very important aspect of marketing in general. You create an awesome experience from the use of your product and things will never remain the same again.
Keeping customers loyal should be at the top of every business owner’s marketing plan. The amount of time, money and effort that goes into retaining customers is much lower than finding and obtaining new clients.
Never take loyalty for granted because a successful marketing strategy will bring customers through the door but only a successful customer loyalty and retention plan will keep them coming back for more.
Above all, keeping customers happy should mean more action and less talk. A proven rather than promised commitment will put you way ahead of the competition.
Happy customers will bring you more customers and business opportunities but your product and service will do most of the work by keeping customers loyal, and there are no shortcuts in customer retention.