Guest post by Brooke Cade.
As a marketing professional, you understand customers are your firm’s most valuable assets. They are the key to your brand’s ultimate success and survival. However, dialing into customer loyalty and determining what it takes to improve customer retention isn’t always easy. It can be difficult just knowing where to start—do you conduct an online survey, do a market study, or conduct qualitative research with customers (or all of the above)? Getting a solid grasp on the customer experience can be a big investment, and you don’t want to waste time and resources on strategies that paint the wrong picture.
With these five steps, you’ll be able to infuse your marketing efforts with personality and relatability, making the relationship a much more enjoyable experience for your customers (and leading to greater sales down the road).
1. Make Their Experience Personal
A survey from the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer reports that American consumers value customer service over virtually all other aspects of business-consumer relationships. In fact, customers will spend an average of 14% more at a business who provides satisfactory customer service. Furthermore, 81% of survey respondents say they’ll continue to do business with a company if they receive positive customer support.
This is a testament to the importance of providing your consumers with a positive personal experience. Your employees should go above and beyond to ensure clients are being helped in a prompt, friendly, and knowledgeable manner. Consider having frequent meetings and training to continually encourage excellent customer service.
Additionally, marketing technology that automates much of the customer experience can help your business scale your efforts while retaining a surprisingly personal touch. For example, popular customer relationship management (CRM) tools can streamline and centralize your sales and marketing efforts to generate impressive ROI.
2. Make the Purchase Transaction As Convenient As Possible
Whether you have a physical location or an online store, how do you present your products to your customers? Is your storefront or website inviting? Does it encourage customers to stay, browse, and purchase?
Your store or website should be clean and attractive in both design and function. A cluttered website can confuse a visitor and act as an obstacle to generating sales. Make is as convenient as possible for a customer to complete a transaction once they are in your business space, whether it’s virtual or physical.
Consider asking your clients to fill out a brief survey regarding their customer experience. Do they like the layout? What could you improve on? Were their questions addressed? With this feedback, you’ll be able to pinpoint the wants and needs of your clients, and improve their experience when they re-visit your store.
3. Price and Value
One of the biggest pitfalls for marketers is assuming clients are after the cheapest product available—so they cater to that level. Though this may be true to a point (particularly for products viewed as commodities), many people are willing to pay a higher price if they feel it reflects the quality and dependability of the product.
With this in mind, price your products so that the perceived value is high. The first step is to conduct market research so you know how your direct competitors are setting their prices. From there, you can set a price that may seem initially high, and then offer sales, coupons or promotions that appeal to your consumers. This makes them feel they are still getting a good product at a good value.
4. Marketing and Communications
Second to positive customer experience, your company’s success relies heavily on effective marketing and communication. Here are a few tips for improving marketing:
- Always watch for new opportunities. Set up strategies that focus on listening and paying attention to industry trends and customer chatter. For example, seek out what your customers are saying about you on social media, and join the conversation in a positive way. Follow the blogs and social media accounts of experts and influencers in your industry.
- Create brand awareness. In order for you to create loyal customers, they first have to know your company exists. Traditional advertising campaigns, such as billboards and TV commercials, are geared to drive brand awareness. However, search engine ads and social media ad campaigns are also useful that can often reach a more targeted audience at a much more affordable cost.
- Communicate your competitive advantage. Your marketing message must explain why customers should use your product instead of your competitors’. The best way to highlight your competitive advantage is to make your marketing efforts tell a story about your customers, not your products. Instead of listing all your amazing features, describe how your customers could benefit from those features. Show how it fulfilled a need for them, addressed a pain point, solved a problem, or calmed a fear. Make it about them, not you.
- Inform your stakeholders. Has your company reached a new milestone? Perhaps you’ve reached a certain sales or profit threshold. Maybe you’ve got a major upcoming event, joint venture, or new product about to launch. Let your clients know! Positive evolution and company happenings make it easy for consumers to stay involved.
5. Loyalty Programs
If you reward return customers for their loyalty, they’ll be more likely to share their positive experience with others. Give them incentives to return like add-ons, vouchers, loyalty cards, special pricing, discounts, and bonuses.
The cost of obtaining a new customer is 10 times more expensive than selling to current ones. Not only do these individuals serve as reliable customers, but they also act as your most effective means of advertising. When your customers are your best brand ambassadors, you’ll be spreading the word about your business in the most cost-effective and trusted way possible.
Brooke Cade is a freelance writer who is committed to helping businesses and sales professionals build stronger connections with their customers. In her spare time, she enjoys learning more about InMoment.com—her CX platform of choice, reading books/articles on industry news, engaging on twitter, and exploring her local neighborhood coffee shop.