How Do You Maintain A Long Lasting Customer Relationship?
February 20, 2019
Why do businesses strive to create long-term customer relationship?
Isn’t there a saying that “you can’t please everybody?”. What gain do you get from having a long time loyal buyers as opposed to just one time buyers?
Having long-term customers is something that many businesses aim for because with lifetime customers come to the sure steady flow of ROI. Loyal customers spend 60% more than one time buyers. And they are 90% more likely to buy a product than a casual buyer. Look at these stats:
And all these numbers point to one thing, the way you treat your customer. 70% of purchases are based on how your customer feels, so if you mistreat them, they’ll definitely not buy and not come back to your site again.
One of the most overlooked traits of a business is making a good impression. There’s this mindset that customers will appreciate you as time goes by. But, what most businessmen don’t understand is the fact that you won’t have the time to get them to recognize you if they’ve left your site and gone to someone else’s. Take this illustration of the scenario for example. A businessman knocks at your door and offers to sell you a vitamin supplement, but the salesman is dressed in weird clothes and looks unkempt, has terrible manners and spits on the floor. Now, in comes another businessman, in full formal attire with eloquent speech and good manners. Which of the two businessmen would you buy from? Surely, you’ll say you’ll buy it for the second. Why? Because He looks trustworthy and he is well mannered.
The same can be said of a website. If your site has slow loading speed, has graphics that looks like it came from the 1990s and had content that looks scammy, customers would buy reflex click out of it. Before, you maintain a good impression you first have to have a good impression. And impressions, last. It sets the stage of what customers can expect from you, and will expect from you. So, before you make sure that they maintain their good impression of you, establish and build a good feeling first.
And to make a good impression, you need to take into account these things:
If getting a good first impression is hard, maintaining that good impression they have for you is just as complicated. Hosting servers can crash making your customers think you’re unreliable. A change in information can cause your once good content look deceiving. That’s why keeping your customers’ good impression of you is twice as hard, because it’s you making sure that your site is up and running 24/7 without any delays and any problems popping up.
To achieve this, you need a good team behind you. Great writers, graphics designers, SEO analysts, customer support, web developers and web hosting, help you keep your system up and running. Just one falter in the team can cause your business to get client complains, lose subscribers, and worst lose revenue.
Having a well-structured organisation and CRM system in place can help you minimise problems like this because the response will be much faster and solutions can be handled in a more centralised approach.
What are the ways that you can check in on your customers? One great way to form a connection with your customers is through support channels like the following:
First, are Chat boxes. Chat boxes can be very versatile, you can do a one on one chat with your customer, or you can form a chatroom where they can express their ideas and share opinions. Now, chat boxes particularly chat rooms can come in handy when you have an event, and you want to promote or bring awareness about it. Chat Boxes will provide a way for you to reach out to your customers and ask them what they think about the event. Another great way to check in on customers is through a one on one chat once they subscribe, just sending them a personalised email may not seem much but to a customer it can have big effects.
Second, are Forums. Most companies have forum sections where customers can interact and exchange information — having a forum set up means that it will be easier for you to pinpoint problems that your customers may be having. They can post queries and issues that you can easily address. With a forum in place, you won’t have to go to great lengths to figure out if something is wrong with a product or service. Plus, responding to a problem quickly will be appreciated by your customers because they know you are a humane company and not a money hungry establishment.
The third is a Frequently Asked Questions section. An FAQ section doesn’t mean a typical stagnant FAQ, but you can improvise to have an interactive one where it’s life and ranks the queries based on how many people asked them. Similar to a forum style but more query centred and with definite answers straight from you or your staff. Having a live FAQ section means that you can handle actual questions that your customers have about your product instead of just making up your own. Plus, you get to be unique because no one else is using this method, and you are sure to build a closer relationship with your site visitors client or just passersby.
Emails, oh the power of emails. Most people overlook the power of sending personalised emails. And most businesses don’t pay much attention to the emails they send to their customers. The typical method of sending emails is using a general template and just changing the name of each email to make it “personalised”, well it works sometimes. You fool your customer into thinking that it was an email sent for them alone, but this method can also backfire. Delivering personalised emails go way beyond templates and forms. It takes effort on your part, to know what your customer likes and doesn’t like. Imagine sending out a deal for a discount on bikinis to some who don’t wear one because of religious reasons. You’ll not only offend your customer, but you might also lose them.
Lastly Newsletters. You can begin sending out newsletters to your customers randomly, or you can do a survey first and figure out what they like and base your newsletter on those. Honestly, taking a little bit more time on research can help make your customers appreciate your newsletters more.
You can easily do the things mentioned above if you have a customer relationship management tool like a CRM software. Having one will make sending emails, newsletters and managing chat boxes and forums a lot easier than having no tools at all. There are a lot of CRM tools in Singapore that you can choose from, feel free to ask for demos if you’re unsure if they’ll work with your desired support channel.
You’ve established a good impression, you’ve stayed in contact with them, what now? The next thing that you should work towards is gaining their trust and loyalty. Building trust and especially loyalty can be very tricky; statistics show that 58% of consumers opt to not do business again with a company after a bad experience. And a study conducted by an American company based in Vancouver found that highly engaged buyers spend 90% more than non-loyal customers. These customers also spend 60% more on transactions than customers who don’t trust the brand that much.
One way to build their trust is through customer loyalty programs. There are many customer retention strategies out there but having loyalty programs is one of the ways that you can get your customers to buy from your shop over and over again. Here are great examples of customer loyalty programs that you can implement for your system.
Buyer points are points your customer gets every time they buy your products or services. Let’s say you own a grocery store. You can assign points to your customers depending on their worth of purchase. For example 1 point for every $30 spent. Or, 1 point for every $15 spent. The pointing system is up to you. And the corresponding number of points gets an award, discount, or free item. Example, for every 100 points they get 50% on their next purchase. Or, for every 30 points, they get a free item. You can get creative with your rewards and freebies.
Tenure Points, are points you can give your customers for the length of time they’ve been your customer. The rewards you can give them can vary from discounts on all purchases too, free items and even cash prizes. It all depends on your strategy. Some give discounts such as 5%, 10%, 15% or more depending on what you set up. While others give free bundles to their clients, another tactic is raffles, wherein they get a chance to win a house and lot, a car or gift certificates. Another great way is giving gift certificates surmounting to a certain amount, that way your customers can pick what they want.
Referral Points, you give your customer points for recommending your brand to anyone they know. And they can get discounts and even prizes for bringing new customers to your brand. It’s a great way to get more customers because word of mouth has more impact and convincing power than any ads you can create.
According to Kitewheel, 73% of customers believe that loyalty programs are a way for brands to show their care to their buyers. While 66% of businessmen believe that it’s a way for customers to show how loyal they are to the brand, either way, customer loyalty programs shouldn’t be overlooked because its one way to encourage your customers to be loyal to your business.
Aside from loyalty rewards, you can also make your customers feel important through special greetings. Greet your customers on their special days which shouldn’t be limited to just birthdays. There are many holidays on the calendar, and there are certainly many life events that a person can experience. Greeting them is great, and all but your customers would be more touched when you give them special offers and even free stuff on their special day.
Take a look at this scenario, a customer who goes by the name of Mr Cham is celebrating his 45th birthday. His favourite brand of shoes finds out about this through his customer data sheet, so they send him a special greeting complete with a 30% coupon he can use on his next purchase. Now, suppose Mr Cham has been a loyal buyer of the brand for ten years, the special greeting can be accompanied by a free instead that he can claim at any of the brand’s store.
These are just simple gestures, from greetings to coupons and discounts to freebies but to your customer, this can mean a lot. But, remember that these strategies done without sincerity will reflect in the copy you send. No matter what freebie or discount you give if you sound sales and include promotions in your greetings your customers will notice and instead of getting loyalty, you might just get a negative reaction from them.
As Harvard Business review states 23% of people who’ve had a great customer experience will tell ten or more people. So, in a good way you not only made a move to keep your customers for the long run but, you’ve also gotten free publicity out of it. And word of mouth is one of the strongest forms of marketing.
It doesn’t matter how many customer retention strategies you have or if you use the best CRM system, if you deliver terrible live customer support, you’ll lose your customers. Lead nurturing and the numerous lead nurturing best practices only work if you have believable results. The same goes for customer relationship management. Take a look at this real-life example.
Ms Liu orders a sewing machine from an online shop, she pays for the product in full and waits five days for it to be delivered. When the product arrives, she finds that it’s not the sewing machine she ordered but some exercise machine she has no use of. So, she contacts customer service and tells her they sent her the wrong product. It takes them two days to respond and buy then Ms Liu is already furious and demands that they send her the product she ordered. They reply that they will refund her the money, but will not send the product, they also state that to get her money back she needs to send them back the exercise machine at her expense. How do you think Ms Liu will react? Will she be happy and resend the wrongly shipped product using her own money and leave empty handed without the product she wanted?
Ms Liu reaction was she would never buy from that store again. And this is just one of the numerous instances when a business makes a fool of itself and damages its reputation. As the US White House Office of Consumer Affairs state, a dissatisfied customer tells nine to fifteen people! And around 13% of unhappy customers tell more than 20 people. If you all this up, because of your failure to give an excellent customer service you just lost around 20 leads, 20 people who could’ve added to your sales.
Remember that the customer is always right! Because your revenue comes from the pockets of the people who buy your product. So, when you encounter problems being reported to you about your brand or your employee, attend to it. The faster you fix the problem, the more reliable you’ll be in the eyes of your customer. The longer you make them wait, the faster your chances of losing them as long-term buyers.
When choosing people to man your customer support, don’t put a short-tempered foul mouth person in the position. Give the job to your best team, because the people who usually contact customer support are those that are either annoyed, have encountered a problem, or people who will sue you for bad service. Choose your fighters wisely, remember that no matter how rude a customer is, your staff must remain polite and calm, that is the hallmark of excellent service.
Improve your customer retention by having a 24/7 customer hotline, being customer-centric and swift to attend to their complaints, and doing so takes time.
Keeping your customer for a long time, one doesn’t happen overnight. It takes great care and attention to detail to fully achieve your customer’s loyalty. Rest assured though that loyal customers who become your brand’s fans will not only promise great ROI but will also be your promoters. They’ll share with others just how great your brand is and how effective your products are. So, in the long run, all the hard work pays off when you get customers who are willing to stay with you as long as your business stands.