When it comes to long-lasting success for your brand, converting sales shouldn’t be your only benchmark. Maintaining loyal customers and converting them into advocates for your brand is an essential part of a thriving business. In fact, businesses with a large proportion of repeat customers have a revenue approximately 50% higher than related businesses with few repeat customers.
It starts with recognizing that word-of-mouth interactions are more than one-to-one advocacy points. Word-of-mouth by one person on social channels can spread like a wildfire. You need to be the one igniting the spark. This can feel like an uphill battle considering that customers with negative experiences are 50% more likely to talk about it on their social channels than those who had positive ones.
The good news is that there are actions you can take to create or change the narrative. Once you implement best practices, your customers will start to do the work for you. Consider for example that according to Accenture, 55% of U.S. consumers express loyalty by recommending the brands and companies they love to family and friends, according to Accenture.
Remember, that it is a fallacy to assume that a customer is loyal just because they continue to buy from you. They become loyal when they connect with your brand on a human level and recommend your services or products. This relies on opening up the lines of communication.
Research suggests you should start early. Your customers are forming an opinion of your brand within the first few days of exposure. This is the perfect time to reach out. Invest in online surveying to quickly sample customers. Focus on how likely they are to recommend your brand to a friend and why. Collect a profile of respondents to determine whether each one is a Promoter, a Passive Shopper or a Detractor.
This segmentation will allow you to send targeted campaigns to promoters, convert passives into promoters, and solve the problems that detractors complain about. Accenture reported in 2017 that 51% of U.S. consumers are loyal to brands that interact with them through their preferred channels of communication.
Another loyalty tactic is to showcase your fans on social media. Soda Stream, for example, regularly features happy customers on their Facebook page and blog. Not only does this make it easy to encourage participation in contests and promotions, it also creates a natural buzz about your product.
Keep in mind that your brand’s online experience is a potential first impression and can have an immediate impact. This can work well for your company, but only if it’s done right. In today’s right-brained world, customers are seeking significance in tandem with utility. A well-designed online journey goes a long way in creating a positive touch point.
Growing your base of loyal customers doesn’t just mean catering to the happy ones. Don’t ignore your detractors. Find out why they are unhappy so that you can change your business to better serve customers like them in the future. Make sure they know you are doing so. This includes a resource for open-ended feedback, positive or negative. Let them vent directly to you and make it easy for them to do so.
You can also use responsive design ads that re-market to customers who have already been to your site. When you follow up with these shoppers, present them with exclusive offers, VIP deals, or loyalty rewards.
Progressive auto insurance balances this well. Not every communication that customers receive from them is a bill or bad news. They will regularly upgrade their services and coverage to customers who have been with them for a long time.
Your commitment to customer loyalty needs to start on the inside. Focus your messaging to employees and partners on enriching people’s lives and looking for engagement beyond the product and beyond the sale. Live and breathe loyalty acquisition.
Walt Disney may have said it best, “Do what you do so well that they want to see it again and bring their friends.”
To learn more about the essential process of turning loyal customers into brand promoters, contact the experts at Rebuild Group.