There isn’t any existing business that doesn’t know how important it is to gain customers. However, sometimes we can get so caught up trying to get new customers that we lose sight of an existing gold mine - our current customers.
Studies have shown that it costs significantly more (up to 7 times more*) to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. That, coupled with the fact that just a “5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25% - 100% increase in profits for your company” (Fred Reichheld, The Loyalty Effect), makes a strong case for deliberately enhancing the experience that we give our customers so that they want to continue doing business with us.
Smart companies have realized that customer loyalty is the most powerful sales & marketing tool that they have. - Bill Price
We can enhance the customer experience and dramatically increase customer loyalty by:
What we tell customers about our business, products, and services, sets their expectations. When we don’t deliver what we promised in our advertising and marketing message, we not only frustrate customers but also damage the trust that we spent so much time and effort to build. Set expectations for what you can consistently deliver and then exceed those expectations.
Making it easy to do business with us.
We have to objectively ask ourselves: how many hoops does a customer have to jump through to give us their money? Do we consider the customer’s convenience or do we obsess over our inconvenience? Sometimes the policies we put in place are actually roadblocks to customer satisfaction, and by extension customer loyalty.
Look for ways to not just satisfy but also 'wow' customers. We do this by paying attention to who they are and what they want. Then find meaningful ways to add value beyond the sale. Making our customers feel seen and heard helps them to build an emotional connection with our brand that fosters brand loyalty.
Committing to exceptional customer service.
Is customer service a department or is it ingrained in the culture of your company? The top 2 reasons for customer loss are: 1/ Feeling poorly treated, and 2/ Failure to resolve a problem in a timely manner. (Source: RightNow [Oracle])
Customer service is a big deal. Look at how long it takes you to respond to inquiries and complaints. Is there a plan in place to deal with problems quickly and efficiently before they escalate into something more? How do you greet customers on the phone and in person?
It all makes a difference. Commit to educating all employees on customer service best practices and have them feel empowered to make your customers feel special every chance they get.
We see our customers as invited guests to a party and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little better. - Jeff Bezos
If you want to see your business grow and become more profitable, deliberately invest in improving the customer’s experience every single day. The result will be loyal customers who act as brand ambassadors for your business. What business doesn’t want more of that?
*Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs.