15 ideas for fostering customer loyalty

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B2B companies with high customer engagement scores achieve 50% higher sales, 34% higher profitability and 55% higher wallet share. Acquiring new customers is between five to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. Increasing customer retention by just 5 percent boosts profits by 25 to 95 percent.

 

It’s clear – customer loyalty pays, big. Yet if you were honest, could you say that your growth strategy was equally balanced to focus on winning new customers and retaining old ones? If not then it’s time to consider what this could be costing you.

 

The following fifteen simple, fast and effective customer loyalty ideas will get you started on the road towards securing some of the rather impressive stats up there.

 

1. The number one rule of customer loyalty – treat them as people, not numbers

 

Be inventive when it comes to treating your customer base as humans. Could you do away with account numbers, in favour of using business names? Could you send birthday cards each year to the main buyer and/or Christmas cards over the festive period? Another simple idea along the same line includes hand-written thank you notes that are sent every now and then to show your appreciation.

 

2. Get to know your customers all over again

 

If your business provides services then get back to basics with some good old-fashioned one-to-one time. Taking time out every now and then to simply have lunch, to stop and listen to your customers and learn from those on the front lines of your target market can be enlightening – you can pick up new pain points, find out about emerging problems in their industry and uncover new ideas for fresh services (the official name for this is “customer development” but in reality it’s simply solid customer service).

 

3. Grow your social following with a personal touch and exclusive offers

 

There are two important pointers for creating loyalty via social media – first, you need a distinctively human voice otherwise you’ll just be another company amongst many, and second, you must provide a reason to tempt people to click Like or Follow.

 

So let your followers in behind the scenes of your office with interesting stories, team updates and photos, make announcements when you hit a certain follower number – thanking them for their presence and offer promotions that aren’t available anywhere else.

 

4. Shine a spotlight on your customers

 

Show an appreciation of your customers by providing them with promotion of their company – include them in a Tweet or feature them on your website. This attention cultivates a sense of pride and creates a mutually beneficial business relationship.

 

5. Create a customer loyalty scheme – and make it both memorable and valuable

 

The top two reasons why consumers stop participating in a loyalty program are: the program did not provide offers that were of interest (56%), and it was too hard to earn points for rewards (54%).

 

The research snippet above makes it clear that your loyalty programme needs two things – it needs to offer lucrative points per purchase for prizes that are deemed worthwhile come the time to cash in. Your scheme needn’t be complex, either – a simple cardboard card-based points system will do (although there are now plenty of loyalty apps out there that you may want to check out, such as FreshStamp, Loyalzoo and Stamp Me).

 

Leading on from the point on social media, you could also offer points to customers who ‘check in’ via Facebook.

 

Alternatively, if you’d really rather not enter the world of loyalty schemes (which are unavoidably time-consuming to a certain extent) why not simply offer an annual discount that comes around on your customers’ birthdays?

 

6. Use a CRM to record the little details

 

You may already use a Customer Relationship Management platform (such as Salesforce, Zoho or Capsule), however are you using it effectively to record the little details of conversations – where your customers are going on holiday, how their children have progressed in the latest college exams? Remembering information such as this really demonstrates you care (and it does so without you needing the memorisation powers of Rain Man!).

 

7. Send some sweet treats

 

Sometimes nothing says, ‘we value your custom!’ more than a delicious tin of cookies – a simple, affordable and tasty show of commercial appreciation.

 

8. Offer a monthly surprise upgrade

 

If you offer a spectrum of products or services that range in terms of their price points why not run a monthly surprise upgrade – this way you can announce a winner on social media and in the process, they’ll hopefully reply saying how great the next level of service or product is. This prize could also form part of your customer loyalty program – and could be a reward for the highest-ranking customer that month.

 

9. Put on an annual party

 

Throwing an annual party to thank your customers provides the perfect opportunity to speak with all of your contacts in person. This needn’t be a red carpet and canopies affair, either – simple (and cost effective) ideas include a picnic, barbeque or wine tasting event – perfect for fun and mingling while not being stuffy.

 

10. Bricks and mortar store? Hand out a few freebies every now and then

 

If you have a physical store location the offer of a freebie can be a simple way of welcoming your customers over your threshold and making them feel valued. This could be as straightforward as free coffee on tap, or it could be based on the stock that you carry.

 

11. Send cards for unusual, lesser known holidays

 

Your customers may already expect Christmas cards from the more motivated of companies, but what about cards for special events on the days that may be more relevant to them? How about National ‘I Love Horses Days’ on July 15th, ‘Day of the Horse’ on December 13th or ‘Help a Horse Day’ on 26th April? These could coincide with a promotion or a donation given to a horse charity of a specially selected customer of your choice (or the highest-ranking customer of your loyalty scheme for that month).

 

12. Get your customers involved in improving their own experience

 

Ask and ye’ shall receive – and these words were never truer than when asking customers for their suggestions as to how their experience can be made better. It’s a great idea to track these requests, so that if and when you act on a suggestion you can contact the customer again, thank them once more for their input and tell them you’ve implemented their suggestion – there’s simply no better way to demonstrate how you’re listening to your customer base.

 

13. Provide your staff with freedom to express themselves

 

No one likes dealing with customer services reps who they feel to be impersonal – so relax the rules a little and allow for phone calls and emails that are personal and friendly, not script written and templated.

 

14. Send gift cards to randomly thank your valued customers

 

Another way to harness the customer data you have is to send gift cards to match your customers’ tastes (that new book she’s been raving about? WH Smith will do nicely, a dedicated coffee lover? A simple £5 Starbucks card will be perfect).

 

15. Celebrate your customers’ milestones with them

 

Whether your customer’s business is soon to be moving and expanding, or a member of their team has just had a baby, celebrating alongside them and sending a present, card or flowers can really demonstrate that you care.

 

Customer loyalty is akin to commercial gold dust – rare and inherently valuable, however it needn’t have the price tag to match.

 

Let’s talk about your customers and how we can make them love your business, your people and your products or services, at an effective price point for an attractive return on your investment. Get in touch for an informal chat about just what’s possible – contact the PressPoint Countryside & Equestrian team – call our experts on +44 (0)1953 851513 or email: equestrian@presspoint.co.uk.

 

 

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