Last week I had the pleasure of running a seminar for thebestof Hertford and Ware group about keeping your customers in love with you. Whilst customer retention may not have the allure of winning a new piece of business, it is of course an essential part of a successful business. Not least because it is significantly more cost effective to grow existing business that gain new customers. And if you show your love for your customers, they will be inclined to love you back, and once they love you, they love nothing more than spreading that love. So before you know it, you have raving fans that recommend you without hesitation which brings new business to your door. What's not to love?
I asked the participants to start by thinking about the brands they love - the ones that they return to, time after time. What is it about these brands specifically that makes them loyal? Is it cost? Convenience? Coolness? Location? Ethics?
Thinking about how the brands you love keep you loyal is a great way of getting ideas about the sorts of strategies you can sue with your customers - whether it's a loyalty card, a hand written thank you card or a killer tip to make their life easier. But remember - loyalty is not necessarily love. Customers can be loyal but not be in love with a brand. I am loyal to my local supermarket defined by my frequency of purchase - but I am not in love with them. I would love to shop at a rival supermarket, but that would mean a car trip and another half an hour, rather than a short walk down the road.
I then asked participants to look at our Retention Ladder tool and consider how they would migrate a prospect from the ground - ignorance - to the top rung - advocacy. What retention strategies would be most appropriate to turn an occasional customer into one that loves them? And then into an advocate?
It is important to plot this retention journey up the ladder and keep focus on migrating as many customers to the upper rungs as possible. The higher they go, the more difficult it is for them to jump off; but neglect them and that is exactly what they'll do. Right onto a competitor's ladder.
We finished the session by looking at ways a business could give their customers those all important 'wow' moments - those things that surprise and delight. An online retailer I use pops a little pack of sweets in with every order, whilst a cosmetic brand gives me small versions of new products to try for free. A clothes brand sends me vouchers every so often to tempt me toward another purchase. A wow moment does not have to cost the business a lot - it just needs to be appropriate, on brand and provoke a delighted 'wow!'
So whether you send them a bag of blue Smarties because they mentioned they love them, or if you send them a birthday card on their birthday, or email them an exclusive white paper filled with information and insight to help them do their job better, make sure you remember to delight your customers. And before you know it, you'll need a bigger ladder.
Member since: 11th March 2014
My name is Victoria Hunter and I'm a true Hertford person - I went to school in Hertford and grew up here. I understand the importance of bringing trusted businesses and the community together, and believe...