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How to Boost Customer Loyalty During the Pandemic

Posted on: October 22, 2020
Tags: Customer loyalty, Marketing tactics
Boosting Customer Loyalty During the Pandemic

Customer loyalty is a measure of how satisfied your customers are and how likely they are to share their experience with others. Did you know...

  • Existing customers are 70% more likely to buy a product or service than a new client.
  • 36.5% of shoppers said they would spend more on products if they were loyal to a brand, even if they found cheaper options elsewhere.

Below are 10 tactics for boosting customer loyalty:

1) Invest in Customer Engagement Initiatives

When businesses engage with their customers regularly, consumers are more likely to build a long-term relationship with the brand and more likely to refer your brand to their friends and family.

Customer engagement initiatives might include sending emails or phone calls just to ask if they are okay or facing any problems with your product.

When creating these initiatives, use words like "friends" to create an emotional connection.

Other customer engagement initiatives that you can invest in:

  • Use social networks to connect with your customers on a personal level.
  • Leverage in-product messaging to increase engagement rates.
  • Create custom content for customers who are familiar with your product.
  • Use co-browsing to view and interact with customers' browser in real-time. Co-browsing allows your sales executive to assist customers in filling out a form and completing the transaction.
  • Conduct customer engagement summits/conferences to meet your customers face-to-face.

2) Offer Your Services Virtually

Although COVID-19 has forced people to stay at home, you cannot simply wait for the pandemic to be over. As a business, continue providing your services to your customers, if not physically, then virtually.

Video conferencing software has made it easy for many businesses to connect with their existing customers. For example:

  • Pretty much all schools across the world are now providing virtual classes to continue their students' studies.
  • Many fashion stylists are offering virtual consultations via Instagram video calls.
  • Sparkhouse, a video marketing, advertising and production company, is offering to make free promotional videos for small businesses and startups who are affected by the pandemic.
  • And because nobody has a personal, in-house IT department, Support.com is offering free tech support (for any device, about any issue, at any time) to help people working or studying remotely during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Analyze your business to see how you can use technology to provide virtual services to your customers. When you offer services to your customers during a crisis, they are less likely to leave your brand.

3) Add Fun Things in the Invoice

Your invoice is another vital yet most-ignored place to improve customer loyalty. You can customize the invoice by adding your logo, colors, fonts, and even a picture of the client to wow them.

Invoicing software like Freshbooks allows you to add fun things to it, such as custom messages, emojis and images. This will not only amaze your customers, but it will also make them remember you.

When your clients receive an invoice with their picture or a tailored message on it, they are more likely to show it to their friends. This way, they will be doing word-of-mouth marketing for you.

4) Practice Active Listening and Focus on the ‘Problem’ and the ‘Customer’

First impressions are everything:

  • 51% of consumers will never do business with a company after just one negative experience.
  • On the other hand, 77% of consumers would recommend your brand to a friend after having a single positive experience with your customer service.

Listening to your customers is essential to make them feel valued so that they will stick with your brand. Another benefit of active listening is that it helps improve your products or services.

One of the best ways to listen to your customers is by monitoring review sites, such as Google My Business, Yelp, Yahoo Local, etc. Analyze and reply to every review of your product. Another way to get customer feedback is by creating surveys. Send emails or push notifications to your customers asking for their direct and honest feedback.

5) Make Your Customers Feel Special by Giving Them Free Upgrades and Promo Codes

Every business has some regular customers, so identify yours. For those buyers who are actively engaging with your brand, do things that will make them feel special.

For example, if you have premium content on your website, give your regular customers a free upgrade. If you have a sale coming up, offer early access for these customers to view and wishlist products for faster checkout. You can mention that this is exclusive to select, loyal customers and that no one else can see it.

Also, think about creating an exclusive community consisting of your customers. Add to your VIP list customers who have been with you for a long time, purchased several of your products, referred a friend, and talked favorably about your business on social media.

And every now and then, host special events for your VIPs. For example, you can launch an exclusive sale that gives access only to selected people instead of the public or create unique promo codes reserved for loyal VIP customers only. Not only will this make them feel special and thus loyal to your brand, they are also more likely to share this experience with their friends and family.

6) Engage with Unsatisfied Customers and Solve Their Issues

A satisfied customer is a retained customer. However, unsatisfied customers will start looking in your competitors’ direction if you don’t resolve their issue ASAP.

Whenever a customer leaves a negative review about your product, respond by telling them you are sorry about it and then present a solution to them. If they are still unhappy with your proposed solution, give them the power to resolve things. Ask what you can do to make them happy. This will make your unsatisfied customers feel that you care about them.

Once the issue is resolved, follow up after a few days to ensure that they are happy with the solution. Whenever you can, go beyond their expectations. For example, you can send them a discount voucher for their next purchase or a gift card as a token of apology. This will not only make them come back for more, but they will likely share their experience with their friends and family.

7) Create Loyalty and Reward Programs

73% of members will likely recommend brands with good loyalty programs. When you offer incentives to your customers every time they engage with your brand, they will be more likely to become repeat buyers.

To build a successful loyalty program, you need to offer something that none of your competitors are offering. Take customer expectations, behavior, market trends, and the size of your business into account when creating a loyalty program.

8) Create a Referral Program

83% of Americans say that they are more likely to purchase a product or service if their friends or family recommend it. By creating a program that rewards your existing customers for every successful referral, you will be able to attract new buyers and retain the current ones.

Much like loyalty programs, you need to offer something that your customers will benefit the most from. For example, if you sell cosmetic products, it would be best to provide a free product or sample for anyone making a referral. If you sell software, your customers might prefer a discount or access to a premium feature for free.

This way, you encourage them to purchase from you again, while adding a new customer to your business. Remember, the best referral programs offer something to existing customers as well as the person they referred. If you give incentives only to the referrer, the other person will be less motivated to take advantage of the connection.

9) Feature Your Customers in Your Content

Featuring your customers in your content is a good way to tell them how much you appreciate them.

Repost their content on social media that features your product or is related to your business. You can also create a blog post highlighting what they achieved using your product.

This has two benefits:

  • It acts as social proof for your products or services.
  • It makes the customer happy, thereby making them loyal to your brand.

10) Measure and Improve

There’s nothing in the world that couldn’t have been done better. Even when you think you are doing your best, there is always something more you can do. The same goes for customer loyalty. But it's not enough to just offer rewards – you must measure the results to make sure you're on the right track.

Analyze whether there’s a significant increase in customer loyalty after you implement these tactics. Four KPIs you should focus on include:

  • Retention rate: This can be calculated by dividing the number of active users by the total number of active users at the beginning of the period. For example, if at the start of the month you had 100 active customers, and at the end of the month you had 80 customers who decided to continue with your services, then your retention rate is 80% ((80/100)*100).
  • Loyalty redemption rate: This can be calculated by dividing the total number of points used by the total number of points issued. For example, if you have issued 1,000 points and 150 points have been spent, this means the redemption rate is 15% ((150/1,000) * 100).
  • Increase in referrals: This can be calculated by subtracting the total number of referrals at the end of a time period with the number of referrals at the beginning of the time period. For example, if at the start of the month you had 150 referrals, and at the end of the month you had 225 referrals, then the increase in referrals is 75 (225 – 150).
  • Customer lifetime value: Determining CLV is a little more complex than other KPIs. The most fundamental way to calculate CLV is by multiplying the annual revenue earned from a customer by the average customer lifespan minus the initial cost of acquiring them. For example, if the customer’s acquisition cost is $5,000 and you generate $4,000 per customer per year with an average lifetime value of 10 years, then your CLV will be $4,000*10 – $5,000 = $35,000.

If any of the numbers in the KPIs is below your expectations, then it’s time to optimize the tactics.

Improving customer loyalty at any time is an effort, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially tough. During this difficult time, it will require special effort on your part. The tactics mentioned above can help you retain your existing customers and boost word-of-mouth marketing to gain new ones. Make sure to measure the results and optimize the tactics accordingly.

Click here to read the full article on SingleGrain.com

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