It’s one of the very first things you learn in business school: acquiring new customers is up to five times more expensive than retaining the ones you already have.
Customer loyalty is important. As a concept it’s complex; many attempts have been made to quantify it using multiple metrics but ultimately it comes down to one key principle: if clients’ expectations are met or exceeded on a regular basis, they will continue to place their trust in you - and that pays off in the long term.
In fact, improving customer retention by as little as five per cent has been shown to increase profits by between 25 and 95 percent.
Loyal customers don’t just buy more frequently, they also spend more, especially during the peak holiday season. As a result, the order value of happy, loyal customers is much higher (almost a third more) than first-timers who don’t have any previous experience with your company and are therefore harder to convince.
What’s more, loyal customers are 50 percent more likely to buy a new product from you, they’re much more willing to recommend your company to their family and friends (they will tell an average of 16 people) and, quite importantly, they are more likely to be understanding should an issue occur.
The fundamentals of customer loyalty
Loyal customers repeatedly return to a company to do business. This typically comes as a result of a fantastic previous experience - one that means they’re not even thinking about taking their custom elsewhere.
Of course, the quality of the product you’re selling or the service you’re providing is a key element. However, the way in which your company interacts with its customers, above all when things haven’t gone as planned, is also vital.
Here are five ways you can improve your customer interactions to make sure your clients keep coming back.
1) Ensure your customers can always speak to a human
The majority of consumers value being able to talk to a human when things go wrong or they need information. They don’t want to speak to a robot or be automatically referred to self-help content that doesn’t fit their needs.
“Humanised experiences” play a massive role in a customer’s decision-making process and can improve your conversion rate by around eight percent.
This is why it’s somewhat strange that 59 percent of consumers report that companies no longer offer a “human touch”.
Having multiple communication channels through which clients can reach a real person is a crucial part of modern customer service. Those who aren’t doing so are passing up a massive opportunity.
2) Embrace ‘conversational business’
Taking humanised experiences to the next level means embracing what is now known as ‘conversational business’.
This strategy delivers scaled, personalised experiences to customers exactly how and where they want to connect - through messaging apps.
It is fast becoming the main way in which businesses engage with customers because it allows a growing number of companies to get closer to their clients during each step of the customer journey and maximise results:
- Pre-sale. Effective messaging here can boost engagement with your brand, but also persuade those who are sitting on the fence by instantly answering their queries and offering personalised promotions to secure the sale.
- At the moment of purchase. Even once a customer has decided to buy from you, there are still further opportunities to increase results. You can do this by making ordering easy, cutting out the middle man and allowing customers to carry out transactions/make appointments/schedule orders via text message. You can also give personalised recommendations at this stage. Knowing what your customer intends to order gives you the chance to push extra products or services that may interest them.
- Post-sale / customer support. Conversational business can also be used to turn one-time customers into repeat customers. Via text message, you can resolve customers’ issues quickly and, in many cases, in real time. You can also send reorder reminders to encourage follow-up sales if your product or service is of a recurring nature. Harvesting feedback is also easier this way as consumers are much more likely to give comments by text because it is quick and easy.
3) Show empathy and be genuine
Beyond being available, if you want customers to keep coming back you should also be striving for your interactions to be as empathetic and genuine as possible.
Two-thirds of consumers admit that they would switch to another company if they felt that they weren’t being treated like “an individual”. That’s why the way you interact and the language you use with your customers is incredibly important. It can ensure that you leave a good impression and that your clients go away satisfied.
Customers, like all people, appreciate having their concerns or problems taken seriously. So, watch your tone and avoid false empathy or you could risk escalating any tensions.
Here are nine good phrases that you can use in client interactions to show that you understand their concerns.
4) Provide agility and flexibility
The customer must always come first if you want them to return. And that means being adaptable to their needs.
Around 60 percent of buyers choose to text rather than make a phone call, while 43 percent of customers will actively choose to text businesses over other methods. Therefore, prioritising a text-based service will provide flexibility with your target audience demands.
Having only a contact number and email address is not good enough anymore. Consumers expect to be given the option to get in touch via a platform they know and on which they can respond in their own time.
What’s more, in order to ensure that all messages are answered and not duplicated, your customer service has to be not only multi-channel but omnichannel too. For this to work, all agents need access to customer history and all communication channels.
Another way you can offer flexibility to customers is by making exceptions. Customer care policies are in place for good reasons, but sometimes it’s worth bending the rules if it means a one-time customer will convert into a repeat customer. Showing a degree of agility can go a long way.
5) Be quick
Time is precious. Customers expect to receive the answer they’re looking for within 10 minutes. And if they know they’re going to have to wait, around 57 percent will look elsewhere.
Customers will return to you if they know that your query is important to them. So, don’t keep them waiting. Either avoid long queues or inform them that you’ll get back to them within an established timeframe on a channel of their choosing.
Superagent, an all-round solution
Customer retention is made easy with an intuitive helpdesk such as Superagent.
With Superagent as part of your customer service offering, clients get everything they expect from a modern company.
Firstly, they don’t have to choose between communication channels. Bring together SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger (coming soon) and many other channels in one place to make it easier for both your clients to reach out and for your team to engage in ‘conversational business’.
Speed won’t be an issue either thanks to features such as Conversation Blocks. These pre-written text blocks enable agents to respond quickly to a variety of easily anticipated scenarios, handling up to six interactions at once, ensuring that no one is kept waiting and queries are consistently answered to complete satisfaction.
Customer loyalty is incredibly valuable to any business, regardless of its size. So download Superagent - for desktop or mobile – and invest in its future now.