This is a guest post by Michael Lang from SG Partners.
Customer loyalty is a vital part of growing a healthy company. Ensuring that you constantly engage your customers to return improves two key things:
- Reduces the burden on marketing budgets to find new customers
- Turns your customers into brand advocates and increases word of mouth = more new customers!
In 2014, a survey was conducted including 1,400 executives, with the question “What is the most important criteria to keep you loyal to your suppliers?” Research showed that 53% of client loyalty is driven by the sales or client engagement staff and that staff’s ability to deliver unique insight directly to the client.
Coming second in the criteria was the company brand at 19%, while product and service reliability was also 19% and price was only 9%. This clearly shows that customer loyalty isn’t all about comparing prices.
As this loyalty depends upon the sales/client engagement, irrespective of who in the company is responsible for this, it is vital that it is delivered to a high standard. Unfortunately many companies invest very little focus and expertise in this area.
The Customer Loyalty Mistakes
Here are the top five customer loyalty mistakes companies make:
- Companies often believe their products and services are the best and that the client would never look elsewhere. Often they mistakenly believe the customer is as passionate as they are about their products, whereas reality is that clients often continue to compare for quality and reassurance even during a working relationship.
- Sending marketing only to new target audiences and ignoring their present target audience. Don’t forget to engage with your current customers! If they are not reminded why they chose your company in the first place, there is a high chance they will forget.
- Stop offering incentives to their current clients. Just like any relationship if you do not continue to work hard at it, communicate effectively and constantly, the trust and relationship can fall apart. Maintaining that present relationship is much easier than building new ones.
- Having only one area/staff member for clients to contact. Just like customers, your staff will come and go. When a new person arrives into your company, you cannot expect them to know all the smaller aspects of what your client likes and dislikes, especially if they are not a key decision maker. Ensure there are multiple avenues to keep notes and maintain consistent information about your clientele for future staff.
- Networking without value. Many companies will encourage their staff to improve client relationships by talking about themselves while networking. Ensure your client engagement is surrounded by a topical point of the company where it can lead to multiple subjects, then lead to offers. This then benefits both parties and avoids wasted time and effort.
How To Fix The Problem
One way to ensure you are keeping your current clientele engaged and happy is by providing a link to a short survey after every interaction (at least once every quarter of the year). This could include examples of the following questions:
- Are you happy with our current services/what we are providing?
- Did we solve the problem you originally had?
- Has there been any other issues relating to the original problem?
- Is there anything else you would like us to provide in the way of services/customer usability?
- Is there anything we can do differently or improve on?
If you are guilty of one or more of these 5 mistakes, then I highly suggest that you put some time and effort on how to improve. Otherwise you are needlessly paying costs by losing your existing clients and many opportunities for further growth.
Michael Lang’s company SG Partners assist organisations in maximising their resources to grow their revenue, margins and marketshare. For more information www.sgpartners.com.au