Acquiring and retaining customers is ultra-important in the highly competitive ecommerce marketplace. Ecommerce stores and other online enterprises are making significant investment in their customer loyalty and referrals strategies, recognising that existing customers spend much more than new customers and new clients referred by loyal customers have a much higher lifetime value.
Brand loyalty fosters brand advocacy. People who love a brand will tend to tell their friends and family which is extremely powerful and influential word-of-mouth marketing. It should therefore be obvious that you need to pay attention to your customer retention strategies for 2019.
Understand Your Customers
For your customer loyalty strategies to stand a chance of success you really need to understand your customer. Who are they? Where are they? What do they want? What is their shopping behaviour and what trends are you seeing?
Tap into your existing customer data and consider surveying your customers to find out more about their personal experiences. This will help to create targeted, personalised communications that will engage your customers and make them feel part of the brand family.
Build Brand Loyalty
Recognise that customer service influences brand loyalty. When your customers contact your business they need to have a great experience. You need to ensure that you know who they are, what they have purchased from you in the past and the complete history of their interaction with your business. Your customer service agents, sales people and everyone who comes into contact with your customers must be fully versed in how to make your customers happy.
Offer an Attainable Rewards Program
Keep in mind that your customer rewards program, like all aspects of your customer communications, is a direct reflection of your brand and your brand values. Your rewards program should be simple, easily understood, inclusive, recognised as valuable and reflect your brand values.
It’s important to recognise that your customers will be engaged in rewards programs from multiple suppliers so your rewards program needs something special to make it stand out and be noticed. Try to come up with something that is entirely unique, totally relevant to your brand and readily attainable. Small rewards which are relatively easy for customers to gain will do more for your brand loyalty than huge rewards which are appealing, but very difficult to win.
Personalize all Communications
Customer loyalty programs that make people feel special attract far higher levels of customer satisfaction. All communications through every available channel need to be personalized. This not only means using the customer’s name but also recognising their purchase histories, their interactions with your brand and their involvement with your rewards program and what that has done for them.
And personalization goes two ways. Your customer communications should come from named staff members and not a faceless group such as ‘the marketing team’.
Be Socially Responsible
Young people expect businesses to have socially responsible priorities and not to be solely focused upon making a profit. Consumers are increasingly more likely to remain loyal to brands which share their passions. People will even pay a little more for products and services when they know they are provided by organisations and companies which demonstrate commitment to positive social and environmental causes.
Don’t Forget Your Staff
An important aspect of customer loyalty and retention that is sometimes overlooked is staff loyalty. Keeping your employees happy is both great for your business and contributes to the happiness of your customers. Engaged, happy employees who have an emotional commitment to your business, are most likely to be your biggest and best brand advocates.
Your employees will be speaking to your customers and clients on a daily basis so it’s absolutely vital that these interactions are always positive and upbeat. Happy, engaged employees who have positive experiences of your business will convey their positivity through their client communications.
Another important point to consider with regard to employee satisfaction and its influence on customer retention is that employees who are engaged are significantly more productive than staff members who aren’t. Employees who are disengaged tend to be far less productive and are far less likely to deliver a positive experience when in contact with customers. Motivating your valuable employees in 2019 and ensuring high levels of staff satisfaction and happiness will lead to increased customer retention and satisfaction.
Chatbots and AI for Customer Engagement
Within a couple of years it is likely that the vast majority of customer interactions with businesses will not involve human agents. Chatbots are highly effective in resolving common issues and answering typical questions. Artificial intelligence is being used to enable chatbots to effectively converse with customers. This technology is being recognised by many organisations as a highly effective customer engagement mechanism that supports improved customer satisfaction and customer relations. If you have not yet considered chatbot technology then 2019 might be the year in which you should.
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