In today’s irregular world you need to make sure your customers are loyal to your brand. Anastasia Tatsenko, Head of Sales and Customer Success at NetHunt CRM explains.
In the regular world, obtaining customer loyalty is an important goal for any business to achieve. But the world we are living in is far from regular. In this post-apocalyptic virus scenario, the tables have turned. Nowadays, customer retention is not just a yummy dessert but the main course: the bread and water; the filet mignon and wine of post-COVID business survival.
There’s been an understandable drop in disposable income, so consumers are significantly less willing to spend money. Perhaps that luxury purse or a premium Netflix subscription was not a necessity but rather a whim after all.
But it isn’t only customers trying to save up and avoid excessive spending. You know what they say though, work smarter, not harder. You can save up a lot of money by reevaluating your current strategy, which is exactly where customer retention comes to play. It’s a known fact that it costs five times less to retain a customer than it does to acquire one.
You need to focus on your customer retention strategy and make sure your customers are loyal to your brand! The best way to confront the post-COVID bounceback is to turn to what I call the “CARE strategy”. CARE is my personal approach to customer retention and it’s what works best for my clients.
- Closed feedback loops
- Assured personalisation
- Request- flexibility
- Expert Guidance.
All of these aspects comprise the most holistic approach to driving customer loyalty and guaranteeing success… even in a post-pandemic situation.
Closed Feedback Loops
A feedback loop is a process where outputs are drawn back in once a loop is finished and used again as inputs. In the business world, it means using your customers’ feedback to better the product you offer.
The formula is simple. To retain customers, you need to focus on them. The first rule of any customer-centric organisation is to ensure customer feedback loops are closed for good. Getting buyer feedback is terrific for analytics, product improvement, and marketing purposes. However, it’s closing feedback loops that turns average customers into brand advocates and promoters. When your customers see you’ve looked into their feedback and used it to make your products better, not only do they feel like their time spent leaving feedback was worth it, but they also feel proud to be a part of your company. This thrill and satisfaction will help your customers stay loyal to your brand.
The only condition is that you need to understand what counts as closing the loop and what doesn’t. For instance, sending automated messages with generic content is a perfect example of a poorly executed attempt to close a loop. It’s impersonal, expected, and detached from the unique customer experience; they don’t offer much value for the customer who is suggesting feedback.
On the other hand, here are some things you should do when closing feedback loops:
- Ensure you provide immediate visibility. Set expectations with your customers. Show them it’s tracked and taken into consideration by mentioning it somewhere along the way.
- Reward customers who are willing to collaborate with you.
- Ask follow-up questions.
- Differentiate between different types of customer and the feedback they give. There inevitably will be customers with unrealistic suggestions, so you need to make sure you know what can and cannot be done with your product.
At NetHunt, we let our customers know that their feedback made a difference, and we have improved the product based on what they requested. For us, it results in more loyalty and trust.
Personalisation refers to creating a product or providing a service that meets unique, individual requirements of your customers.
Personalisation deepens the bond between you and your customers, creating an emotional connection that drives them to repeat purchases. If you manage to show your customers that you put extra thought into the product you offer, and spend more time customising it to meet your customer’s specific needs, you’ll see a rapid boost in sales.
Just to prove my point here, remember when Coca Cola launched its ‘Share a Coke’ campaign? No matter how big of a Pepsi fan you are, I bet you spent a dollar or two to put a photo of your ‘personal can of Coke’ on Instagram; just because your name was on it. Even if you didn’t, you definitely know somebody who did. Stats please!
Coca Cola’s US soft drink sales increased by 0.4% year-on-year.
Enable just-in-time personalisation; It’s essential you systematically analyse the market to sense shifts in demand quickly. Be prompt when spotting the most vulnerable customers requiring the most attention. To do that, you need to combine both digital and real-life marketing data with current epidemiological models.
It turns out, dealing with all that information can still be a piece of cake. All you need is a reliable technology to have your back. Employing a CRM system helps with personalization, you just need to define user segments properly and set it up into the system. For example, NetHunt CRM allows its users to tag customers, segment them by certain criteria, create dedicated lists, and send personalised messages based on that.
Based on the current situation, you can add new tags and segment customers based on the extent to which they have been affected by the crisis.
If you have clients in the travel or hotel industry, you might understand that their business probably isn’t in the best shape, whereas businesses in healthcare and delivery are booming. With proper segmentation, you can dedicate communication channels to offering additional features for companies who benefit from the crisis in the long term, while proposing discounts or split payment options for clients in trouble.
Request-flexibility is the art of adjusting your business to meet the current needs of your customers in such a way that it is beneficial to both sides.
Although we have already survived the first wave of coronavirus and the lockdowns, it’s still too early to talk about any sort of certainty in life. You need to make sure you remain flexible if you want your customers to stay with you during such uneasy times.
A lot of businesses that were fine using your product and making a set order from you might not have the ability to pay for it now.
If you want your business to strive, be ready to change the conditions and meet your customers at the midpoint. Here are just some ways in which you can do that:
- If you have the profit margin, offer your clients individual discounts.
- Give them a payment holiday.
- Arrange terms for an extended warranty.
This helps you stand out. Don’t go without a fight, but make sure you’re using an appropriate weapon. Right now, you’re unlikely to fool someone with advanced marketing, so you need to add some real value. Don’t be ridiculous with discounts — a drop too significant looks dodgy and doesn’t just harm your revenue figures, but also your reputation through an inconsistent marketing mix.
Expert guidance is essentially assistance from a knowledgeable rep of your company that makes the life of your customers easier.
One way in which you can add value to your product is by excelling at guiding your customers. Ensuring your customer success team works hard is a job half done. Sometimes knowing you won’t have any difficulties or will have someone to talk to and get them resolved is the key factor to customer loyalty.
However, to provide expert-level guidance to your customers, you need to make sure you know exactly who you are dealing with: are they the ‘I can handle it myself, just tell me how’ or the ‘please help me’ type? Depending on the answer to that, the approach you should take differs a lot.
We are constantly reviewing the clients’ accounts to increase the depth of the system usage, show relevant features they are not using by the customer, and bring more order to their workflows.
Remember, just like Maya Angelou pointed out, people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Especially after the whole COVID madness when positive emotions are in such high demand.
About the Author
Anastasia Tatsenko is the Head of Sales and Customer Success at NetHunt CRM. Anastasia is a passionate sales leader and a perfect product-demonstrator. She’s keen on competitor analysis, sales operations, and partner negotiations.