In order to succeed in the long-run you must continuously grow your relationship with your customer. Growth only occurs when both parties increase their investment in each other; i.e. your customer buys more products and services from you and your organizations.
The first step in growing a customer account is building customer loyalty. Customer loyalty and loyalty programs are topics are vastly covered topics so I’ll share a couple things you can do nurture your relationship with your customersm, including:
- Terrific Service
- Frugal WoWs
- Shared Values
- Tiered Services
Let’s look at these in detail…
The #1 way to build customer loyalty is to provide great service. Great service means you care about your customers and shows you are willing to do whatever you can to support them.
If you’re looking for a reference on the topic, you should read about Zappo’s in Tony Hsieh’s book ‘Delivering Happiness’. Zappos built an empire on going above and beyond for it’s customers and putting their mantra ‘delivering happiness’ at the front-line of their customer service team. They share stories of helping customers with personal errands even having 10 hour phone calls to help out a customer in need.
There is nothing more appalling about a company than a bad experience with a customer service agent. Providing terrific service is the most effective way to ensure customers are satisfied with your company and will keep coming back for more.
A great definition for a “frugal wow” is Helpscout’s:
dazzling your customers with an incredible experience that is focused on your intentions and actions, not on how much you spend
The idea is that dazzling your customers isn’t as expensive and difficult as we think. Sometimes it’s as simple as a snack, a mint, or a free pen that makes a difference in the eyes of your customer’s experience.
Frugal wow’s should be built into your customer service and customer lifecycle. For example, you can send a welcome email/message for new customers and trigger a proactive contact once they’ve begun to use your products. A well-designed customer lifecycle includes frugal wow’s at multiple touch points; ensuring that your employees are consistently delivering service that exceeds your customer’s expectations.
WOW is often achieved in the details. A father’s day email. A little ‘congrats’ pop-up in the app. It’s the little things that make a big difference.
Shared values occurs when your customers feel a strong relationship for your brand. This phenomenon is often viewed in the lifestyle space (NIKE), but is not limited to it. It’s important to to make the difference, your customer doesn’t feel strongly about your company. They feel strongly about the values your company stands for.
In order to build shared values with your customers you should make your company’s values at the center of your brand and your product offering. The way you position and market your products should be built upon your values. You can also try to align you and your customer against a common enemy.
When your customers experience your brand, they are not only investing in your product but investing in their own set of beliefs. One of the most popular examples is Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign in 1997. Buying an apple product, not only meant buying a well-designed gadget. It helped customers reaffirm their belief that they were ‘rebels’ and change-makers.
The idea behind tiered services is to not treat all customers equally. Some customers might sign up for a basic plan and some customers might sign up for a premium service plan. The flexibility this gives you is that you can easily identify the customers that you want to become loyal customers and take the necessary steps to achieve it.
For example, you might give a couple of your growing customers on a basic plan a temporary free upgrade. The goal being to let them try out a couple of your products/services for free and then decide if they want to keep them. When it comes to your premium customers, you might want to save some exclusive offerings that only they have access to. Humans, and customers, like ‘feeling special’.
Treating your customers to benefits and added services is a great way to build customer loyalty.
The goal of this post was to provide you with some building blocks for turning your best customers into loyal customers.
Building loyalty is simply about engaging with your customers, connecting with their values, and delivering more value than you promised.
In the next post, I’ll cover how to transform customer loyalty and unlock the power of Customer Advocates.