Did you know it costs almost 5–10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one? But wait, there’s more. Current customers spend 67% more than new customers. By golly gosh! If you plan to stay in business, you’ve got to think about customer loyalty—pronto.¹
Customer loyalty matters. It’s a mistake to focus an unequal amount of time only on prospecting and bringing in new customers, and leave things like retention to chance or ignore it all together. It’s a mistake to think you don’t need any type of loyalty drivers. It’s your repeat and loyal customers that’ll help keep you in business.
How to Use Customer Loyalty to Hit the Repeat Sales Jackpot
Consumers desperately want people and businesses they can rely on for their needs. Customers don’t necessarily want to buy from dozens of companies—that requires more work on their part to vet everyone.
Customers want to give away their loyalty to you! It makes their lives that much easier. They want their trusty few that deliver solutions they need on time, every time.
Let’s look at how to use customer loyalty to hit the repeat sales jackpot.
Loyalty Driver #1. Survey Your Customers
OK, you probably weren’t expecting this one first.
Surveying your customers is a perfect way to show them you actually CARE about their opinions. Why do you think cable companies survey you after each service call, interaction, or inbound call? They know that while asking someone to take a survey can be a nuisance, the act of asking itself is a loyalty driver.
We all want to be heard. Surveying customers gives them an opportunity to talk to you in a non-threatening way, and it can boost loyalty. Studies show a direct link between ongoing, consistent surveying and customer satisfaction.
Loyalty Driver #2. Create a “Taste Test Panel”
Ask a selection of your top customers to volunteer to be part of your taste test panel. Not only is this an easy way to get an invested captive audience, you’ll identify your most die-hard fans and can look for ways to clone them.
We typically think of a taste test as a comparison between two competing products. However, you can use this same concept to give customers an exclusive first look at new products or services. If they’re the first to know and give their opinions, you can easily get buy-in—and buy-in translates to loyalty.
Everyone wants to feel special. Ask your taste test panel:
- What they like or don’t like about a new product or service.
- What should or shouldn’t be included.
- How your products can be improved.
What you’re really doing is tapping into the “IKEA effect.” The IKEA effect is a bias that human beings have which places a disproportionately high value on products they partially create or help to build. Translation: if they’re a part of “building” your new product or service, they’ll automatically feel stronger value toward it. This, my friends, translates into loyalty.
Loyalty Driver #3. Create an Outreach Program
Check in, call them, send an email, or drop a note in the mail.
Create an outreach program with the sole purpose of generating more loyalty. Here are a few things you can do:
- After a purchase, drop a note to say: “How are you enjoying your new product or service? Is there anything I can help you with?”
- Call your top customers once a quarter. Remember the 80/20 rule: The Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Focus time on your most important customers.
- Send a birthday card.
- Send a handwritten note letting them know a new product is on the horizon and to be on the lookout.
- Send a reminder. If it’s time for a customer to renew, update, or re-subscribe, remind customers. This increase your convenience factor, and convenience translates into loyalty!
— Angela Murphy✏? (@justpositionit) February 20, 2017
Loyalty Driver #4. Create a Loyalty Program
You saw this one coming, right? Develop a formal loyalty or rewards program.
Here are a few more statistics that demonstrate the importance of loyalty.
- The estimated cost of customers switching due to poor service is $1.6 trillion (Accenture)
- 81% of consumers admit that it is frustrating dealing with a company that does not make it easy to do business with them (Accenture)
- Once a provider loses a customer, 68% of consumers will not go back (Accenture)
If you’re considering the creation of a loyalty program or want to analyze your existing one, here are some important questions you should ask yourself:
- What are the business objectives for developing a loyalty program? Retain customers? Improve satisfaction? Grow sales?
- What would be meaningful for our customers to receive from us?
- Are money and rebates enough?
- Do we have the internal resources to start and maintain a meaningful loyalty program?
- Should we survey existing customers to get feedback and buy-in on our new or existing loyalty program? See Loyalty Driver #2.
- How can a loyalty program enhance the customer experience?
- How can we glean loyalty program best practices from the airline industry?
- How can our loyalty program tie to our brand?
- How can we infuse personalization into our loyalty program?
Loyalty Driver #5. Say Thank You
Is there any better way to say to someone—“You mean something to me; you’ve affected my life in a positive way; I appreciate what you’ve done; I have gratitude toward you”—than offering a heartfelt thank you?
There’s data-backed evidence demonstrating the power of saying thank you and its impact on loyalty.
Harvard Business School Associate Professor Francesca Gino explored, among many topics, the science of gratitude in her book, Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan. In two of the gratitude experiments, Gino asked 57 students to give feedback to a fictitious student, Eric, regarding his sloppy cover letter for a job. Half were emailed an abrupt confirmation that read, “I received your feedback on my cover letter.” The other half received gratitude that read, “I received your feedback on my cover letter. Thank you so much! I am really grateful.”
When Gino measured the students’ sense of self-worth afterward, 25% of the group that received just an acknowledgment felt higher levels of self-worth, compared with 55% of the group that received thanks. This revealing research tells us that offering a thank-you not only causes the recipient of the thank you to feel good about themselves and be willing to help you in the future, but they’re also more willing to help others!
I talk more about this research in my book, 51 Ways to Thank Your Clients & Customers. This book features outstanding ways to make customers and clients feel good and develop strong feelings of loyalty toward you, your products and services, or your company.
— Angela Murphy✏? (@justpositionit) February 18, 2017
Loyalty Driver #6. Collect Testimonials
So, you may be scratching your head on this one. Hear me out! LOL
Testimonials are one of the most important assets your business has and should be used for not only prospecting, but also for customer loyalty. When a customer provides a testimonial, they actually become more loyal to your business. Think about it. Openly giving a testimonial is similar to taking marriage vows in front of your friends and family. It’s a powerful oath.
In addition, customers who consume these testimonials get the positive reinforcement they need to validate their decision to remain a customer.
Building off of this concept, you can start a Referral Program. Those that refer you are likely to become even more loyal.
The Bottom Line
Customer loyalty matters. Take the time to think through how you plan to keep customers retained and happy. While it’s clearly critical to focus on prospecting and bringing new customers into your business, it’s your repeat and loyal customers that’ll help keep you in business.
You May Also Like
- 25 Strategies to Grow Your Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty (based on The Five Love Languages). Click here.
- 6 Ways to Make People Fall in Love with Your Product or Service. Click here.
- 10 Important Ways You Should Analyze Your Business to Gain Marketing Strategy Insights. Click here.