“You can’t please everyone all the time.”
You probably first heard this quote when you were a child, from a trusted adult who was trying to free you of the burden of trying to be everything to everyone.
In business, it sure would be nice if this quote weren’t true. But the harsh reality is that you aren’t equally pleasing to all your customers.
If you have supreme confidence that every single one of your customers is deeply satisfied, it’s just because you aren’t hearing from the dissatisfied ones. According to Lee Resources, for every customer complaint you receive, there are 26 more customers who are unhappy but never complain. Or, at least, they don’t complain to you. The White House Office of Consumer Affairs reports that a dissatisfied customer will tell anywhere between 9 and 15 people about their experience. 13% of dissatisfied customers will tell 20 or more people.
And with the Internet, just one of those conversations can have exponential impact. You don’t have to imagine what happens if a bad review or Tweet goes viral, because those examples surround us every day, harming brand reputation and ultimately contributing to business losses.
The best customer loyalty ideas and outcomes originate when you accept that not everyone will be happy all the time. This allows you to anticipate and understand the events that make customers happy or unhappy, put procedures into place so employees know how to respond, and celebrate customers for sticking with you and growing the relationship. Those steps are the three keys to long term customers. In the list below we explore each step in turn.
1. Make Customer Retention a Priority
Every customer’s long-term relationship with your company is defined by a series of inflection points. These are the touchpoints where customers will need more from you. This could be more information, additional services, reminders about maintenance, or troubleshooting.
These inflection points aren’t just an opportunity for you to understand your customers better, but also part of your responsibility to recognize and initiate. Even when these inflection points are triggered by something in your customer’s world, it is part of building loyalty for your employees to reach out. This will look different for different companies. A financial services provider might schedule employee outreach according to a specific timeline based around events like tax season or quarterly statements. A software provider, on the other hand, might reach out based on different less-predictable situations like when the client makes a new hire or an important update being released.
Waiting for customers to reach out means you are going to miss many problems that surface for them along the way. You may also be leaving room for small, easily-resolved issues to become big breaking points that ultimately cause you to lose their business. Therefore, it’s essential to take a proactive approach to communication and reach out to learn if customers are unhappy, and why.
As part of this outreach, it’s important to establish defined processes and success metrics for your employees to fall back on. Each team member needs a structured way to follow up about the customer’s experience and current unmet needs. This allows customer retention to be built in as part of the employee objectives and achieved on timelines that keep employees excited about customer retention.
Without these processes in place, each individual employee will be deciding for themselves what is most important about the customer experience—and sometimes if an employee is disengaged, they might not consider the customer experience important at all. Even employees who want to do well might prioritize the short-term win that gets the problem off their desk versus the long-term solution that addresses the customer’s needs.
2. Plan to Reward Customer Loyalty Examples
Companies that do an excellent job retaining long-term customers will achieve a huge competitive advantage. According to findings by NOP Market Research Group, reducing customer turnover can increase profits by as much as 85%. The same study found that increasing customer retention doesn’t have to be a complicated process. In 35% of cases, customers said a simple apology for the miscommunication or poor service would have been enough to win a second chance at keeping their business. But in 73% of cases, businesses made no attempt at all to convince customers to stay.
The second key to inspiring long-term loyalty in your customers is encouraging employees to actively work at customer retention. This means a back-end plan to identify and reward the behaviors you want in employees. These processes could even include training on ideas like “what are the types of customer loyalty?” When employees understand there are different motivations and emotions behind the loyalties of different customers, they’ll be able to target responses and prioritize the retention of your most lucrative loyal customers in meaningful ways.
3. Monitor and Grow Customer Engagement
Once customer retention is a defined and established part of your processes, it becomes simple to take small daily steps that celebrate your most loyal customers and help those who are less-loyal grow their emotional attachment to your business.
What are the 3 levels of brand loyalty? These are lazy loyals, limited loyals, and lucrative loyals.
- Lazy loyals are convenience customers. They may not truly be loyal at all, so it may not be a valuable focus to try and grow their attachment.
- Limited loyals are long-term repeat buyers who want to be convinced their relationship with your brand has meaning. Through recognition and celebration, their loyalty can be deepened.
- Lucrative loyals are connected customers who are truly passionate and excited about your business. They are not only a source of revenue, but of referrals and positive feedback about how your brand is doing well and can grow.
The key to attracting and growing your base of lucrative loyals is repeatable processes. One customer service representative can take one isolated action that makes one customer happy. But without a system in place to make these efforts repeatable you won’t truly know what works and what doesn’t. Customer recognition and celebration has to be strategic, measurable, and repeatable to grow long-term loyalty.
Implement Company-Wide Customer Loyalty Processes with Alignmint Growth Strategies
By now, we can understand and outline at least three examples of why customer loyalty is important, as well as the three process steps that make customer loyalty a systematic part of operations. That starts with simply choosing that customer loyalty should be a priority. Think of this like signing up for a gym membership—you have decided to get in shape! But that effort looks different for each person. Determining your key inflection points where customers may become happy or unhappy is like coming up with a personalized exercise plan. Putting the systemic processes in place to follow up during inflection points is like showing up to the gym on a schedule. Starting to celebrate and recognize your customers is like getting stronger and increasing the scope of your workout accordingly.
It won’t happen quickly, but with small efforts applied daily, customer retention becomes a healthy habit. Working with Alignmint Growth Strategies is like hiring a personal trainer. We look at the current state of your operations and objectively determine the key exercises and improvements that must happen first. Then we help you grow from that foundation to achieve long-term wellness and happier customers. We are here to help your business grow exponentially and crowd out the competition. Let’s talk today!