We all know the stats. You know, the ones about how much cheaper it is to keep existing customers than acquire new ones? According to HubSpot, it’s actually 6-7x cheaper. Yet, so often, companies ignore those very customers that have gotten them to where they are today. The concept of “customer loyalty” has been boiled down to it’s base, with a startling amount of businesses viewing it as merely a plastic card that is scanned with every purchase that may or may not return any benefits. What is holding companies back from tapping into their most valuable customer resource?
Like most of the best relationships in business, the company-customer relationship is one built on reciprocal effort. To get your customers to feel the love, you have to show them some love. Too often, companies offer incentives to new customers, but neglect to pass on those same benefits to those who have been with them the longest. While the quality of your service or product has long been the main motivator keeping your customers coming back, it is slowly being eclipsed by the value of the experience. That’s not just the initial buying experience, either; that encapsulates every interaction or touchpoint that a customer has with your company (a key aspect of the customer experience as a whole that so many seem to forget). With a detailed catalog of every purchase ever made by your loyal customers and your knowledge of both their interests and their communication preferences, you have all of the tools necessary to enhance your repeat buyers’ experiences from front to back. For much less than it costs to invest in new customer acquisition, you are able to offer targeted perks to your most qualified prospects. Recognize them as a loyal customer, demonstrate that you value their loyalty, and you’ll show them that you really care.
Where does customer loyalty start? Is it the first purchase, the first touchpoint, or somewhere else? Actually, it starts with your employees. There is no customer loyalty without employee loyalty, because without them, your business can’t function. Like customers, employees need to feel that they are valued; as Shep Hyken always says “happy employees mean happy customers”. Creating brand ambassadors should not be merely focused on customers, as those at every level of your organization can be your biggest cheerleaders and will pass that enthusiasm on. So, make sure your team feels as appreciated as your customers. Nothing will motivate them to provide exemplary customer experiences like following the golden rule: treat others how you would want to be treated.
Current customers can often get lost between the cracks of sales and marketing initiatives. But, in truth, they are some of your most valuable assets, a veritable hot spring of potential revenue. Don’t forget that customer engagement is an ongoing process; both current and new customers require a lot of attention. By building loyalty with your employees, you can rest assured knowing that your customers will feel appreciated.
Want to build a base of loyal brand advocates? Start here.