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Knowledge is Power (and Profit)
How many of you are experts in your chosen fields? One of the most valuable and often overlooked tools we possess as industry experts is the wealth of knowledge we have ourselves. But the real question lies in how many of you are truly translating this knowledge into achieving one of the most profitable and rewarding business goals - loyal customers.
The Benefits of Loyal Customers Loyal customers are often fundamental to the success and future security of any business. The benefits of retaining these customers are plentiful and can provide your business with the greatest time and financial gains if maximised. Generally, Loyal Customers ...
Spend More As customers become increasingly loyal, they will often invest more of their money into the business as they already trust/ like doing business you and if they know your full range of services/products (and how they relate to them) will spend more.
Cost Less The marketing and promotional costs that are involved in obtaining new clients can often be extremely high; therefore clients that voluntarily and continually return to your business do not require such efforts and consequently, cost less to service.
Refer your Business It is important to note that there is a difference between customer loyalty and 'convenience'. Loyal customers are emotionally attached to your business, meaning they believe you are providing them above normal great service. This often leads customers to feel appreciated and 'special.' Remember, satisfied customers will generally refer your business to others.
Are Less Price Sensitive Customers who are loyal to a business are generally less sensitive to changes in the price of goods or services. They would often prefer to stay with the business and pay a little extra, than opt out and deal with an unfamiliar business provider.
Are More Forgiving Once a customer has dealt with a business for a certain period of time, service failures will generally be received in a more favourable light in comparison to those who have not dealt with your business before.
How Can We Create Loyal Customers? We all know the facts and figures. It costs five times more to sell to new customers over existing ones and that 80% of all business will be derived from only 20% of our clients. Yet, it is often staggering to find out just how many businesses ignore the importance of retaining loyal customers - especially when this process is made extremely simple by utilizing one of the most convenient and powerful mediums - the Internet.
The Internet has revolutionised the way in which businesses interact with existing and potential clients; allowing for fast, often automated, successful and cost-effective communication that can reach elusive clients in the fast-paced society of the present day. There are many online strategies you can implement to begin attracting loyal customers, below we have picked our favourite 5 for you to consider.
Quick Tips It is important for customers to feel like you are not solely there to process transactions and exchange money. To make customers feel appreciated, you can send out helpful tips or ideas that run randomly on your website or be delivered to clients via a quick, simple email. By seemingly providing useful "information" for free, your clients will view this as a value-add, you'll position your business as generous, and you'll find that you'll be more likely to retain loyal customers for longer (as well as reduce the number of regular simple calls to your business).
Guides and Updates You can also send out guides to your customers that are time-savers, money-makers or even just quick knowledge updates. Simply determine your client's key objectives and then create a guide which features your product/service as the solution to their problem. Consider also including some solutions that can be solved with a new product or upgrade to increase your cross and up-selling prospects. A series of guides can be sent in succession using a series of automated emails that are distributed to your clients in according to a pre-determined timeframe, or held within a secure area on your website that only clients can access. This has the ability to make clients feel they are part of an 'exclusive' club and are receiving benefits that 'browsing' customers are not entitled to.
Workshops Involving clients in activities outside mere service/product delivery can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Workshops are a highly leveraged way to invite clients (and their friends) to learn more about your business and share with them your wealth of knowledge and experience. This will in turn increase their involvement in your business, thus improving client relationships and repeat purchase. Workshops are also a great way to introduce your loyal customers to your entire product range, or launch a new product/service or upgrade. You can also use workshops as a way to leverage the time of your sales people, attract new prospects, sell directly to your customers, or as a cross-promotional tool with other businesses.
Common Forms / Check sheets Simplifying the way in which customers do business with you, can add to their perception of service quality. Plus, by automating your processes your staff can do a lot more in a lot less time. Consider sending forms and check sheets to your clients via email or provide a link readily available on your website. By automating your common processes, you'll be making your business a breeze to interact with, which will aid in repeat patronage and satisfaction.
Short Editorials It is important for customers to feel like they are dealing with a knowledgeable company that are experts in their field. Short editorials are a great way to convey your experience and showcase your knowledge to educate, inspire and inform your client base. These can be sent out as quick emails, e-books or as part of your newsletters.
In summary, your knowledge is a valuable tool that can be used to further your business and sustain loyal customers. Take a look at your business and you'll find many different ways that you can impart your knowledge onto your client base*, many of which can be mass-marketed by using either the Internet or an eMedium. Remember, the benefits of loyal customers cannot be underestimated.
*we have only touched on a few strategies in this editorial. If you would like to learn what specific strategies you could apply to your business and how, we suggest you speak to a certified WSA member