Customers are more likely to be won over by good customer experiences than they are by points systems or rewards programs.
Customer relationship management is the key to building and maintaining customer loyalty. Rewards programs are fine, but even the best rewards program can’t make up for inadequate customer relationship management. If you want to boost customer loyalty, fix these seven things first to maximize impact.
1) Responsiveness of Customer Service
Improving excellence in customer service across all retail channels is perhaps the most important step any business can take to improve customer loyalty. A study by Zendesk showed that an astonishing 82% of consumers say they have stopped doing business with a company because of bad customer service. Fix this first, and you can make a real difference in loyalty.
2) The Customer Feedback Loop
Customer feedback isn’t just for customer-facing employees. It should extend to many (if not most) other departments. For example, if a significant proportion of customers find a product difficult to use, the product development and engineering teams need to know. Therefore, it’s essential that customer service teams collect relevant data, and that the data be categorized, analyzed and shared with all appropriate departments to develop the best plan of action.
3) The Checkout Process
The more “friction” you can remove from the checkout process, the better. People are used to one-click ordering, ordering online and collecting in person at big box stores, self-checkout in retail stores and other conveniences. If your checkout process is clumsy or inefficient, you could lose customers who are willing to shift their loyalties to providers that make buying things easier.
4) The Returns Process
Just as having a frictionless checkout process improves loyalty, having a reasonable returns process that minimizes hassle to the consumer makes a difference. If a customer finds that returning a product is a baffling ordeal, they may go elsewhere (and even pay a bit more), especially if they know the other provider’s returns process is easy.
5) Corporate Social Responsibility
Consumers – particularly younger ones – want brand messaging and corporate actions to align with their values. And they want the corporations with which they do business to act responsibly in regard to the environment and the community. Businesses that either neglect corporate social responsibility, or that say one thing while acting in contradictory ways, will have a harder time maintaining loyalty.
6) Usefulness of Surveys
Online surveys can be outstanding tools for learning more about customers and how they relate to your products and services. But you have to ask the right people the right questions, and correctly analyze survey results. Furthermore, you have to act on those results. You can also amplify positive survey results as a marketing tool. Getting online surveys right can be a challenge, but when you do, you can make powerful changes that increase customer loyalty.
7) Attention to and Tracking of Customer Data
Customer interactions yield massive amounts of data that businesses can use to make changes that increase customer loyalty. Star ratings, review volume and search impressions provide data you can dig into and gain insights from, if you have the right tools. But you can’t just set it and forget it. Customers and markets change, so you have to track customer data over time. Doing this can highlight important trends and help you learn what you’re doing well, and what opportunities you have to improve.
Learning about, monitoring and tracking your business reputation is key to customer relationship management and customer loyalty. If you’re ready to take action to improve customer loyalty, click here to learn more about the Reputation.com Actions solution.