What activities can you, as a small business owner, chop up directly to get loyal customers?
1. Focus on employee engagement
There are three major trends and the paradigm shift in customer loyalty and the first is that employee engagement is generally poor.
So when an entrepreneur asks: How should I think about getting loyal customers? Well, start looking at your own organization. Is everyone involved in the customer journey? Is everyone focused on helping customers whether they call you or your employees? Having committed employees is extremely important. Loyalty thus begins with the fact that you and your organization must have their own commitment if you are to succeed with loyalty.
2. Focus on customer experience
The other major trend is that the customer experience is gaining an increasing place in relation to price and product performance. According to a survey by Forrester, the customer experience will be completely superior to price and product performance by 2020. We already see that today, for example in the telecom and construction industries. Many are fighting for the same customers, with about the same prices and the same products or services.
Here, the customer experience will play a big role in all other industries as well. As an entrepreneur, you have to work with your customer relationships and show added value. So it is not enough just to have good products and the right prices. You should invite customers and let them think about your product or service. Let customers join in and develop with you.
The highest level of loyalty is when customers become your ambassadors. They should want to recommend you further, but then you have to be good at letting them in to think about what you are doing.
3. Think gamification and get effects
It has been a trend since 2014, but now we notice that there is a paradigm shift. We believe that “Gamification in Business” will be the norm for companies that are successful in the future. Gamification is not a game without thinking about the game mechanics and triggers of the game world. That is, feedback directly on your performance, feedback, and reward. Everything is connected and giving a bonus afterward a year later is completely out of date. In the “gamification world,” you think of active points to measure for the benefit of both you and the customer.
For example, let customers get points for buying, being active – attending customer meetings, responding to campaigns and more, giving tips to new customers or answering simple quizzes. We are generally too poor at knowing what customers really want and what they really know about you and the company. Just as the big companies are already doing this, you as a small business can also embrace gamification and put loyalty in systems.
Do not forget that the largest additional sales are usually found with the already existing customers and it is through these that you get greater growth. But you have to work on this systematically, then you will have effects!
4. Vary the connector – use multiple channels
Switch between physical meetings, emails, SMS and social media when you contact your customers. You send out news and offers that make customers want to keep in touch with your company. The important thing when sending out information is that you have a “call to action” – not only that a message is sent but that your customers can also act, for example, sign up for something or click on. Also, keep in mind that your customers work mobile. More than half-open newsletters with their smartphones and then the information must be tailored to it.
5. Prioritize old customers…
Many focus on finding new customers instead of investing more or at least as much time on existing relationships and increasing their sales to them. Value the customer relationships you already have and build a business and quality assure them. We must not forget that we live in a time where time is actually an important factor. So make simple, ready-made packages or solutions to make it easy for customers to buy from you. Show that it is fun to do business with you. Also, invest in surrounding services that strengthen you as a supplier.
6.… and invest in the right customers!
If we look at a loyalty pyramid, it is said that 20 percent of customers account for 80 percent of sales. The 10–20 percent highest in the loyalty pyramid are your ambassadors, and of course you should be afraid of and actively continue to encourage you to participate and develop your business.
The large mass in the middle (60–80 percent) are satisfied and quiet customers. This is where you have your greatest potential for growth and increased sales. If the customer asks, demands and wants more, this is a clear sign that the customer is engaged. You should definitely encourage that!
At the bottom of the pyramid are the 10-20 percent that are negative no matter how good it is. Often it is those who complain and have their views. They are rarely profitable and it is quite common as small business owners to spend far too much time on these. Maybe you should consider whether they should be your customers at all. You should be clear that you cannot save everyone.
7. Work long term
No matter what activities you invest in, you need to work with customer loyalty. You must keep in mind that this is a long-term strategic investment. You can’t say, “Now I’m going to work a bit with customer loyalty and by fall, it should be done.” It’s an ongoing job over time. Many small businesses – and even larger companies – are so in the middle of here and now. You are extremely ad hoc. You need to raise your eyes and think long-term to be successful.