One of the biggest slaps in the face is when a long-time customer changes sides and chooses a competitor.
Loyalty, especially brand loyalty, seems to be a trait that's not only hard to encourage within your audience, but one they almost seem to actively avoid. Because of this, customers slip out of your grip as easily as a wet fish wriggling desperately for freedom, going from company to company in an effort to fulfill their needs.
The only way to catch them for good is to get them in a net—the net of customer loyalty. As you create a strong customer experience focused on cultivating loyalty, your customers will develop a relationship of trust with you and you will be more likely to retain them.
But how to do that will be unique to your customers; however, there are some common factors and tools that will help you.
Low Customer Lifetime Value
A key indicator that measures your ability to retain customers is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) or Lifetime Value (LTV). It is the calculation of the profit margin a company expects to earn over the entirety of their business relationship with the average customer.
When the CLV is low, the average length of business relationships are lower, as are profits. To up the average, you need to turn a customer into an advocate. Which means two things: improve your customer experience (CX) and online presence.
In this ever increasing online world, a great customer experience is becoming both paramount and harder to implement. Liz Greene expressed in the Digital Marketing Institute’s blog:
“Before social media existed, consumers might have shared a poor customer service experience with a few family members, close friends, and co-workers. However, once Twitter and Facebook became prevalent platforms, ... customers gained the ability to broadcast … to an almost infinite audience.”
The best way to both embrace and combat the fickle environment of social is with social listening and monitoring. With social monitoring, companies gain the ability to listen to their customers at all times, and through social listening (the actionable extension of social monitoring), they can use insights to inform and enact strategies that resonate with customers.
A necessary strategy to increase your customer experience is to have actual conversations with customers. Through social listening, you can know exactly where the conversations around your brand are happening and engage with them in real-time!
Nuvi Engage, partnered with Listen, is a powerful tool that helps you organize all direct communication with your potential and existing customers. You can address customer concerns as well as simply engage in normal correspondences. Customers want to be treated like humans. And the best way to do that is for companies to act like humans themselves.
As further motivation, research Nuvi conducted on the power of strong customer experience strategies revealed that 87% of consumers who rate a company’s CX as “very good” report being very likely to repurchase from that company, compared with only 18% of those who gave a “very poor” CX rating.
Engaging with your audience not only improves your customer experience journey, but also your online presence. As you engage with your customers, you create relationships built on emotional connections.
One emotion that companies should strategically work to engender in customers is pride.
As you go about developing the brand culture between you and your customers, you must make one your customers are proud of.
Several years ago, Yoplait focused on developing their customers’ brand pride in response to heavy competition.
“Yoplait recently found itself contending with an influx of newer brands, including the Greek yogurt brand, Chobani, that emphasize and compete on meaningful connections to authentic food traditions.
In response, Yoplait pivoted toward a focus on customer relevance. Yoplait found that consumers often take pride in using products with a connection to an authentic national tradition — whether Italian olive oil, or Greek and Icelandic yogurt. Recognizing that its long history of making French yogurt could be turned into a market advantage, it embraced a traditional French method in which yogurt is cultured and sold in small individual glass pots. As a yogurt executive at General Mills noted, “The simplicity of this idea, that this is a French method, coming from a French brand, with a French name — that’s authenticity.” It is also something both Yoplait and its customers can take pride in.” - Harvard Business Review Marketers Need to Stop Focusing on Loyalty and Start Thinking About Relevance
One of the best ways to make them proud is to show that you value what they have to say. You can do this through (1) showing that you listen to customer concerns, as Yoplait did, (2) responding quickly, and (3) putting their content up for all to see.
Again, engaging with your audience in real-time shows that you want to know them and care about what they think. However, that perception can be ruined if you don’t back it up through other actions.
One of the biggest ways to reinforce that perception is to listen to customer feedback and make products better or launch a new line based on issues current products might not be solving. Social listening allows you to get that insight in an observational and unsolicited manner.
Answering customer queries or concerns as quickly as possible makes a world of difference. 74% of customers expect a response within the hour! Phew! How many of you have a team or budget that can handle that?
With Nuvi Engage, you can create automatic responses. For example, one of these responses might tell a customer that you hear their concern, but need a few minutes before you can respond. Just letting them know you aren’t leaving them hanging and then keeping your promise can alleviate any hard feelings customers may develop if they are not responded to quickly.
Reviews, User-Generated Content, and Employee-Generated Content
Another strong method to engender pride is demonstrating that you trust them. Ask them to share experiences with your brand that you’ve seen them share on social on your review pages. Customers will be excited to feel they are a part of the company and that their experience meant that much to you.
Nuvi Review is focused on helping you find new customers by connecting with your current ones. The simple, intuitive interface, for you and customers, allows you to easily send review invitations through text or email, monitor the progress, and send reminders.
Similarly, you can ask to feature their story on your social or blog. This is an even bigger way to show how much you value your customers.
Now, we know there is always the worry that what they say may not reflect well on your brand, but people who are willing to share their experiences usually feel loyal enough to take well constructed feedback as they want your brand to succeed. Show you trust them by working with them.
Nuvi Capture and Plan are two methods through which you can make sure employee-generated content and user-generated content is on brand.
Nuvi Capture expands your content-creating capabilities by giving your employees an easy-to-use photo app. Take photos, get required signatures for media sharing, schedule posts, save to a shared gallery between multiple locations/brands, and post to social channels right from the app. The app is available in Apple’s Appstore.
Nuvi Plan utilizes a permission system and process so user-generated content is seen, edited, and approved by the right people. Content is only published when it is in the scheduled column.
Customers want to know they are valued. So show them they are.
A PR crisis is ripe with negative emotions: customers are angry and your company is stressed
Companies usually save face by either not responding or writing short responses that barely apologize. Neither are necessarily wrong or right as each situation calls for a different response. But what really matters is what your customers are wanting to hear.
Your customers may want to hear a sincere apology, to hear the whole story, or to simply have the opportunity to talk with you directly through social media. You’ll only know by monitoring the conversations around the crisis and by having a good understanding of your audience beforehand.
Customers are much more likely to forgive you if they already have a good relationship with you. So it’s important to keep in mind throughout all customer experience strategy implementation that relationships go both ways. You need to make sure they know you. The more they know you, the more likely they are to accept your side of the story, if you choose to share it, and stick around after the crisis is over.
This means you need to prepare now for a crisis by developing genuine relationships through consistent effort. And what consistent effort means for your company and team may be different from others and that’s ok and preferred. Customers want genuine human interaction. Be genuine as much as your constraints (budget, team size, etc) allow.
Additionally, social monitoring and Nuvi’s alert system allows you to see when negative sentiment is rising. You can easily investigate and find the source so you can get on top of the situation immediately. Define your position to the crisis and act. If an apology is needed, don’t shy away from it. Just make sure to specify what changes will be implemented to make sure the issue doesn’t happen again. By seeing the issue as it develops and acting quickly, you can prevent a crisis before it becomes one.
Remember, managing your reputation is a consistent effort, but so is customer experience. So why not make them one and the same?
The more customers you secure in your net through good customer experience practices and tools that enable you to enact those practices, the better you will be able to retain your customers. Request a demo to learn more!