Customer expectations are at an all-time high and e-commerce allows consumers to shop around for the best deals, all of which means that businesses have to strategize better to create customer loyalty. A strategic after-sales process can help earn loyalty and retain business long-term. It widens your organizational focus from finding new customers to the huge potential in your existing client database.
Businesses that care for their customers and deliver quality service and a positive experience are more likely to see repeat purchases. According to a survey conducted by Which, the largest consumer body in the UK, customer service has an impact on their choice of brand for eight out of 10 respondents. And four out of 10 said they would be happy to pay more for better customer service. Additionally, in a KANA Software survey of 2,000 UK consumers, almost 30 percent said their loyalty to retail brands had decreased over the last five years. One-quarter of those respondents identified poor customer service as the main reason for their decreased loyalty.
So how do you create a personalized after-sales experience that supports customer retention and business generation? Follow the five tips below.
Know your customers.
Maintaining a lasting relationship with customers is crucial. When you contact existing or potential customers every two or three months, it helps build and sustain awareness, and sends a message that you care about your service or product. Also, it’s a great way to find out if customers are happy, boost loyalty and determine if there is an opportunity to upsell. You’ll want to explore CRM tools that allow you to store your client database alongside any data that can help the relationship blossom.
Personalize the customer experience.
The web can feel impersonal, so it’s essential to create an experience that is both personal and memorable. Brands that have a personalized customer service do far better than those that are business-like, according to a study by Twitter. “Customers are looking for a humanized connection,” said Meghann Elrhoul, Twitter research manager. “They want to feel that they are talking to a real person and having that personalization helps add that component. This is an easy step that brands can take to forge the relationship.”
Website recommendations are another way to create a personalized service. “Personalized experiences are more engaging, entertaining, memorable and inspiring for audiences, which ultimately drives satisfaction, sales and loyalty,” said Georgia Marshall-Brown, a digital strategist with Origin, a UK marketing agency. “The results speak for themselves with 35 percent of Amazon’s revenue generated by its recommendation engine and 75 percent of users selecting movies based on Netflix’s recommendations.”
Understand website optimization.
Your website is one of the most important visual aspects of your business. Analyze Google Analytics regularly. If you find that many visitors don’t convert, introduce a conversion heat map tool, such as HotJar. This tool records and allows you to view a visitor’s activity on your site, highlighting where individual users click. This can alert you to site issues you may not be aware of. Perhaps a toolbar needs to be moved for a better user experience, or your category pages confuse visitors. These insights into how your customers behave will help you create an easier, more personalized experience.
Use social media effectively.
Over the last decade, social media has become increasingly important to the customer-service process, and customers now have access to wide range of social channels. It’s easier than ever to judge whether a brand is reputable and provide instantaneous feedback.
Social media gives power to customers, so it is important to embrace the technology and recognize that it is essential to the customer experience. “Pay attention to the brands and the organizations that are interacting with your customers, [the brands] that are completely outside of your category. Because they’re setting the standard for how people expect to interact going forward,” said Julie Hopkins, research director at Gartner. “The standard for engagement is not being set by your prior relationship with that customer.”
Use social media to its full potential by publicizing positive feedback, highlighting discount deals and sharing company news. Populate your blog and promote it on social media. It’s a great way to increase engagement and interaction.
Reward your loyal customers.
One of the most obvious ways to generate after-sales is by rewarding loyal customers. You can create reward schemes that provide access to special discounts or to free trial products. And if you make a mistake, admit it to your customers; it will keep them on your side and create an understanding of the human element behind your business.
In a study conducted by Deloitte about archetypal behaviour patterns among customer loyalty programs, they identified three common types of customers:
- Habit-formers—62 percent choose to be loyal to a program only after they have accumulated numerous points, or frequently used the service.
- Program experts—18 percent choose to be loyal specifically because of the rewards offered (e.g., a free night’s stay in a hotel).
- Passive—Only 20 percent select the service because of convenience and experience unrelated to the rewards offered.
These results confirm that rewards play a significant role in how customers choose one brand over another, and the importance of building better relationships between customers and your business.
Ultimately, rewards are there to drive away potential competition. Just make sure your focus remains on the two main things consumers want: a high-quality product and strong value. If you combine these two things with great customer service, you’re sure to succeed.