Thirty-eight percent of marketers say that customer acquisition and retention is their biggest challenge, according to a Teradata survey of global marketing and communications executives. Keeping customers loyal is becoming a pressing priority for businesses. Walker Information projects that by 2020, customer service will overtake price and product as the biggest competitive differentiator. Building customer loyalty is becoming the key to staying ahead of your competition. Here are a few steps you can take to keep your customers happy and keep your competitive advantage.
Know What Your Customers Want
Knowing what your customers want is a first step toward delivering customer satisfaction. The best way to find out what your customers want is to ask them by doing market research. For instance, an Accenture survey found that customers want more personalization, with 82 percent welcoming automatic loyalty discounts or coupons at checkout and 57 percent wanting real-time promotions delivered while they’re in stores.
Results can vary by industry, age, and other factors, so it’s important to research your specific market. A Consumer Federation of America survey of top consumer complaints found that false advertising was the biggest complaint filed against the auto and retail industries, while credit and debt service and utility customers’ most frequent complaints involved billing problems and disputes.
Share Your Company’s Values with Your Customers
Among consumers who feel a relationship with a brand, 64 percent say the basis of the relationship is shared values, a Corporate Executive Board study found. For example, Progressive’s website states that the company’s vision is to reduce the human trauma and economic costs from automobile accidents, and its top values include integrity and the Golden Rule. These values get expressed through the company’s ads, which emphasize finding the best price for the customer even if it’s from a competitor. Letting consumers know what your values are through both your words and actions will attract and retain customers who share your vision.
Deliver Superior Customer Service
When asked what would lead them to spend more time with a company, 40 percent of consumers responding to a Bain & Company survey answered customer service. In today’s online environment with its instant expectations, delivering superior service means handling customer inquiries efficiently and quickly. An Accenture survey of top customer frustrations found that customers’ biggest service complaints involved having to contact a company multiple times for the same reason, being placed on hold for a long time, having to repeat the same information to multiple employees or over multiple channels, and dealing with employees or self-help sites that could not answer questions. An effective way to resolve several of these issues is to adopt a cloud-based customer contact center such as Aspect Zipwire, which enables you to provide 24/7 integrated omnichannel support without employing a large staff.
Deliver a Great Product
Great customer service needs to be backed up by a great product. An Elite Daily survey found that product quality is the key loyalty driver for millennial consumers, with 48 percent identifying the quality of a product as the most important attribute they check before making a purchase. Apple’s commitment to quality illustrates how delivering a superior product can be a successful strategy for cultivating brand loyalty. Making sure your product meets your customers’ expectations is the best way to ensure that one-time buyers become loyal repeat customers.