“Please entice me. Pay attention to me, understand and appreciate me. I want to feel safe in your company. Of course I expect you to write my name correctly and notice whether I’m a man or a woman.”
Customers will probably never say this to you but they will think and expect it.
Essentially the above-mentioned expectations are obligatory. Those who really want to have loyal customers, have to generate enthusiasm among them. But enthusiasm is not something you can simply hand over. You have to keep on working towards generating it – just as you have to earn the trust and loyalty you receive.
Customer retention – why?
Short and simple: Because you need customers who ensure your profitability. Of course you will also diligently work at generating new customers, but this should take place within reasonable limits, because acquisition is significantly more expensive than professional relationship management. Effective customer retention goes easy on your resources and provides a lot of valuable feedback for your company in return. Including priceless and absolutely essential hints.
CRM – An absolute MUST
The alpha and omega is a good data base, with which you can update and manage the data of your potential and regular customers in a clean and detailed manner. Watch out for redundancies and keep your information up to date at all times. Ideally your customer relation management system is connected to your other tools such as shop or e-mail marketing systems. Only in this way campaigns can be more effectively planned and analysed.
But which campaigns are worth your while in terms of customer retention? Depending on the business area, we can suggest the following:
Actions for online customer retention:
- Customer retention programmes (community with like-minded parties, collective currency etc.)
- E-couponing and vouchers
- Newsletter and personal event-related mailings (always only with consent)
- Customer ratings and professional complaint management
- Share function and bonus
- Sales incentive (bundling) and instalments
- Value-added services with partners
Please consider that customers prefer things to be simple, convenient, fast and logical. Furthermore, they will only be convinced by corporate employees who provide forthcoming, attentive and competent services. This goes for off as well as online communication. That’s it in terms of obligatory actions.
Voluntary but crucial: Enthusiasm
Usually the smaller and more emotive things generate enthusiasm among customers, thereby ensuring that you remain connected to them. However, our customers have different expectations and enthusiasm triggers. One may be overjoyed when he gets a good bargain, the next one is happy if you provide him with more time and leisure. This is why we have to look more closely at our customers, make enquiries and test different campaigns.
This is where we get to the core concept of marketing: Thinking from the customer’s perspective; basically thinking backwards and identifying with the customer. This means we can quickly find ideas and actions with which to generate enthusiasm amongst our customers.
Keep it simple
Provide your customer with a maximum of three alternatives. Our brains like simple and transparent facts and they shy away from too many choices. If possible, mention the option last that is presumably most attractive from the perspective of the customer.
Address unpleasant issues straight away
Place disagreeable things at the beginning of your correspondence so that it does not cast a shadow on the entire purchase experience. Involve customers in the discovery of a solution by means of appropriate questions. In this way the situation will become as bearable as possible and customers maintain their sense of control.
Good news – bit by bit
If possible distribute positive news bit by bit and from time to time during the entire purchase process, in contrast to unpleasant news. These “bitter pills“ are coated in joy. Positive news is scattered bit by bit with an element of surprise. Every moment of joy creates an appetite for more.
Flatter the brain by providing justification
Our brains want to understand how things work. If a common cold fails to spread, we fill the empty spaces with assumptions. In this way speculations ensue as well as rumours. Mostly of the negative kind.
Real enthusiasm is generated through appreciation. As soon as the customer is provided with a special feeling in an honest way, he is emotionally “trapped”. You may for instance convey exclusiveness, a premium status or get the additional functions ready and offer special services (24-hour delivery, free delivery etc.). This will convince your customer.
A certain amount of routine is essential. It provides security and this in turn generates trust. Real joy, perhaps through astonishment, is generated through surprises. Amaze your customers with exciting advance information, invitations, ideas or practical helpers.
The final impression
Allow the customer or purchase experience to begin and, above all, end on a positive note. The final impression triggers an echo effect in the brain and therefore remains stuck for particularly long. Therefore it should most definitely be positive.
Last but not least
The rewards for our investment in customer retention and loyalty are voluntary actions, sharing and the customer’s willingness to defend us, i.e. important actions to further our corporate profitability. The price: Enthusiasm.