3 Genius ways building customer loyalty can accelerate business growth

Posted by Matt Hodkinson
30-Jun-2015 10:00:00

Blog Posts

The whole area of rewarding and nurturing customer loyalty and retention brings into focus the dangers of following generic marketing advice. To demonstrate this, search Google for ways to promote customer loyalty and you’ll find no shortage of suggestions - often accompanied by statistics that apparently prove how fantastic these methods are. Put to the back of your mind ideas of vouchers, seasonal special deals, exclusive competitions and general giveaways: these tactics are no doubt extremely useful when you’re selling cheap and cheerful products to the masses. If you’re offering specialist solutions to a discerning business niche however, such methods are in danger of coming across as crass, spammy and generally out of step with what your customers want and expect from you.

As with lead generation, building customer loyalty and retention requires you to consider your client base very carefully. In particular, it’s worth thinking about the ways in which you can offer something of genuine value to individuals and their organisations. Behind this lies the objective of strengthening the existing relationship and increasing its potential value to your firm and positive impact on business growth. Here are some examples…

 

1. Educational packages

 

The approach:

As part of your lead nurturing campaign, did you use targeted, useful content to help build trust? Think about a similar approach with building customer loyalty. For instance, are firms within your target market faced with an annual continuing professional development requirement (hint: most professions are). Could you tailor a presentation that could count towards Continuing Professional Development(CPD)? Topics could include data security or even ‘client care in the digital age’. Tip: bill it as an ‘annual update’ and offer revised version each year.

Potential benefits:

  • You are reminding your customers indirectly that you have a thorough understanding of their niche

  • Making this a regular occurrence gives the client an option of a zero-cost and zero-hassle contribution to their annual CPD quota, thus providing a potentially very good reason to stick with you

2. Exclusive previews in the development stage

 

The approach:

R&D should be an ongoing process - i.e. you are continually looking for ways to adapt your product offering to meet the needs of clients. Let’s say you are working on this year’s new plugin. One way of integrating this into your customer loyalty and retention strategy is to wait until it’s finished, then offer an exclusive time-limited upgrade to your most valued customers.

But here’s a potentially better way forward. While still in the development stage, preview it in full to a select group of valuable customers. If possible, focus on end-users within those companies. Ask them to comment frankly on what they like and dislike about it and on what specific features they would like to see in the finished version. Once you’ve gone back to the drawing board on it, present the finished article to those customers, making specific reference to how you have integrated their suggestions.

Potential benefits:

  • You are demonstrating in the clearest possible terms that you value the opinion of these customers

  • You are going one step further than a buyer/vendor relationship to create a genuine partnership

  • You are potentially gaining a level of customer input/feedback that could be far more valuable than, say, pinging a survey to those customers and asking them to complete it

  • When it comes to marketing that new offering, you can remind those specific customers that it has been developed with their specific needs in mind

 

3. Respond to the specific circumstances of customers

 

The approach:

You learn, for instance, that your client has just landed a huge service contract. This will necessitate them taking on extra staff for a limited period. In response to this, is there scope for granting, say, a batch of free, time-limited logins? Alternatively, could you offer to run an induction day for this cohort of new users? Another client has landed a short, valuable, yet extremely time-sensitive contract. Could you put together a proposal for ‘Rolls Royce’ tech support (a technician on site for the duration, for instance) to ensure they get through it without a hitch?

Potential benefits:

  • You are demonstrating an ability to respond directly to the needs of clients at the times when they most need you help - i.e. you are earning loyalty

  • If things are generally rather hectic with a particular client, it’s often a useful sign that the client is ‘on the up’. You are reminding that client of the value of your services at precisely the point in time when they are thinking about upscaling.


In each of these examples, notice the absence of any hard sell or raw cash incentives. Instead, in each case, you are strengthening the relationship with your client, potentially increasing life time value and making it more likely that those existing clients will recommend your services to others.

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