Keep your customers coming back with these five simple tips

With one in three customers ditching a brand they love after a single bad experience, companies must continue to invest in turning pain points to touch points and prove their value. Here’s how.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, competition is fierce and the loyalty of customers is hard-won. A single bad experience can lead a customer to abandon a brand they have been loyal to for years.

According to a 2018 survey by PwC, one in three customers will stop doing business with a brand they love after a single bad experience. This statistic should be a wake-up call for businesses that want to stay ahead of the competition.

The key to customer retention is to create a brand experience that keeps customers coming back. Here are five untapped ways to achieve this goal.

1. Understand your customers’ needs and expectations

The best way to understand what your customers need and expect from you is to collect data. The data should help you identify what drives customer loyalty, what motivates them to choose your brand over others and what their pain points are.

By collecting this information, you can create a brand experience that is tailored to your customers’ needs, ensuring that they are satisfied with your products and services.

One effective way to collect the data is to regularly deploy customer feedback surveys.

“Understanding your customer comes down to listening, first and foremost.” – David Jepson

These surveys allow you to gather valuable insights into what your customers think about your brand, how they perceive your products and services, and what improvements they would like to see. This information can be used to refine your brand experience and make it more customer-centric.

“Understanding your customer comes down to listening, first and foremost,” says David Jepson, CEO of The CEO Magazine.

“If you make sure you listen to customers, empathize with and understand their needs and their pain points, you can make sure your products either solve those or help create value for that customer.”

PwC’s research survey found that 73 percent of people consider customer experience an important factor in purchasing decisions, yet only 49 percent of American consumers say companies provide a good customer experience.

Thus, implementing suggestions gleaned from customer surveys would be an efficient way to stay competitive.

2. Build emotional connections with your customers

Creating emotional connections with your customers is key to building long-term loyalty.

Emotional connections are based on the feeling of trust, empathy and mutual respect between your brand and your customers. When customers feel emotionally connected to your brand, they are more likely to remain loyal and recommend your products and services to others.

“The word trust is key,” Jepson says. “Make sure people feel comfortable and confident around you, make them feel like they can tell you their problems and that they’re contributing. When that kind of sharing is happening, you and I quickly become we.”

“A company’s people are crucial in delivering the customer experience, and their level of motivation and belief in the brand can be the single greatest lever to pull in changing the customer experience” – Tom Gray

One way to build this type of connection is to engage with your customers on a personal level. For example, you could send personalized emails or messages, offer exclusive promotions or discounts, or create personalized experiences that resonate with your customers’ interests and values.

Tom Gray, Chief Strategy Officer at the brand experience agency Imagination, says the role employees play in building connection with customers is key – a tool that is often massively undervalued by brands.

“A company’s people are crucial in delivering the customer experience, and their level of motivation and belief in the brand can be the single greatest lever to pull in changing the customer experience,” he tells The CEO Magazine.

“Invest in understanding the employee side of your customer experience,” he advises.

“What makes your employees tick? How can you bring your brand promise to life for them, and in so doing, spark the behaviors and attitudes that will deliver a magnetic, memorable experience to customers?”

Employees also need to be empowered to provide optimum customer experiences, especially in a moment of crisis.

As PwC points out, this is why every employee at Ritz-Carlton Hotels has the freedom to use up to $2,000 to rescue a bad guest experience.

3. Deliver consistent and reliable service

Consistency and reliability are essential to building trust with your customers. If your customers have varying degrees of satisfaction with interactions with your brand, they are likely to lose faith and look for alternatives.

On the other hand, if you consistently deliver high-quality products and services, your customers will trust your brand and remain loyal over time.

“You want to make sure your clients feel like your relationship isn’t just transactional,” Jepson says. “They’ve told you about their goals, their dreams, so now we have to come together to realize that.”

One way to achieve consistency and reliability is to create a customer-centric culture within your organization. This means ensuring that all employees are trained to deliver high-quality customer service and that your business processes are aligned with your customers’ needs.

“That’s not often the case in today’s world. Usually, you end up speaking to a chatbot, and that can be quite infuriating.”

Another key way to ensure consistency and reliability is being clear with your customers about your mistakes and how you plan to resolve them.

“Inform the customers in cases you goofed up, and avoid the same mistakes twice,” Gaurav Gupta, Founder of the India-based web developer SquareBoat has said.

“Follow a schedule which both parties have agreed to and make sure the customers know exactly what you are doing and when are you doing it.”

If a customer’s experience is less than optimal, Jepson says it’s important to take ownership of the issue and make fixing it a team effort.

“Again, it’s about ‘we’,” he says. “You said you wanted to achieve this, you’re unhappy, how do we get there together? Find a solution that works for both parties.”

4. Empower your customers

Giving your customers the tools and resources they need to make informed decisions about your products and services empowers them.

This could include providing detailed product descriptions, offering online tutorials or demos, or creating a community forum where customers can share their experiences and provide feedback.

By doing this, you are demonstrating that you value their input and that you are committed to providing them with the best possible experience. This can go a long way toward building customer loyalty and keeping them coming back to your brand.

“You have to show you can deliver what you promise,” Jepson says.

“When you’re collaborating with a client, you have to give them a voice and create a safe environment in which they can express themselves, which is what we prioritize.

“You also want them to enjoy the experience. Put all that together and you’re 90 percent of the way towards having a loyal customer.”

5. Personalize your brand experience

Personalization is one of the most effective ways to create a brand experience that resonates with your customers.

By tailoring your products and services to their specific needs and preferences, you can create a unique experience that differentiates your brand from the competition.

One way to personalize your brand experience is to use customer data to create targeted marketing campaigns.

For example, you could segment your customers based on their age, gender, or interests and create personalized offers that are tailored to their needs.

You could also use data to create customized product recommendations or to personalize the content on your website or social media channels.

For instance, PwC points out that compared to the general population, gen Z customers would be more willing to pay higher prices to brands that offer more experiences that are more mobile, more fun and incorporate better design.

It is important to note that creating a successful brand experience is an ongoing process. It requires continuous monitoring, feedback, and adjustment to ensure that your brand is meeting the evolving needs of your customers.

By investing in customer retention strategies, businesses can not only reduce churn rates but also increase customer lifetime value, drive customer advocacy, and improve their overall brand reputation.

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