Since the start of the pandemic, businesses have faced challenges due to the growing instability in brand relationships. Especially during the early days, buyers often switched brands due to changes in availability, logistics, and their own economic situations. This quickly challenged businesses’ assumptions about their customers’ loyalty and spotlighted their customer retention efforts.
While “customer retention” often brings to mind tactics such as discounts and deals, this doesn’t always have to be the case. In fact, you want to retain your customers based on more than price alone. Here are five suggestions for keeping customers engaged that don’t involve the cost.
1. Be mission-minded. Increasingly, consumers, especially younger ones like GenX and Millennials, want to be good global citizens. Feature content about where and how your company invests in things they care about, such as community service, social justice, and environmental initiatives.
2. Offer an exclusive. Sure, customers love discounts, but they love having exclusive access, too. Engage customers in new product development. Give them virtual tours of how you make your products. Give top customers exclusive gifts that make them feel valued and special.
3. Go the extra mile. Have you ever received a card in the mail that you didn’t expect? A special gift “just because”? It makes you feel good and want to continue to engage with the company or person who sent it to you. Do the same for your customers! Create a special mailing with a message similar to: “Thank you for being a great customer."
4. Teach them something. Come up with a newsletter, webinar, or mobile video teaching customers how to do something related to your company or brand. For example, if you sell crafting supplies, send them a personalized invitation to an in-store crafting class. If you make kitchen gadgets, offer an online tutorial on preparing gourmet meals using your products.
5. Ask their opinion. Everyone loves to be heard. Ask your customers’ opinions! Send a high-quality direct mail piece with a reply card, an email link, or a personalized URL. Ask their opinion on everything from their favorite products to your in-store displays to how they are treated by your customer service reps. Follow up to let them know how you implemented what you learned. This feedback is meaningful and lets them know you are listening. When they feel you are listening, this translates into deeper customer loyalty and, ultimately, higher sales.
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