The SME Guide to Building Customer Loyalty

The SME Guide to Building Customer Loyalty

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The latest guide in our Business High Five series, The SME Guide to Building Customer Loyalty, offers useful insights on how to keep customers coming back and staying loyal to your business.

 

Download our complete guide to Building Customer Loyalty

 

In this guide, your SME will gain insights on the following:

  • The Importance of Customer Loyalty
  • How to Measure it
  • The Six Stages of Loyalty
  • Steps to Retain More Customers
  • The Future of Customer Loyalty

 

 

The Importance of Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is the act of continually choosing one company’s products and services over its competitors. Customers that are loyal to one business are not readily influenced by price or availability. When necessary, they are prepared to pay extra to obtain the same high-quality service and product they are accustomed to.

High levels of customer loyalty help drive business drive growth in a number of ways:

  • Returning customers spend more
  • Loyal customers refer their friends, helping to acquire new customers at lower costs
  • Both of which lead to increased profitability

 

Related: How to Drive Sales Through Customer Retention

 

How to Measure it

Loyalty isn’t a concrete concept, yet it can still be measured. To do so, it’s often necessary to employ a variety of metrics. Some of the most practical examples are:

Customer Satisfaction Levels

Two easy-to-implement and understand methods of measuring customer satisfaction are:

  • Word-of-Mouth referrals
  • Net Promoter Score

 

Customer Lifetime Value

Your customer lifetime value (LTV) reflects how important a client is to your company throughout their relationship with you.

 

Repeat Purchase Rate

The percentage of clients that return to buy your product or service is known as your repeat purchase rate.

 

Six Stages of Loyalty

On the journey to becoming truly loyal to a brand, a customer typically progresses through six phases, with each stage demonstrating an increasing level of loyalty.

 

Related: Why your SME should consider a Customer Relationship Management platform

 

Steps to Retain More Customers

You can increase customer loyalty by excelling at the things that influence it. Here are five essential factors that drive loyalty:

  1. Offer a 10X better experience than competitors
  2. Make customers feel valued 
  3. Understand the full consumer journey 
  4. Long-term planning, not quick fixes
  5. Employee experience

 

The Future of Customer Loyalty

Today, instead of going to the local shopping mall, 85% of customers start their search on Google. Customers may compare costs across all businesses online by just entering in a description of what they wish to buy. They may get it delivered the next day with just one click. Customer loyalty driven by traditional influences is fading as competition rises.

The most successful businesses will be those that truly understand their customer needs & focus on providing the best customer experience.

 

Download the full SME Guide here.

 

What can 60 days of cost-free* funding do for your business? 

To help SMEs get the funding they need to grow their business sooner, rather than later, we offer a 60 day delayed repayment option to all first-time customers. So if you apply for funding today, you won’t have to start repaying for 2 months.  If prompted enter promo code LULA when applying.

 

5 Practical ways to improve customer retention

5 Practical ways to improve customer retention

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Simply put, customer retention entails keeping as many customers as possible. It begins with a client’s first interaction with your business and continues throughout the lifetime of the relationship.

 

In this article, we’ll look at five effective techniques to increase client retention, loyalty and transform existing customers into brand ambassadors:

  1. Manage expectations
  2. Maintain top-of-mind awareness
  3. Maintain customer communication
  4. Implement great customer support
  5. Implement customer rewards programs

 

Managing expectations

First impressions are important, but if a prospect already has expectations, make sure they are manageable. You want to wow your customers, but if you promise more than you can give, a prospect or client will quickly abandon you.

Prospects will likely believe you can’t supply what they need if you establish expectations that are too low. You need to offer high-quality performance over the long term while maintaining reasonable, realistic expectations by:

  • Not making exaggerated claims
  • Understanding and focusing on what really matters to clients
  • Being aware of your limitations
  • Being open and honest
  • Being adaptable in terms of timing
  • When your plate is full, be honest & say no.

 

Maintain top-of-mind awareness

You know how everyone commonly refers to chewing gum as Chappies. That’s because the Chappies brand is so strong that when someone wants a piece of gum, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Can I have some Chappies?.”

Top-of-mind awareness is a metric that assesses where your brand ranks in the minds of consumers. Being top-of-mind isn’t only handy; it’s also necessary. When it comes to communicating with a prospect, sales professionals have a 50% better probability of converting the opportunity when a brand has a high top-of-mind score. The more well-known the brand, the more likely the general public will purchase their product or use their service.

It is critical to build tactics that engage both your potential and existing, customers on a consistent basis. Some effective techniques to develop your brand and maintain top-of-mind awareness with your customers are:

  • Don’t wait for your customers to ask for it; instead, proactively provide value to their lives and solve problems for them.
  • Create meaningful human interactions.
  • Send regular product and business updates to your customers.
  • Check up on your customers on a regular basis without becoming overbearing.
  • Personalise your marketing and communication.

No matter how far you get with a customer, don’t jeopardize the connection by focusing purely on the next prospect. Maintain meaningful connections with all customers, even after a sale has been made or a project has been completed.

 

Maintain customer communication

Even if your customers aren’t coming to you, you should be proactive in reaching out to them. If your clients haven’t connected with your brand in a while, reach out and re-establish your relationship. Consider using a communication calendar to manage client encounters and create upsell and cross-sell possibilities. It’s important to continually make your customers feel recognised and valued.

A communication calendar is a document that records customer communication. It shows you when a customer contacted you last and alerts you to when current clients haven’t connected with your business in a while. This makes it simple to roll out promotional offers and proactive customer support solutions before customers disengage. For example, if a customer’s membership is about to expire, you can send them an email informing them that their account must be renewed and the benefits of doing so.

A Marketing Automation, or CRM, platform can help streamline the task of delivering personalised, proactive customer messages at scale. 

 

Related: Why your SME should consider a Customer Relationship Management platform

 

Implement great customer support

Fast, reliable & accurate customer service will make the largest difference in your company’s success. Look at ways to use technology and Artificial Intelligence solutions to help your support and service staff to offer better support to your clients.

Chatbots: Using chatbots to solve simple inquiries can assist in shortening the time it takes to respond to queries and issues. 

Respond quickly to customer complaints: The longer you wait to answer, the more irritated the consumer becomes. This is very damaging to a business’s reputation. When you reply quickly and fully to a complaint, even if the customer is still irritated, it demonstrates that your support team cares and takes significant and thoughtful action.

Answer questions with enough information: If someone asks you a question you thought was apparent, take it as a sign that it might not be that clear after all. If they ask you a question you’ve previously answered, you might not have answered it properly or clearly enough.

 

Related: How to Drive Sales Through Customer Retention 

 

Implement customer rewards programs

By creating a client loyalty program, you can offer rewards to individuals who have been with you the longest. This encourages existing consumers to continue buying with you. Your CRM system can assist you in identifying your company’s most valuable clients.

For example, airline Frequent Flyer programs provide miles, points, and other forms of recognition to their passengers. Another example is offering unique, personalised, discounts to your most valuable clients. Putting in place a loyalty rewards program is an effective (and automated) strategy to keep consumers since it benefits them on a continuous basis.

Your rewards program does not need to be complicated. A simple stamp card with discounts always does the trick. You can always use a simple program, to begin with, while you continue to prove the value they offer to your customers. There’s also the option to outsource a more advanced rewards program. Companies like Yoyo Group can help you set up, manage and facilitate your loyalty programs. 

 

While there are many ways to keep your customers hooked on your business, it’s important to consider the techniques you use to maintain those relationships. Long-term customers are almost always more profitable and buy more regularly than new ones. Neglecting your existing customers in favour of continually acquiring more clients will lower your profitability and eventually leave your sales funnel empty.

 

The SME Guide to Sales Optimisation

The SME Guide to Sales Optimisation

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The latest guide in our Business High Five series, The SME Guide to Sales Optimisation, offers practical tips on how to boost your sales by optimising your sales funnel.

 

Download our complete guide to Sales Optimisation

 

In this guide, your SME will benefit from insights on the following:

  • Understanding a sales funnel
  • How do conversions occur?
  • Improving each stage of the sales funnel
  • Practical tips on how to convert leads to customers
  • How marketing can support your sales optimisation

 

 

Understanding a Sales funnel

A sales funnel is a medium for visualizing where customers are in the process of making a purchasing decision.

Related: How to Drive Sales Through Customer Retention

 

How do Sales conversions occur? 

Businesses all too frequently want to turn an opportunity into a deal straight away. Consider moving your prospects through your pipeline with a sequence of minor conversions. This will eventually result in a deal being completed. It’s easier to understand this by looking at a sales chart. 

 

Improving each stage of the Sales Funnel

Let’s take a closer look at each level of the funnel and the strategies you can use to boost conversions at each stage.

 

Step 1: Increase Awareness

Ultimately, your goal is to ensure your target audience is aware of your business and what you offer. People cannot buy from you if they are unaware that you exist.

Step 2: Encourage Consideration

Once your audience is aware of your business, it’s vital that you generate enough trust and interest for them to consider you as an option

Step 3: Drive Preference

Now that you have your prospect’s attention,  it’s time to educate them about your product or service. They have indicated they are receptive to more information, so you need to provide this quickly and in a compelling way.

Step 4: Simplify the Purchase

Now is the time to seal the deal and make the conversion. Remember, before they are willing to buy, the average buyer wants to view a deal at least SEVEN times. 

Step 5: Build Loyalty

You’ve done well, now you need to keep the customer coming back to you. It is much cheaper to market to and retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. 

 

Related: 3 Ways To Cut Unnecessary Spending In Your Business

 

Practical tips on how to convert leads to customers

According to Lulalend’s Sales Operations Manager, Jasmine Beckett, spending time and money generating leads for your business is only worthwhile if you can turn these potential buyers into paying customers. Here are her three top tips for converting leads to customers. 

  1. Qualify the prospect
  2. Follow up fast
  3. Structure your team

 

How marketing can support your Sales optimisation

Perhaps Marketing’s most important task is to clearly define who is the priority audience for the business’s products and services. “Develop a complete understanding of this audience including; What problem your product or service solves for them, how do they currently solve it, what are the end benefits to the customer from solving their problem and where will you find this audience. 

 

Download the full SME Guide here.

 

As always, we want to help your SME succeed. 

To help SMEs get the funding they need to grow their business sooner, rather than later, we offer a 60 day delayed repayment option to all first-time customers. So if you apply for funding today, you won’t have to start repaying for 2 months.  If prompted enter promo code LULA when applying. 

 

Why your SME should consider a Customer Relationship Management platform

Why your SME should consider a Customer Relationship Management platform

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Investing in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can be one of the most effective means to increasing customer engagement and retention for an SME. A CRM solution enables a business to efficiently collect a wealth of data on its customers’ behaviours and preferences, and then quickly respond to these via personalised communications. CRM tools can also play a vital role in aligning a business’s Marketing and Sales activities.

 

Let’s have a look at 4 reasons why your SME should consider investing in CRM software to grow your business: 

  1. A single view of the customer
  2. Real-time data access
  3. Nurture leads with optimized user journeys
  4. Track your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)

 

 

A single view of the customer 

A CRM platform allows a business to collate all of the data it holds on a customer, including previous purchases and interactions with the customer service team, in one place. This can then easily be viewed and acted upon by internal teams. The more you know about your customer, the easier it is to meet their future needs. Having a complete overview of all your customers also helps a business to segment its customer base and develop different strategies for each.

 

Real-time data access

The real-time data collection and analysis most CRM tools offer enables companies to gather information on prospects or clients straight away. You get actionable information on who is visiting the website and which content they are viewing. You will see which emails they are opening or clicking on, as well as which forms they have filled out. 

You will also learn about their preferences, which goods and services they buy, and how to upsell to them. By capturing behavioral data CRM tools allow you to engage in a more personalized manner.

 

Related: What is Employee Experience?

 

Nurture leads with optimized user journeys

96% of people aren’t ready to buy from you the first time they visit your website.

The same can be said for a trade show, networking gathering, or company conference. Rather than launching your sales pitch straight away, it is important to get to know your prospects and engage with them on a more personalized basis. This is conveniently accomplished by developing lead nurture journeys using a CRM platform.

As an example: email addresses can be collected via a form on your website. When this occurs, a sequence of automated email messages can be triggered. Each message can share more about your products and services, while also being tailored to any subsequent actions the lead completes (such as downloading additional product guides).  

This prompt, and customised way of following up with leads, can significantly increase conversion rates.

 

Track your KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)

CRM tools can help you answer crucial business questions, such as:

  • Which marketing strategies are the most effective? E.g. Paid Search, SEO, or word-of-mouth?
  • Which methods of customer service do your customers prefer, such as do you need a live chat or phone support?
  • Which customer segments are most profitable? 

 

A CRM tool provides real-time filtering and monitoring, allowing you to understand important performance drivers such as:

  • Which sources your new marketing leads are coming from
  • Effectiveness of the sales conversion funnel
  • The efficiency of  your customer service team in handling queries

 

Related: How to Drive Sales Through Customer Retention

 

Here are three of the most common CRM tools SMEs can consider: 

  1. Hubspot – assign your customers to specified stages of the sales funnel where you can personalize their user experience with your business through content and marketing material.
  2. Salesforce – ensures trouble-free contact management by providing access to important customer details and relationship history. It provides a full description of the client, with insights and engagement-enhancement techniques.
  3. Freshworks – designed to help sales teams never fall behind with built-in phone and email, robust insights such as lead scoring, website monitoring, and intelligent workflows.

 

A CRM system can be the missing link for small companies looking to get closer to their clients, generate more leads, and increase revenue. Customer Relationship Management solutions provide you with the data and knowledge you need to automate your processes and improve your customer experience.

 

The SME Guide to Digital Transformation

The SME Guide to Digital Transformation

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The latest guide in our Business High Five series, The SME Guide to Digital Transformation, offers useful guidance on how to introduce digital technology to help your business succeed.

 

Download our complete guide to Digital Transformation

 

Some of the important topics our guide covers include:

 

An Introduction to Digital Transformation

This refers to an overall transformation of organizational activities aimed at leveraging opportunities created by digital technologies and data.

Here are some of the reasons why this type of transformation is proving to be so valuable to many SMEs:

  • Acceleration of Change
  • Global Competition
  • Customer Expectations
  • Digital Adoption

 

 

How to create a Digital Transformation Strategy

With the help of new technologies, you can future-proof your SME by transforming your business model to increase productivity and profitability.

By making use of the following steps, you can craft a winning digital strategy for your business.

  1. Get buy-in
  2. Make sure you have sufficient funding
  3. Assess the current state of your business
  4. Determine the objectives & desired results
  5. Conduct a gap analysis
  6. Create a transformation roadmap

 

The Power of Data

Having access to data is critical to achieving your transformation objectives. But data is meaningless if it isn’t put to use. Companies who exploit their data and operate on it easily gain an advantage over their competitors.

 

Related: The rise of eCommerce

 

Examples of Transformation Across Industries

Digital innovation has an effect on various sectors in a number of ways. It provides extraordinary opportunities to follow new market models, but each industry’s solution is distinct.

In the guide, we explore examples in the agriculture & manufacturing, healthcare, and retail industries.

 

Tools, platforms, technologies to aid your Digital Journey

A wide range of digital tools are available across industries. Here is a list of basic, yet very important (and mostly free) technologies that are relevant across most industries and will help you along your digital journey.

Some of which include;

  • Google Analytics
  • Xero
  • Pardot
  • Hootsuite
  • Oracle

 

Download the full SME Guide here.