KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
26th May 2017
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An email from US company Vocus reminded me of when I was little and we had a huge case of washing powder delivered. My parents told me it was a gift from Hotpoint to thank them for recommending the washing machine they’d just bought to a neighbour, who bought one too and happened to mention their recommendation to the salesperson.
I’m not revealing how long ago that was, but it was far enough back for the impact of that gift to be clear. The loyalty it created has meant that my mother has never veered away from her original choice of washing machine manufacturer.
Times are tough, so it would do us all well to remember the ‘80/20’ rule, which suggests that often, 80% of revenue comes from just 20% of a business’s customers.
As well as being extremely valuable right now, our most loyal customers are also the future of our businesses – so engaging them and keeping them loyal is crucial, just as Hotpoint did with my parents all those years ago. So how do we do it?
Vocus suggests creating a loyalty programme; rewarding customers for renewing contracts, purchasing products and referring new customers. Consider a programme that provides free products and services as a reward for repeat business, or allows customers to accumulate redeemable points.
Another idea is to foster a sense of ownership. Are you launching a new service or developing a product? Invite your most loyal customers to become beta users and solicit their feedback. This will give them a sense of being a stakeholder in your brand, as well as helping you create a tested offering. Also, if a small proportion of customers are responsible for most of your revenue, provide them with premium-level customer service. This could be anything from waiving fees and shipping costs, to offering service outside normal business hours.
Exclusive perks let customers know how much you value their business. Let them preview and purchase new offerings before they’re available to everyone else. Host exclusive events for top customers. Or for a more cost-effective option, profile your best customers in your email marketing campaigns or with social media shout-outs.
And finally, reward customers who recommend your business to others, with discounts and other rewards. Customer referrals are a powerful tool in business development, so let current customers know how much you value their recommendations, just as Hotpoint did with my family all those years ago…
12th April 2013