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The story of a woman in North Carolina losing a diamond from her wedding ring when she was try-ing on clothes at one of Nordstrom’s stores and finding it with the store’s help is now an important case study in branding. An oldie, but a goodie. A store worker saw the woman searching for the diamond, and soon enough others joined, and finally the diamond was found in one of the vacuum cleaners in the store. Nordstrom had just earned itself some loyal customers, thanks to the manner in which it went out of the way to help the customer. Winning customers is hard work, but retaining them? That’s harder, but makes it well worth it.
Getting a new customer for your product or service is much like that introductory handshake, but brands need to work harder than that to ensure the customers keep coming back for something more substantial than a handshake. So, how do you go about adding some heft to your relationship with customers?
Like attracts like: One of the first things to do is actually understand your customers, their pain points, lifestyle, needs etc. Then, create personas and give them a chance to identify themselves with you. If your messaging is in line with a customer persona, chances are the customer sticks with you. Typically, customers like to engage with businesses who know them, and businesses whose brand philosophy and traits are like theirs
Who are you: It is important to identify who you are, and what your brand stands for. Clear messaging about your values make it easier for customers to identify with you, which means you need a strong brand identity.
It’s not always about big bucks: Doling out discounts, freebies and extra points can make a dent in your business, and may or may not work all the time. For customer retention, you should ensure that you make the right gestures from time to time. Small acts of warmth like notes, or sending along a packet of cookies could work in building that sense of warmth. Speaking of the digital world, thank you emails and messages that are personalised with your customer’s name can help.
Work on feedback: Don’t forget feedback from customers; instead see how you can work on it to improve relationships. You can do that by monitoring customers’ reactions on social media, feedback section on your website etc.
Proactive service: Do you respond immediately to social media to customer queries? Do you constantly check mentions on Twitter and respond to customers? Handling any kind of customer issues effectively and quickly is very important
It’s all about creating experiences: Like they say, you should invest in experiences, not things for happiness. The same applies to brands as well. The secret to customer retention is creating the right experiences. Great brands provide great experiences. If you want to be one of them, use social media channels effectively. Tell your brand stories, get customers to share theirs on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. Draw your customers in, and make it a two-way street.
Good content marketing strategy: If you want your customers in, you should give them something so compelling that they keep coming back to you. Having a good content marketing calendar, be it by way of blogs, guides, content that is actionable and videos will go a long way. So, if you are an online grocery store, how about sharing recipes, creating quality content on nutrition etc?
Customer loyalty program: Never undermine the importance of a good customer loyalty program. One of the most well-known loyalty programs is that of Starbucks, the coffeehouse chain. The brand has a mobile rewards app wherein customers can pay for their orders via the phone, apart from the Green and Gold Cards for frequent customers with a line-up of rewards, offers, and freebies. Such programs not just help brands retain customers but also open up a platform or route for increased customer engagement.
Now that you have your customers hooked, you can pull out new tricks from the bag! There’s no getting off the merry-go-round, though!