Matt Sims is the owner and founder of award winning Motorhome Holiday Company. Formerly the owner of an event management organisation, He has worked in the leisure sector for nine years.
Whether you’re selling motorhomes or motorbikes, loyal customers are critical to your success. Yet on average, businesses lose between 10 and 15 percent of their customers each year. And with Brexit and GDPR to contend with, that number looks set to climb even higher.
In my experience of running a business, it’s not enough to convince customers to return to your site or buy your product more than once. If you really want to take your company to the next level, you need to convert a customer into a fan. It’s no secret that it’s far easier and costs far less to get repeat business from existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. Depending on your industry, it costs between five and 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one; and 20 percent of existing customers generating 80 percent of profits.
So, here are my top tips for driving customer loyalty:-
- Make Social A Big Part Of Your Engagement Plan
In today’s connected world, your customers – and potential customers – are more powerful and visible than ever. They’re no longer just consuming content, but creating it by talking authentically about you, your brand, and your products. Establishing a human connection is what transforms a good company into a great one, and social media has opened up so many different avenues to engage.
I devote the first hours of my day at The Motorhome Holiday Company to checking out our social channels. It’s important to know what customers are talking about, what kind of content is most popular, what customer pain points are, and how we can better address our customers’ needs. Reaching out on social media is also a great way to engage with customers, show them a little love, and have fun with them. A mention, response, or retweet has the power to transform your brand and turn your audience into loyal fans.
- Be Responsive
Ensure your customers have a top- notch experience every time they visit your page or contact your customer service. If customers feel like your company really cares, they’ll soon pass the message along. At The Motorhome Holiday Company, we open as many different communication channels for support as you can, so customers will have a choice to talk to us the way they feel most comfortable and we can ensure a rapid response for every client.
- Be Transparent And Keep Your Brand Promise
Thanks to the Internet, customers are more educated about brands and products than ever before. And they’re not just gaining their information from company-driven marketing messages, but also from user-generated social media content and online product reviews. Now more than ever before, purchasing from a specific brand is a conscious decision. And because of this, consumers demand transparency. They’re interested in other customers’ experiences, how you respond to reviews and what your company’s values are. And if you don’t provide the relevant information, they’ll go elsewhere to find it.
Initially on Facebook we were mistaken for a competitor who’d been involved in a malpractice case but our customers leapt to our defence and fought our corner. We did engage in the discussion, but overall, we were able to sit back and let our customers speak for us because of their own experiences with us.
- Highlight Your Happy Customers
Whenever someone sends me a kind word that might be worked into a testimonial, I ask if they mind if I do so. Retweeting something positive that your customers are saying about you might be the push that a potential customer might need to make that initial purchase. In this way, turning your customer into a fan not only keeps the money coming in, but word-of-mouth advertising, testimonials and reviews also mean you can stop investing so heavily in your own marketing.
- Make Customers Feel Special
Your customers chose you above the competition so find ways to let them know how much you appreciate this. Showing gratitude reinforces that they made the right choice. Develop a strategy to make the most of your loyal customers and treat them like royalty. Let your current customer base know about new products first – they’ll be the almost likely to try them – and provide honest feedback. When our latest range of motorhomes arrived, we invited our regular customers to take the first look at our YouTube tour.
- Surprise And Delight
In what way can you do something unexpected whenever someone purchases your product? Think creatively to come up with ideas that don’t cost a lot but have a big impact. One example is our ‘beach in a box’ that goes out to customers when they book a holiday with us. A little plastic box with a bag of sand, a beach ball and an umbrella, it encourages the recipient to set up a beach scene at home on a windowsill or bookcase to remind them of their holiday to come. It becomes a talking point and a novel way to refer to a friend and introduce new customers. We’ve also seen a lot more repeat business off the back of it.
Nothing does a better job promoting your brand than fanatical customers. We’re more likely to buy from someone that we know or trust who enjoys a product than just believing the company themselves behind the product. Making some simple changes can have a big impact on your bottom line — and also means you can concentrate on providing a great product or service that will simultaneously attract new customers while exciting and retaining your existing ones.
What changes could you make to turn your customers into ambassadors?
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