Who sells your products or services? This might seem to be a stupid question. Surely the answer, is that your sales & marketing does. But is that really all there is to it? In client after client over the last decade, we've found that often the most important person selling what you sell is — your customer.
Actually it's your customer advocates. Because more and more prospective buyers expect to learn about products and services from their trusted peers who have already purchased and are now using them, organisations need to get much more creative at positioning their satisfied customers (assuming they have them of course) front and centre with those prospects when they're considering their purchases. This peer-to-peer, community-style marketing can take various shapes and forms including everything from the most straightforward references and referrals, blogging, video or other online content, participating in communities, associations, consortiums, speaking at industry events…it’s already a long list, and it continues to grow.
A predictable result of the growth in the effectiveness of this kind of activity has been increasing demand from marketing and sales leaders to recruit more advocates willing to advocate.
Especially in the social media domain, we've seen clients incenting customers with rewards, discounts and other payments of various descriptions. We find these approaches are invariably poorly advised and not sustainable. Almost always they end up being a waste of money and often they end up being counter-productive. Our strong advice to clients is don't bother. Customer advocates are incredibly valuable means of converting more buyers and increasing the velocity of those conversions. But they only work when the advocacy is genuine.
So then, how do you make this happen without resorting to brown paper bags and meetings in dingy carparks at midnight? How do you not only create happy customers, but activate passionate customer advocates? We've helped many of our clients do precisely that over the last decade or so, creating many millions of dollars of additional revenue and margin in the process.
Customer loyalty is a measure of how likely your customers are to do repeat business with you.
Different industries have various ways of measuring loyalty, but the most basic way is to look at the number of purchases over a customer’s lifetime in your database. Repeat buyers are your most valuable customers. Though they may not be big purchasers, it is likely that over time, the revenue from them will top revenue from big one-time buyers.
In fact, only a 5% improvement in customer retention rates yields between 25% to 100% increase in profits across industries—happy customers spend more money, more often. There are tons of other benefits to having loyal customers as well—free advertising by word-of-mouth, glowing testimonials, positive online reviews—the list goes on and on. We can help you construct and deploy are loyalty program to help drive customer loyalty and retention. When looking at customer loyalty types (which is an entirely different conversation), you're looking for reciprocal customer loyalty: a premium relationship benefitting both the customer and you.
Read more about building and leveraging customer loyalty here.
We're just updating our information and content on Retention and Growth for you at the moment. If you're looking for info or help on this aspect of your revenue processes, either check back here in a day or so, or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get straight back to you.