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How To Harvest Loyal Relationships With Customers Online

Let’s start with a frightening metric: Harvard Business Review report that acquiring a new customer can be anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Suddenly branding exercises to curate a new image in tow with a fresh, extravagant marketing strategy don’t seem like the best options to increase your customer base and grow your bottom line – in fact, it might end up doing the opposite.

No matter how thorough your advertising schemes are and how seamless your user experience (UX) is, the fact still rings true… even after a first-time buyer completes their purchase, there is no guarantee they’ll come back for more. The best route for customer retention and building up your revenue lies in what you already have… your existing customer base.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to tap into what’s already at hand. Let’s get started.

Utilize Your Company’s Social Profiles

A study by SproutSocial found that 64% of consumers want a brand to connect with them, with 70% feeling more connected to brands with CEOs who are active on social media. 

Right now, whilst physical interaction is still limited in the real world, consumers are looking to digital gateways to get their normal fix of everything from shopping through to pub quizzes. So, your company’s social profiles can be a great resource for communicating with your customers online. 

In the same report, respondents said they preferred digital channels over traditional communication methods and cited speed and ease of use as key reasons.

Whether it’s keeping up a regular posting schedule or being mindful to reply to tweets directed to your company handle, keeping up this simple practice will help you harvest loyal relationships with your customers online. 

If you don’t know where to start, keep this one mantra in mind ‘treat your customers like you would a friend’.

Don’t Shy Away From Negativity

It’s commonplace for disgruntled customers to take to Twitter to rant about a bad experience with a brand. Obviously, this isn’t something to strive for but, if it does happen, you can use the situation to open a dialogue with your customers and show how much you value their opinion. 

Take this case study from JetBlue. A customer was unhappy with their TV not working onboard their long flight, so the airline responded to the tweet with compassion. They empathized with their customer’s situation and offered them compensation. This instantly put out the fire and turned a negative into a positive.

What’s more, it wasn’t behind closed doors… it was on a public page for anyone passing by to see. Admitting when things go wrong shows humility and nothing sticks in someone’s mind more than good customer experience. 

Don’t shy away from what appears to be hard conversations – those are the ones that will grant you the biggest boost in customer loyalty over the longterm.

Make Things Personal

Personalized marketing is having a moment and customers now expect personalized experiences with brands as standard. 

So, at the point of data capture, you need to reassure the user why you need specific information. For example, if you want to send them a voucher for their birthday, you’re going to need their date of birth. If you want to offer them discounts based on previous purchases, you’re going to need them to accept specific cookies. 

Birthday emails shout loyalty. They perform exceptionally well, pulling in a 481% higher transaction rate than ordinary promotional emails and 342% higher revenue per email. 

This tactic works in two ways. One, it taps into a warm lead during a time when they’ll be in a good mood and want to treat themselves to something new. Two, you’ll instill that feeling that ‘this company cares’. Both outcomes build loyalty between customers and the company.

Keep It Simple, And Keep It Consistent

Nothing is more frustrating than finding a brand you like, with a simple and easy-to-navigate site, only to have them constantly ‘revamp’ their image and offers into something over-cooked and confused.

If your product or service is selling well, don’t be afraid to stand still. If you act like the Red Queen and keep running just to stay in the race, you run the risk of diluting your core brand message. Don’t change something just because your competitors do, like stepping onto TikTok just because ‘everyone else is doing it’, even though none of your customers use the app.

If something is working for you and your customers are happy with it, keep your service consistent and well-polished. You’ll naturally stand out amongst the crowd and prove yourself as a trusted source in a crowded market.

If harvesting loyal relationships with your customers online is a goal for your company, follow these simple steps. You’ll build a solid core of happy customers and the rest will flock in their wake.

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Lucy Farrington Smith

Lucy Farrington-Smith is a 27-year-old freelance writer. She started out as an actor before she put the scripts down and chose to write her own words instead of saying someone else’s. One Master’s in Creative Writing and many coffee cups later; you can now find her bylines on HuffPost and the Metro.

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