Maybe you’re focusing on building your client base and have briefed your sales team to actively pursue new leads and prospects. Your existing customers will always be there. And besides, if new customers are coming in, you can afford to lose one or two.
Your existing customers matter. And while generating leads is important, making sure your current customers are happy is important, too — maybe even more so.
Why? Because retaining your customers is essential to your bottom line.
Studies suggest that a 5% increase in customer retention can result in a 25% increase in profit. That’s because happy customers cost less to serve, tend to spend up to 140% more, and stay for longer periods of time.
They also become brand ambassadors and are more likely to recommend you to friends or family.
If you’re looking for new and innovative ways to build customer loyalty and trust (and to maintain it) we’re here to help.
How to Build Customer Loyalty
The B2B market is competitive, so keeping your customers loyal and preventing churn requires a fresh and innovative approach.
Let’s explore 9 ways to get there:
1. Improve Your Customer Service
Hardly an original recommendation, we know, but it’s so important that we’re going to put it first on this list. Making your customer service team as efficient, professional, and helpful as you can is a sure way to secure and retain customers.
According to some studies, 96% of customers say that customer service is an important part of the loyalty they feel towards a brand, and 54% say they have higher expectations of customer service teams than they did a year ago. (In the 18-to-34-year age bracket, this jumps to 66%).
In short, that means your company’s approach to customer service has a massive influence on whether your customers stay or leave.
2. Measure Customer Experience — Let Your Data Guide You
You can’t understand your customers unless you’re thoroughly assessing their wants and needs and their experience of your products and services.
Collect data through relationship and transactional NPS surveys. While relationship surveys help you understand your NPS performance over time, transactional surveys help you gauge your customers’ responses to particular transactions. Using both will give you a better sense of your retention, and will help to identify gaps, opportunities and successes.
You can also look at our advice on developing dedicated customer retention surveys.
3. Know Exactly Who Your Customers Are
Do you know who your high-value customers are? Do you know which ones are detractors, passives, or promoters? Do you have a sense which ones are most at risk of churn?
Customer retention starts with measuring your clients, linking their sentiment to your bottom line, and using this insight to inform your approach.
Start your retention-building efforts with your high-value clients to ensure they stay on board, and pay close attention to what your detractors are saying.
Remember, in B2B relationships, any given customer is not just a single individual. Rather, there are many individuals in each account: decision makers, users, and support teams.
Talking to (and surveying) all of them can produce a 18% boost to your retention rate.
Seiko Vision learnt this lesson a few years ago when they revamped their approach to their B2B loyalty program. By directing B2B visitors to a different domain, one dedicated to the brand’s B2B rewards program, rather than its B2C website, they saw a 20% reduction in bounce rate and (together with a visual campaign) a 943% increase in leads.
4. Be Personal; Be Human
Your customers know you have templates in place to help expedite your customer service process, and they can spot a cut-and-paste job a million miles away.
While we’re not denying the need for automation (one of the most important aspects of good customer service is speed), we are encouraging you to personalize and be personable in your responses.
Being human in your interaction can help to increase sales by up to 20%.
This involves having a detailed knowledge of your customer’s particular query or concern, understanding where they fit into your customer base, and engaging with them on the platform that feels most appropriate.
5. Understand That Loyalty Goes Both Ways
You can’t expect your customers to be loyal to you if you’re not loyal to them, too.
If loyalty is going to be a cornerstone of your B2B relationships, it has to be reciprocal.
What does this look like? For us, it’s about pre-empting what your customers need. Pay attention and listen. While some will enjoy promotions and discounts, others will appreciate partnerships that can help their businesses grow. Knowing what your customers really need, of course, is something that you can survey.
Find ways to be considerate towards your customers. Be flexible. Consider situations on a case-by-case basis.
“The reality is this: any relationship is difficult and it depends on trust — earning it and keeping it,” Cary T. Self, CustomerGauge’s VP of Education and Program explains.
“When you think of a B2B relationship, it already becomes more difficult because you’re dealing with multiple within that single relationship. Now factor in the different levels in an organization along with all the departments that need to be represented. You have to multiply all the points of contacts, conversations, and interactions in order to begin to see the health of that relationship.
“CustomerGauge helps companies scale great relationships by measuring all these dynamic metrics. Companies can then prioritize where to spend their resources in order to build trust, improving the relationship. Our data shows over and over again, the better the relationship, the better the growth!”
6. Be Creative in Your Loyalty Program
These days, there’s barely a transaction that takes place without concluding with the question, “Would you like to sign up to our loyalty program?” Customers, by and large, are loyalty programed-out.
But what if yours was different? What if you used the data you’ve gathered on your customers (see “Measure” above) to find out exactly how they would like to be rewarded for working with you?
By tailor-making your programs depending on who you’re dealing with, you could boost retention. Remember that in B2B, more than B2C, every customer is a little bit different.
Some of the most effective loyalty programs we’ve come across are those that get really creative.
TRW Aftermarket, an auto parts company for the aftermarket was battling to access its customers due to the high volume of competitors in its industry. To address this, the team developed a loyalty program that connected workshops across Europe, developed a points-based system that offered rewards, and customized these rewards based on specific customer needs.
In no time at all, TRW had made major headway in becoming a dominant and respected voice in a saturated market.
7. Be Transparent
Imagine reporting the results of your customer service surveys back to your customers? Telling them that 22% found your products and services more expensive than your competitors, and that 31% felt that your range was too limited.
These can be tough figures to look at internally, and many businesses would have a knee-jerk reaction against making them public. But in doing so, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to defend yourself and to improve your business openly.
Maybe you only use ethically sourced ingredients in your products, for example, which increases your costs, and perhaps you’re planning on expanding your range next year.
By being transparent, your customers get to know you better, which improves levels of trust. Plus, they get to see that you’re really listening to them.
8. Commit to Closing the Loop
Closing the loop is one of the most important aspects of customer experience (CX), and is critical if building loyalty is your goal. CustomerGauge research has shown that only 26% of B2B brands close the loop with all customers. But by doing so, you can boost your retention by 8.5%.
CustomerGauge’s Account Experience system is designed specifically for the needs of B2B organizations and includes three categories: Measure, Act, and Monetize and Grow. Step number two, Act, is where proactively responding to your customers comes in.
Take Zoom, a company with one of the best NPS scores in the world. How? Part of their success is that the head of Zoom International, Brian Shore, personally responds to every piece of negative feedback. There’s nothing stopping your CEO from doing the same.
9. Tie Loyalty Data to Financial Metrics & Grow Through Upsells and Referrals
Loyal customers are great, but it’s what you do with them that really counts.
Use your loyalty data to inform your referral campaign and understand the best opportunities for upselling and reselling.
Where Account Experience differs from other customer retention programs is in the insights it gives you into how and where you can grow your business. That’s because it’s fundamentally tied to revenue.
By keeping happy customers happy, and using your insights on problematic areas to reduce churn, you create space for your business to grow.
Use CustomerGauge to Build Customer Loyalty
Identifying and implementing the best customer loyalty software to build customer loyalty, and retain it, takes a bit of know-how.
Fortunately, CustomerGauge is here to help.
With our platform, we offer everything you need to survey your customers’ needs, implement solutions to address them, and identify opportunities for growth.
Book a demo today to find out more!