Tag: loyalty

By Greg Gatherer, Account Manager at Liferay

In today’s competitive world, brand loyalty is no longer a guarantee for digital businesses. Customers are increasingly making purchases based on the experience that companies offer, rather than on the products or the prices. This means that customer experience has become a major differentiator for digital businesses.

Companies must find innovative ways to distinguish their offerings through the entire customer lifecycle, including later stages that still have untapped opportunities for engagement.

Customer experience doesn’t end after purchase

People have grown accustomed to doing their own research on products before engaging with a brand. Key findings from a Gartner customer experience survey show that 82% of smartphone users consult their phones before they make a purchase in-store. This means that the opportunities a company has to influence customers in the early stages of the customer lifecycle are being cut down.

But there are still ample opportunities to reach out to new customers post-purchase and continue to engage them as a way of preparing them for the next purchase with your company. Research has shown that existing customers are both easier to sell to and more profitable than new customers.

Rather than focusing on narrowing opportunities to influence new customers, businesses should find ways to nurture their existing customers, ultimately turning them into advocates that will come back to purchase again and again.

Changes in customer loyalty

If existing customers are so profitable, why do businesses neglect them in favor of new customers? Often, the answer comes down to the changing nature of customer loyalty and how difficult it is to turn people into repeat customers.

Companies used to be able to develop lifelong brand loyalty in their customers through big campaigns or traditional loyalty programs. The idea of lifelong brand fans meant that loyalty was defined as buying solely from that brand— like a staunch supporter of Coca-Cola that refused to drink Pepsi.

Now, it is incredibly easy for customers to switch brands, and they don’t hesitate to exert that right. Millennials will cite anything from poor customer experience to feeling that a brand no longer fits their identity as reasons for moving on from a previously favourite brand. Experiences are what earn customers’ loyalty today, and businesses will need to adjust their strategies in order to account for this reality. The more information and differentiators companies are able to offer with their experiences, the more loyal customers will be.

These four strategies will help you focus your efforts on engaging your existing customers in a way that creates loyalty for your brand.

1. Collect the right data

Companies need to collect information that is actionable, not just interesting. There’s no value in asking customers to give up personal details if that data cannot be analysed for new ways to advance your business. Companies would do better to focus on tracking behaviours that give them a better understanding of their customers.

With detailed insight, companies can choose to alert store reps, confirm product availability before customers show up, offer free delivery if they give online purchasing a try, or send a reminder that, if the customer comes in a day early, they’ll be able to take advantage of the store’s annual sale. These are the kinds of detailed insights that differentiate experiences, the way a mom and pop shop would be able to simply by familiarity with its customers.

2. Go beyond segmenting

One of the benefits of refocusing on engaging existing customers is that you have an opportunity to gain deeper insights by continuing to collect and analyse data over time. Track the way customer behavior changes throughout repeat purchases, and use that to inform the experience you’re creating for new customers. Eventually, you should also be able to use this data to more accurately identify who your top customers are, and what it is that keeps them consistently engaged with your company.

3. Turn service culture into a process

Great customer experience often comes down to a story about exceptional one-on-one employee-customer interactions.

Part of great customer experience is maintaining consistency across interactions through the use of technology. Take a local coffee shop as an example; if its customers pay through a mobile app, the store will automatically have a record of their usual orders. If that information is shared with the POS system when the customer walks into the store, then it doesn’t matter if they come at a different time of day or go to a different location — the cashier still knows their usual order. Customers have access to the same great experience, and it’s consistent for all customers, instead of being dependent on the regular cashier remembering a customer’s face and preferences.

4. Integrate loyalty initiatives into your digital strategy

The goal of focusing on existing customers is still to drive profit through excellent service, and that might look different than a traditional loyalty programme. Companies need to assess the success of loyalty initiatives within the context of their entire digital strategy, rather than assuming loyalty programs will be profitable on their own.

The future of customer experience

As new digital channels open up, companies will need to be prepared to manage data in a way that eliminates noise and focuses on valuable insights that can enhance the customer experience. Digital leaders are focusing heavily on transforming their companies so that their technology solutions are part of a unified platform. Business systems need to be able to tap into the many disparate touchpoints customers are interacting with and process that data quickly and efficiently. The future of customer experience depends on taking this detailed customer knowledge to scale, and using that to consistently deliver personalised experiences at the individual level. Data not only matters, it is thought to be among the most precious assets most organisations have.

Who has SA’s best loyalty programme?

Clicks Clubcard has taken over the top spot as the most used loyalty programme at 67%. The Clicks brand took over the top position from Pick n Pay and their Smart Shopper card system, with Pick n Pay, ranked in second place with 66%.

The third spot belonged to Dischem with a sizeable jump down to 44% who climbed two places compared to last years list.

These are results from the 2017 Truth Loyalty Whitepaper, which is a complete annual look at the loyalty habits of 28 273 adults with a gross monthly income of R10 000 or more.

Loyalty programmes are up 8% compared to 2016 which makes the number of loyalty programme users stand at 79%.

With four out of five South Africans now using loyalty programmes, people view memberships as something that is worth their while.

The CEO of Truth, Amanda Cromhout, said that it has been another tough year for South Africans and political and economic instability always ends up hurting the consumer’s pockets.

Clicks reported that the loyalty programme membership has grown to 6.- million members which make up 77,4 % of sales.

The Edgars Thank U card retains their spot in fourth place but Woolworths fell two places to fifth place this year.

FNB has remained the most used loyalty programme for banking while being ranked in sixth place and Spur at the seventh place is the only restaurant on the list.

Loyalty programme users have increased since 2016. Male loyalty programmes users stand at 74%, a 5% increase since last year and 84% of women are loyalty programmes users, an 11% increase compared to 2016.

Consumers should be selective about the programmes that they join. Cromhout said that her advice to consumers is to focus on the brands you use most often and whose loyalty programmes rates are fairly high. The ideal rate should be between 2-5%.

Some of South Africa’s other loyalty programmes are:

1. Exclusive Books Fanatics
2. Discovery Vitality
3. SAA Voyager
4. Standard Bank UCount
5. MTN 1-4-1

Source: Supermarket & Retailer

Customer loyalty has evolved. Shoppers now enjoy a fast-paced lifestyle filled with digital interactions and expect to be rewarded immediately. Retailers, on the other hand, can get caught up with their department objectives and lose sight of the customer’s overall experience.

What’s more is that some brands have seen loyalty programmes as a data-driven quick-win to amass customer loyalty. But research has shown that genuine loyalty is rooted in a certain emotional connection. Companies have to thus offer more than benefits to foster customer engagement.

As the digital and physical worlds continue to converge, it will be essential to identify the customer journey and integrate all relevant data sources across every touchpoint. With data-based mapping of customer journeys, brands can better understand customers even before they decide to shop. They can define the available alternatives, and who they share their experiences with.

This understanding will inevitably help customers select, purchase and enjoy products and services , all while enhancing the customer experience – every time across every channel.

The relationship between customers and retailers is now far more complex. But there are ways to make sense of it. In order to provide long-term value to shoppers, retailers need to understand their customers’ journeys to ultimately satisfy their needs. Collecting, analysing and drawing actionable insights to form customer strategies enables retailers to make customer-centric decisions.

By Ella Simpson for Total Customer

Satisfaction guaranteed!

My Office magazine’s simple guide to giving – and getting – great customer service.

Giving great customer service

If you’re in the business of selling products and services, a content and loyal customer is worth their weight in gold.
However, as technologically-enhanced, real-time communication grows, a dissatisfied customer can be a ticking time-bomb that can do significant damage to your brand’s reputation.


Choose the right medium

It’s vital to know when to use technology-based services and when to rely on human interaction. An online form or automated response might work for a customer who’s looking for efficiency and a quick fix, but someone who’s desperately seeking consolation, advice or assistance won’t react well to a machine. Train service agents to know when which form of service is most appropriate.

Streamline consultancy

Working with one consultant is invaluable for customers. One point of contact simplifies exchange, makes problem solving efficient and decreases frustration levels. This system also allows consultants to build strong and lasting relationships with clients.

Reward valuable customers

Tailored services for long-standing clients, as well as new and existing “big spenders”, are a useful value-add – whether it’s additional or personalised services, or exclusive benefits. This can result in significant growth and investment from the customer’s side.

Listen

“Customer service” often drums up images of sub-par call centres, but valuable support can be offered in so many ways. Social media, if used properly, can be a powerful tool to gain insights from customers to improve service. Feedback is never diluted and happens in realtime, which is a huge asset if managed properly.

Offer specialised support

Effective communication is the first tenant of great customer service. This means if your customer service support team isn’t speaking the same language as your customers – literally and figuratively – you’ll never be offering the best service possible. Make sure your support team is tailored according to region, accents and even vernacular, to ensure a fruitful exchange.

Fix issues quickly

As far as possible, make sure customers’ issues are resolved the very first time they complain, so clients experience the least downtime and maximise efficiency. First time fix (FTF) is a sure-fire way to get repeat business.

Follow up

A customer scorned once is dangerous; a customer scorned twice is fatal – and they will not hesitate to make their plight known. Even after the resolution of an issue, there should always be some kind of follow-up communication to check the problem hasn’t returned, and the client is happy. It never goes amiss.

Getting great customer service

Have you ever wondered how some people always seem to get the best table, the upgraded room or the best piece of meat at the market? Conversely, others seem to continually get the surly waiter, the lazy clerk or the indifferent bellhop.
Great customer service is no accident; there are things you can do to get it. Indeed, those who receive the most professional, courteous and friendly service follow a deliberate recipe that turns even a cold and raw initial encounter into a warm and delicious experience.

Here are six tips for almost always getting great customer service:

Be positive

Enter the scene with the expectation that greatness is about to happen and that it should happen to you. Visualise being served well. Then let your obvious positive attitude and confident expectation come from your terrific mental picture. Avoid making demands. Instead, put your energy into creating early, light-hearted vibes.

Make a good first impression

The first 10 seconds are vital to shaping the reception you are likely to get. Aim your eyes and best smile at the service provider. Deliver a friendly greeting. Be confident, but not aggressive or pushy. Optimism and joy are generally infectious. Remember, servers favour customers who are a pleasure to serve.

Lend a hand

Most service people really are eager to give great service. But sometimes barriers can make it difficult. So, be a willing helper in clearing those barriers away. If the barrier is the server’s foul mood, try a quick tease or sincere compliment to turn sour into sunny. If the barrier is an absurd policy, offer a novel suggestion that helps you get what you want without putting your service person at risk of managerial disdain.

Be respectful

No matter how determined a service provider seems to be to provide the absolute bare minimum, always treat them with respect. Sometimes a “no!” is an unshakable “no”.
Always use your very best manners: “please”, “sir” and “thank you”. Remember that a chilly initial reception will generally thaw if you are persistent in your cheerfulness. Your server just might surprise you with a turnaround attitude late in the encounter.

Be playful

Use a playful style that lets the service person be a bit mischievous. Instead of announcing: “I’d like a no-smoking table with a view”, try: “We’d love to get the table that you would want if this was your special night. I know you can get us just the right spot.”
If you help make service delivery feel fun, you’ll have servers wanting to join you on the playground.

Be generous and thoughtful

Never view a service encounter as a single transaction, but rather the start of an important relationship. Assume you’ll be back, and be generous in expressing your gratitude for great service.
Praise service people to their superiors. Express your compliments to great service providers with a follow-up note or call. The next time you return, you’ll get their red carpet best.

Don’t wait for great service to come to you. Take charge of elevating the encounter from a “pretty good” transaction to an “I wouldn’t go anywhere else” relationship.

Service people enjoy great customers just as much as customers enjoy great servers. So, “serve” from your heart and you’ll be served in the same fashion.

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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