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Marketing’s job is to get ‘em in the door, right? It’s operations job to service them and hope they will return. Which is why most companies spend the overwhelming majority of their marketing budgets on getting prospects to the door. And, that might not be the most efficient spending – especially if you are desiring repeat customers.

There are six stages of customer relationships and half occur once the guest walks in your door. Many marketing programs and agencies focus on one area, failing to account that all touchpoints are collective and ultimately impact results. But, what about potential touchpoints after the business is concluded and your customer or guest has departed. This generally gets short shrift. Yet, savvy marketers know this is where you often develop a true loyalty and basis of referral.

Some quick facts to consider in future budgeting debates:

  • It is 5 to 10x more costly to win new customers than to keep existing customers coming back
  • Cost of new customer acquisition can be several hundred to several thousand dollars
  • Estimates are anywhere from 75 – 90% of marketing is spent against initial trial programs
  • Referral and retention programs generate the highest ROI, but are typically far less than 10% of a company’s marketing budget

The sales process: you’ve wooed the prospect, warmly greeted them, solved their need, provided them with product or service to their expectation. Now, what? Back to mining for more prospects. Instead, consider continuing the dialog with this guest.

Most companies are indeed confused about what is customer loyalty. Most metrics regarding loyalty are simply tracking behavior and not intent.

For instance, you can be a “captive” customer because there are limited options, yet data describes you as a loyal customer.  As noted in the linked article, many companies buy a more frequent customer through discounting. As soon as the deals stop, so does the buying from this particular customer.

Any definition of customer loyalty has to include attitudinal issues. “Will they buy when there is direct competition?”  “Will they buy without some sort of deal in   place?” “Do they sway their friends to visit your business versus the competition across the street?” “Do they actively want to learn more about your business?”

Harvard Business Review has noted that the most profitable brands have the highest concentration of customer referrals. “How are you measuring that?”

Check out this article  http://www.reveries.com/profitable-loyalists

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