Loyal customers are the most important to your business for many reasons. Retaining existing customers is significantly less expensive than acquiring new ones, in fact, some studies claim it costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an old one. On top of that, loyal customers are more likely to recommend your product, to become brand advocates, and – in turn – to reduce the costs associated with marketing. Today, we will discuss how to build customer loyalty with social media. If you have questions on any of these tips, let us know in the comments below.
How To Build Customer Loyalty
A Few Statistics on the Value of Customer Loyalty
A report published by American express revealed that 3 out of 5 customers were willing to give up a former favorite brand in order to have better service experience. Based on the results of Customer Experience Impact report, 9 in 10 Americans are willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service. And 80 percent believed smaller companies place a greater emphasis on service than larger companies. Those are some pretty common sense numbers you shouldn’t ignore.
Small Businesses Success is Largely Dependent on Customer Loyalty & Satisfaction.
Unfortunately, news of bad customer service spreads to more than twice as many people as praise for good service. And according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, for every customer who bothers to complain, nearly 26 others remain silent. Each unsatisfied customer that remains quiet is a lost business advocate.
What Shapes Customer Loyalty?
Much has been written on the Internet about how to generate customer loyalty, but most articles fail to understand what the foundation of customer loyalty actually is. Customer loyalty is directly linked to emotion and is the result of a positive emotional experience derived from a product or service. Family and friends may disappoint you, but you remain loyal to them for the most part because of the emotional bond you share, and the same applies with customer loyalty, but first, you must establish an emotional bond with your customers.
Believe it or not, the emotional bond a customer has with a brand is rooted in shared values and beliefs. Based on a study published by the Harvard Business Review, which included 7,000 consumers across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, loyalty to brands is almost impossible to achieve without shared values. Of those consumers who said that they had a strong brand relationship, 64% cited shared values as the primary reason.
According to Aaron Lottonn, the CEB, who researched the topic of brand loyalty for more than a year, consumers everywhere stated that they were loyal “not to companies, but to beliefs.” Lottonn added: “We saw that emotional attachments to brands certainly do exist, but that connection typically starts with a ‘shared value’ that consumers believe they hold in common with the brand.”
As Help Scout, a help desk designed for small businesses points out, the most beloved brands have developed their cult following through a strong stance on issues both within and outside of their industry. Below are a few examples of how to build customer loyalty:
- TOMS champions their One for One movement, which gives a pair of shoes to a needy person in the world for each purchase.
- Zappos has built their core values around wowing customers, placing service as their #1 priority.
- Timberland emphasizes their G.R.E.E.N. Standard, which places profitability and community service on the same team.
- Locally Laid Egg Company plans to give back 5% of their profits to public schools, libraries, art institutions, and environmental organizations in their community, and they also plant a tree for every egg delivery, claiming it’s a simple and important way to make a difference on global warming and air quality.
In other words, your company must embrace some issue of importance and take a stand. So as part of their effort to build brand loyalty, They have recognized the things that are important to their audience and taken a stand. This is something that any business can implement.
A small restaurant could establish brand loyalty by pledging that for every meal purchased by their patrons, the restaurant will donate a bowl of homemade soup to a local soup kitchen, (or some variation). This has added value outside of being a way on how to build customer loyalty:
- News Worthiness: This is news-worthy and may be picked up by bloggers and news outlets making it easier for your clientele to become aware of your actions.
- Social Media Benefits: This type of partnership lends itself to collaboration. If your audience is interested in the non-profit you are collaborating with, they will probably be willing to share your program with them. It’s an incredible marketing opportunity.
- SEO Benefits include increasing the chances to earn organic links from publications and even earning you some coveted .gov links.
- Financial Benefits: It may also have some fantastic tax benefits, so putting charitable programs in place can have incredible benefits.
How to Build Customer Loyalty on a Budget
When it comes to building customer loyalty on a budget, psychologist Norbert Schwarz showed that as little as 10 cents could change someone’s mood and influence them to form a favorable opinion of another person or brand.
In a classic study at a German university, Schwarz in the course of a day occasionally placed a coin equivalent to a dime on a copy machine for the next user to find. Later, everyone who used the machine was interviewed about their lives. “Those who found the dime were more happy and more satisfied and wanted to change their lives less than those who didn’t find a dime,” says Schwarz. “It’s not the value of what you find. It’s that something positive happened to you, and surprised you.”
Help Scout cites a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, where researchers tested the effects that mints had against a control group (where no mints were given) in order to measure their effectiveness in increasing tips. The first group studied had waiters giving mints along with the check, but making no mention of the mints themselves. This increased tips by around 3 percent against the control group.
The second group had waiters bring out two mints per person by hand (separate from the check), and then mention to the table, “Would anyone like some mints before they leave?” This saw tips increase by about 14 percent against the control group.
The last group had waiters bring out the check along with a few initial mints. A short time later, the waiter came back with another set of mints, letting customers know that they had brought out more mints, just in case they wanted extras. In this third test, waiters saw a 23 percent increase in tips versus the control group.
The Focus Should Be On Personalized Attention
In the third test, the waiter brought out the second set of mints after some time had passed from the first offering and mentioned they had done this as an additional courtesy. Researchers concluded that this personalization aspect of waiting tables (even if the waiter did this for every customer) was the catalyst for increased tips, which appeared as genuine concern for customers’ needs. This prompted a connection with customers much deeper than you would think possible from just a few additional mints.
How to Build Customer Loyalty in Three Short Steps
1) Success is dependent on customer satisfaction.
2) Customer loyalty is established via an emotional bond rooted in shared values.
3) Personal attention to customer needs is valued more by the customer than fast, speedy service.
Smart and savvy business owners and marketers are taking advantage of social media not only to reach new prospects and customers, but also to support customers that have already made purchases. Using Twitter as a customer service tool is one of the savviest approaches to customer service, and also provides customers with a memorable experience, while simultaneously advertising your brand.
Since the majority of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand that provides a quick and effective response on social media, we will help you understand how to best advance this task by supplying key tips and insights on how to use Twitter as an effective customer service tool.
5 Tips on Using Twitter as a Customer Service Tool
According to information published by the advertising industry, 67% of Twitter users are more likely to purchase products from businesses and organizations they follow on Twitter. Additionally, 94% of Twitter users make purchases from their mobile device, and utilize Twitter to make their purchasing decision. One of the best ways to increase your online conversion rates is when questions about your brand are quickly answered and resolved on Twitter, which is why Twitter can be a powerful tool to not only improve customer service, but also in beefing up your overall marketing efforts. For example, a potential customer is drawn to your brand and begins to review what other customers have said about your products on Twitter. This customer may even interact with others who have purchased products from your brand in the past, and received positive feedback, which leads to a purchase. However, their order is damaged when they received it, and the customer contacts your brand’s customer service department via Twitter. A customer care rep responds minutes later with information on returning the product, and guarantees that a new product will be shipped overnight. Your company even offers to resolve the situation offline if needed with an in-depth conversation rather than a difficult-to-follow conversation on Twitter. This is how you recruit loyal customers that will continue to purchase your products for years to come. But customer service shouldn’t just be limited to live interactions on Twitter, it should be the foundation and mission statement for your entire business. 5 Tips In providing 1st Rate Customer Service on Twitter 1) Rapid Response Time
Response time is crucial in providing optimal customer service. According to one study, 71% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand that provides a quick and effective response on social media. Studies have shown that 42% of consumers expect a response within one hour when they contact a brand on social media. In an airline study, Twitter found the quicker an airline responded to a user’s Tweet, the more money the users were willing to spend. Note how Airbnb answered the above question within the hour.
2) Use a Dedicated Customer Support Handle
Interacting with multiple customers on Twitter can become very complex and confusing. As a business, you should use a Twitter Dashboard, and a separate Twitter Handle solely for support to eliminate your Twitter feed from being filled with customer issues and complaints. If you notice Airbnb has both an @Airbnb handle, and an @AirbnbHelp handle. This will keep any negative items away from your branding handle and in the customer support handle.
3) Provide a Personalized Experience
Try and become well acquainted with your customers. Send notes to Twitter users you interact with, and then share those notes among your entire team to provide a more personal level of service.
4) Be Quick to Acknowledge Negative Feedback
Ignoring negative feedback about your company can be very damaging to your business. Use negative feedback as an opportunity to correct any of your company’s shortcomings and improve your business. According to Twitter, users who receive a reply regarding negative feedback are more satisfied with their service experience.
5) Use Direct Messages For Private Information
When discussing personal information related to your customers, such as emails, phone numbers, addresses, billing information, and usernames, always use Direct Messages to keep your customers’ personal information private.
Put Twitter’s Customer Service Tools To Use
Twitter now offers Customer Direct and Customer Service Feedback. The first allows you to take a public conversation private in seconds…eliminating any potential damage done by a customer service issue, and allowing you to get sensitive information from your customers privately and safely. The second lets you ask your customers for feedback in a quick and easy way. You can get more info on these amazing tools by clicking here.
Replying to a customer on Twitter or providing details about your brand on a Facebook entry is such an habitual part of the day, we rarely reflect on how Social Media has revolutionized the way businesses relate to their customers, and especially the way consumers now interact with businesses. There is no doubt that Social Media is imperative to customer service…we’ll break down the why and what you need to do with this knowledge.
RELATED ARTICLE: Tips on using Twitter as a Customer Service Tool
More and more people are spending their online time actively engaged on Social Media, and more of that time is spent interacting with brands. Social Media has made it possible for customers to communicate with businesses horizontally. Now instead of having to vertically go up the ladder to find a responsible company representative by waiting on the phone or an email response, anyone can openly post online comments, opinions, and criticisms related to customer service and products, and Social Media savvy businesses know the vital importance of a timely response.
It is now possible for businesses to audit social interactions for keywords and mentions, not only to determine their target audience, but to also ascertain what specific platforms their target audience prefer. Additionally, based on customer questions, comments, and level of product satisfaction, companies can forecast and isolate which customers are most likely to recommend their product or service.
All of this information, along with sales and Customer relationship management (CRM) data, (a combination of sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support), is helpful when formulating a marketing strategy tailored to fit specific customer profiles.
For small businesses, in addition to a CRM system that incorporates social media to track and communicate with customers sharing their opinions and experiences with a company and their products and services, a CRM scheme should integrate traditional avenues of communication like emails and faxes.
Customers, especially Millennials, or Generation Y, now consider conventional lines of contact with businesses highly inadequate, and expect multiple avenues of communication, spanning many different Social Media channels. The majority of people who complain to a brand on Twitter expect an answer within an hour. Twitter data shows that nearly 40% of customer tweets never get a response from the company.
Be Proactive in Customer Service
Your company’s customer service goal should include a reliable CRM system across all Social Media channels. In one proactive customer service example, if a customer tweets about an upcoming trip but hasn’t yet purchased a flight, the airline can turn to its social CRM program to find out that this person is a priority member, and say, frequently tweets about craft beers.
“If the airline has guidelines in place about how to respond and what offers can be made, the people managing the airline’s social media can respond with a personalized message and a free beer coupon to help drive the customer to action.”
Socialdraft Can Expedite Supreme Customer Service
With the Socialdraft Feed you can manage, comment on, like, and take more actions such as re-tweet items from all of your social media channels. It saves you from logging on and off from multiple social networks. With Socialdraft you get real time notifications when your brand or business is mentioned on the web or social media and easily share them to your social media accounts with a simple click.