Returning Customers – Elusive, Impossible, or Normal?

Returning Customers?

Returning Customers?

There’s always an emotional rush when you acquire new customers. They’re “taking a chance on you” and you have that all-important opportunity to make that first, and hopefully lasting, impression.

So THAT happens…..

So why don’t some first-time customers come back? This is a very important nut to crack for your business, especially since it’s always cheaper and more effective to nurture current customers than it is to have to always spend the resources needed to provide a steady stream of new customers instead. While there may be any number of reasons, four stand out:

  1. Early problems sour the relationship.
  2. You have no formal servicing system.
  3. There is communication breakdown with the decisions makers.
  4. It is easy for your customer to return to your competitor.

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Listening is Hard

Listening

Listening

As an intelligent business owner and entrepreneur in the 21st century, you are already very aware of the importance of listening to your customers, prospects and audience (your Visitors / Audience / Customers / Community (VACC): you can read more about what this looks like here …..). “Listen” is, however, a word that is subject to as many interpretations as there are ears…
Going a bit deeper, what kinds of listening are there that you can leverage?
Definitions of types of listening are as varied as there are authors of articles, books and consultancies whose purpose is to guide you to a solution that works for you and your business….a solution that results in the kind of success you’re looking for: that loyalty-balance of relationship quality and profitability, with credibility overall. It’s kind of like a combination of “the right tool(s) for the right job” and a high-wire balancing act.
  • listen-to-understand
  • listen-to-reply
Since every conversation only has 100% of the time allotted for it, whether it’s 20 minutes or 2 hours or more, more listening requires less talking.
So what does more listening actually do for this relationship you’re trying to build?
It is the key to building trust.

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Content Ideas and the Holidays – Best of November

The Holidays are Here!

The Holidays are Here!

Well, here we are….

It’s after Thanksgiving and before the twin end-of-the-year holidays of Christmas and New Year’s Day. If you’re like me you already have a lot going on, both in your business AND in your personal life (all those holiday get-togethers, plus trying NOT to gain, like, 50 pounds thanks to all the food involved…)! You’re probably wrapping up your 2018 business and marketing plan, executing on the holiday marketing and delivery, and trying to keep the cat(s) out of the tree. Still want to keep up on what’s happening in the digital marketing world? You KNOW it impacts your business and has knock-on effects on your plans, right? I thought so….
So here are my recommendations for the TOP articles from November to help you stay on top of it all!

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Loyalty, Customer Experience, and the Death of Your Business

Customer Experience

Customer Experience

The deeper I get into the research concerning customer loyalty and engagement, the more it is pounded into me that it centers on Customer Experience (CX for short). The kicker about CX is that, while there are certain common factors and processes that carry across most customers and audiences, it really is an individual experience with you and your business. What does this mean?

First let’s look at the percentage of Loyal customers / audience you already have. Recent studies propose that you may have between 8%-15% customers that can be considered Loyal (your mileage may vary, especially given the differences in businesses: e.g. a coffee shop may have a greater opportunity for “regular” loyalty than a real estate office…). Let’s posit that your customers (a) DO have the opportunity, given your product / service, to purchase from you again within 12 months (and can certainly REFER you at any time!), and (b) this product /service is of value to them and at a fair price. The end-to-end CX for them has been better-than-just-positive overall, hence their loyalty. Their post-purchase experience has also been “positive+” (better than just OK…).

As it turns out, that bit is very important! 

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Loyalty, Strategy and Connection

Loyalty, Strategy, and Connection

Loyalty, Strategy, and Connection

I’ve written a lot about loyalty, strategy, connection and relationship-building. My recent post about loyalty went into some of the reasons that customer and audience loyalty is critical to your business. Another recent article about lining up your strategy with your actual problems perhaps deals with a bit more about problem-solving and identifying where your strategy, such as it is, might not be a fair representation or plan that works within the realm of the daily reality you face. Another article concerned connections, both real and perceived.

These are all related. Strategy is generally defined as some kind of innovation or reinvention process. If it doesn’t reflect the constant change the market and your business is experiencing, it isn’t strategy. It may be a corporate wish-list, a reason to have a kind of high-faluting retreat every year, or some kind of box-checking activity….although there are generally a lot of nervous, but well-meaning efforts aimed at it. However, if it doesn’t actually help your company break from old habits that are keeping you from at the very least repeating the same things every year, it’s not doing for you what it might.

Is loyalty a key component of your strategy? You realize that there is more to it than crafting good offers and making sure your customer service is stellar (both good things in the right priority….). It need not be itemized, but, since strategy with, hopefully, drive goals and action within your company (including what your employees are given as part of their roles and how they are incentivized…). Strategy that drives real change in a company is difficult, businesses rarely achieve extra-ordinary results unless they do something very strategic.

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Why Focus on Loyalty?

Loyalty

Loyalty

Loyalty, always a high-sounding word, is ever more in the news and on our minds.

Whether it’s loyalty to a sports team, a political cause or ideology, a leader, a brand, a long-standing relationship, a coffee shop, or the family doctor, we seem to be more concerned with it and discuss it more than ever before.

I’ve been doing (and continue to dig into…) research on loyalty. Specifically, I am interested in:
  • What the drivers are for customer loyalty to businesses
  • How these drivers relate to relationship and dialogue stages
  • Factors / components that are online, off-line, and a blend of the two
  • Other components or influences that I have yet to uncover
While this will not be the “Unified Theory of Loyalty” (with apologies to physicists everywhere….), I wish to come to a clearer understanding of what establishes, builds and maintains this stance in customers and people in general. Humans are complex, absolutely unique individuals who, nonetheless, exhibit certain related behaviors and tendencies. If this were not so, the social sciences would have to just fold up their collective tents and take up hospitality management.

As I continue to research this topic and make discoveries, I will be writing about them here first. The eventual end-product is likely to be a paper, some podcasts, a video or two….likely a combination of all of the above.

So stay tuned!

Now, having gotten the preface out of the way, let me get to the first bit:

Why Loyalty?

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