How to improve customer experience and boost customer loyalty without cutting prices
Many businesses prepare for peak trading periods by cutting prices to attract customers and to keep up with big brands who do the same. But lowering prices isn’t an option for everyone. If you’re not able to offer discounts this season, there are still ways to encourage new and repeat business.
Customer experience is paramount during peak trading periods – and can be the deciding factor in whether a customer returns in the future. In fact, the SalesForce 2022 State of the Connected Customer report found that 94% of consumers surveyed said excellent service makes them more likely to purchase again.
Finding new opportunities to give your customers a positive and unique experience with your brand helps to set you apart and build loyalty – which can make all the difference during busy shopping periods.
Here are three ways you can rethink the quality of customer experience you’re offering as a small business this peak trading season, and beyond.
Develop a loyalty program that puts customers first
A clever rewards program is a win-win for your business and your customers. And according to the SalesForce 2022 State of the Connected Customer report, 56% of customers surveyed said they’re more likely to buy from a brand with a loyalty program.
How BeFit Food built their customer loyalty program
BeFit Food is a health food business that’s helping time-poor Aussies eat nutritious meals. Their drive led them to be named a State Winner at the 2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards in the Championing Health category. CEO and co-founder Kate Save says that trust and championing a customer-centric approach is the key to providing great service to encourage brand loyalty.
BeFit Food created a points-based rewards program that allows shoppers to redeem the points earned with past purchases on their next, discounted purchase. They also offer a ‘five for four’ membership that allows customers to pay for four food programs and receive a ‘bonus’ one free. As an added courtesy, BeFit Food customers are free to redeem their pre-paid programs anytime they’re ready.
“The ‘five for four’ program allows us to get someone’s commitment and payment upfront,” Kate says. “It really helps us manage the cashflow and have the stock available for when they’re ready to order.”
By listening to their customers’ needs and responding to their interests, BeFit Food has developed a way to support the business’s bottom line while simultaneously giving shoppers what they want.
Add automated responses to your digital platforms
When you’re busy, it can be hard to respond to all enquiries, but replying to your customers quickly helps make sure they don’t take their business elsewhere. Highlighting the value of responsivity, HubSpot research found that 90% of consumers surveyed rated ‘fast responses’ as either important or very important.
When you add automated responses to your digital platforms, you can quickly answer customers’ commonly asked questions. Channels like Facebook and Instagram have simple auto-response functions built into their inbox, so all you need to do is input the replies to some common enquiries.
How auto-reply messages benefit your business
- You may save on staff resourcing
- You’ll stay in constant communication with customers
- You can help improve the customer experience your offer
- Your customer loyalty may improve over time if shoppers feel well looked after
Respond to your customer reviews
When you respond to reviews, the good and the bad, it shows customers that you care about providing them with good service. But, despite the fact that many consumers consult online reviews before spending, a lot of small businesses still do not actively monitor and respond to feedback. If you prioritise doing so, it could work in your favour.
Managing your online reviews doesn’t need to be a big job. Instead, spend a few minutes a day responding to your recent and popular reviews, as new customers will most likely see these first. This will give you a chance to thank your customers for giving you positive feedback and to address any criticism of areas where you can improve.
How responding to reviews benefits your business
- You may help improve customer loyalty by engaging with and taking on feedback
- You’ll have the chance to improve the customer experience of those who shop with you
- You’ll be able to use SEO keywords in your written responses, as well as your business name, to help improve your search engine ranking.
Be customer-first. Give them the choice of what’s going to make them happiest.
- Kate Save, CEO and co-founder of BeFit Food
Create promotional offers using customer data
If you’re not in the position to cut your prices, creating a promotional offer can help to get new customers in the door, just like a sale might.
One way to create an enticing offer is to tailor a promotion to past customers based on their purchase history. The Telstra Business Intelligence report on Digital Marketing found that 81% of consumers don’t mind when businesses use their data to deliver better products or services. Even so, 40% of small businesses don’t use customer data to provide better customer experiences.
Not sure where to find your customer data? It’s likely you already have a lot of it at your fingertips. Understanding how and when to use it could help set your business apart from the rest.
Different types of customer data and how you can use them
- Customer purchase history can prompt follow-up emails, service reminders, recommendations for complementary products and requests for reviews.
- Favourite purchase information, like their colour preference, can help you to personalise your customer’s experience.
- Times of purchase information can help to create prescheduled, personalised reminders to re-order certain items that can support more accurate sales forecasting.
If you’re not sure where to start, there are digital tools that can help do the work of capturing (and helping to protect) customer data for you.
Tools that help to capture customer data
- Google Analytics tracks traffic and conversion of key performance indicators on your website.
- Mailchimp tracks email campaign open rates and can integrate with your customer relationship management software.
- Yesware integrates with Salesforce and Gmail to gather email engagement data.
How Big Shed Brewing create customer loyalty
Big Shed Brewing is an award-winning South Australian brewery run by friends Craig Basford and Jason Harris. Spurred by popular demand, the team launched Shed Heads, their bespoke loyalty program, in 2020.
“It grew from people saying, ‘I’d pay to be a member here if there were little benefits that went along with it,’” Jason says. “We had 104 Shed Heads, who each paid around $80 to join. When they come to the brewery, they get every pint for the same price as a schooner. They get a birthday beer and a shirt as part of their membership.”
Aside from the in-store benefits, the program also gives members exclusive access to new products before they’re released to the public. “The eCommerce side of things is actually really interwoven now with our Shed Heads,” Jason says. “They've always got the ability to pre-order, so they never miss out.”
By creating a tailored rewards program for a committed group of local customers, Big Shed Brewing have not only given the Shed Heads an excellent experience, they’ve also built a community of loyal customers.
So, to help encourage repeat business without cutting your prices, remember that improving customer experience helps to increase customer loyalty. This, in turn, may help your bottom line during peak trading periods and beyond.
This article does not necessarily reflect the views of Telstra or its staff.
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