Does your business strategy for 2012 include a customer loyalty program? On an annual basis, loyalty program members outspend other customers by as much as 45%. As you prepare your goals and resolutions for the new year, think about building a loyalty program that focuses on keeping a core group of customers coming back repeatedly as opposed to a marketing program that achieves short term results.
In part 1 of this blog, condensed from Driving Retention and from Customer Loyalty: How to Earn It How to Keep It by Jill Griffin, we count down the top 12 action steps you can take to implement a customer loyalty program in 2012:
#12: Store Your Data in One Centralized Database. Review your company’s current database situation. How many customer databases exist? For example, does each sales rep keep her own customer database? Does each department keep its own? Brainstorm with staff on how to start consolidating the databases, with the ambitious goal of moving to one centralized database over time.
#11: Collaborate With Your Channel Partners. Contact your suppliers routinely and ask them, “If you could change one thing about the way we do business together that in turn creates better value for the customer, what would it be?” Use this feedback to steadily improve channel partner collaboration.
#10: Give Your Front Line the Skills to Perform. Review your hiring policies for front line workers to ensure candidates are being screened for adequate communication skills, especially oft-missing writing skills. Consider making a writing test part of your screening tool.
#9: Use Multiple Channels to Serve the Same Customers Well. Whether a customer comes into your store, calls your service center or visits your web site, they should get the same level of customer service. Using customer feedback as well as formal customer research processes, monitor customer performance levels for every channel. Things to watch for: in your customer’s eyes, are you providing equal service in each channel? Is one channel preferred over another? Why?
#8: Win Back Lost Customers. Research shows that a business is twice as likely to successfully sell to a lost customer as to a brand new prospect. Yet this is an opportunity that is often overlooked. Do you have an official program to win back lost customers? If not, begin immediately to identify lost customers and research processes others are recommending to win them back.
#7: Know Your Customer’s Definition of Value. Review your company’s current knowledge base regarding what your customers’ value. Look for these insights: (1) What is it about your products or services that drives loyalty today? (2) Which product or service areas most need improvement? (3) Where are you currently over-investing? (4) Which areas deserve more study for potential future investment?
Stay tuned for next week when we count down the top six ways to build customer loyalty in 2012!