If you wanted any more evidence that now – despite the rough economy – is not the time to go cutting price, look at the results of the latest poll published by Marketing Sherpa (see chart at end of this post).
It shows that while vendors believe price is the most important factor in customer loyalty, the customers themselves (the only ones whose opinions actually matter!) put customer service in top spot, with 40% citing poor customer service as the main reason for leaving a vendor.
So instead of cutting price and hoping your customers are so grateful they stick around, invest the money you save on customer service.
As this is a blog about customer newsletters, let’s see how newsletters can help improve customer service – and hence customer loyalty.
- First, develop a customer service mindset. Remind yourself that without customers you are dead, that you are there to serve customers – and to treat them as you would like to be treated. (Thanks to Michael Port for emphasizing this upgrade to the Golden Rule.)
- Remember that the first transaction is just the beginning – you want them to come back multiple times.
- Use your customer newsletter as a tool to encourage them to come back. Sign them up at the first transaction and then use your newsletter to remind them of your existence (people easily forget!) and to make offers to encourage them to visit you again.
- Your goal is to create a genuine relationship with your clients, not just a series of transactions. Use your newsletter to extend the relationship-building you do in person to circumstances when you are not present.
- When choosing your newsletter content, consider what kind of articles will best serve your customers (rather than simply serving yourself.)
- Build the relationship by contacting your clients (in a non-threatening, permission-based) way on a regular basis, always offering something of value.
If you think that investing in customer service (and customer newsletters) is expensive, remember the oft-quoted words of Frederick F. Reichheld in The Loyalty Effect:
“A 5 percent improvement in customer retention rates will yield a 25 to 100 percent increase in profits.”Chart from Marketing Sherpa