Phil Foster is Managing Director of Love Energy Savings – a business energy comparison service that helps SMEs make savings by switching suppliers. As an experienced business owner, he knows that repeat custom is the bread and butter to sustainability in business.
Below, Phil shares his insights into how you can make 2016 a great year for better customer loyalty...
Never neglect customer loyalty
As it isn’t a physical or numerical sentiment, customer loyalty can sometimes be rather difficult to measure or keep track of. Proof of a person’s loyalty can usually only be seen through an action, but with the competition heating up for every type of business, companies cannot afford to let customer loyalty fall by the wayside.
As one of the UK’s leading energy price comparison websites, for us customer service is just as important as helping people switch suppliers. By tracking our customer retention rate, alongside reasons people give for non-renewal, we can see where our service needs improvement.
We don't think tracking customer service has to be a chore. By putting a little time and effort into customer service and retention, businesses everywhere can get ahead of their competition by showing customers they care. Following these 4 steps will certainly help:
1. Ask the important questions
If you want to know more about what your customers want and what makes them happy, why not just ask them?
Love Energy Savings sends just 2 surveys to our customers: the first is sent when a person successfully switches their business energy tariff with them, and our annual survey goes out to find out about their overall experience, satisfaction and value received.
A tactic like this provides the perfect opportunity to find out exactly what you need to do to improve, but finding the right balance is crucial. You want to get as much useful information as possible, but you don’t want to annoy your customers in the process. Make sure your questions are well thought out and get straight to the point.
Your next step: implementation.
2. Don’t be afraid to make changes
Too often, companies send customers questions, but, having retrieved this valuable data, they don’t do anything meaningful with it. You need to put all of your careful research into action.
If you have conducted your surveys well, you will have a goldmine of data at your fingertips where your customers are telling you exactly what would make them use your services again. For instance, if we find that a particular reason frequently appears for non-renewal for instance, we add or tweak a process specifically to address that.
It is all about using the data you have gathered to your advantage. Your customers have told you what they want, you just have to make it happen.
3. Stay in touch with customers
Loyalty schemes, email marketing deals and customer check-ups are all great and effective ways to get back in touch with your customers – as long as you don’t start spamming them! Again, there’s a sweet spot to be hit.
They show that you, as a business, are thinking about them and that you actually care about their repeat custom. One of the best ways to stay ahead, is to make life just that little bit easier for your customers.
If there is something you can do that would take the pressure off your customers, then by all means do it! This could make the difference between them choosing you over a competitor.
Never take customers for granted. At Love Energy Savings, as part of our ongoing commitment to our own customers, we assign a dedicated manager to each account. They will call the customer before their contract is up for renewal, ensuring they get the best deal every single year. We want to make sure that they know they come first.
4. Develop a customer service system
Using the above tips can help you find out as much as you can about your customers – it is the first step towards establishing an effective customer service system. After all, it is the customers who will keep you in business, so don’t be afraid to find out exactly what they want, and give it to them!