When describing family members, friends and colleagues, ‘loyal’ is a supreme adjective. The same can be said for customers.

Nodifi finds out what makes a loyal customer and how to retain them.

Loyal customers in brief

Loyal customers represent those who do repeat business with your business and recommend your products and services.

They’ll consistently choose your business over your competitors, normally remaining unswayed by competitor promotions. Often, they’d rather pay more or complete longer processes to get the service they have come to know and like.

Attracting these kinds of customers is something all businesses try to master.

Here are some tips for brokers and car dealers on attracting and retaining loyal customers

Touchpoint rewards

When we say ‘rewards’, we don’t mean cash or prizes, it means satisfaction. Brokers and dealers have multiple touchpoints when interacting with customers. The initial introduction to your business (online or in person), the first time they make contact with you (an email, a call or meeting you in person) to negotiations and back and forthing with documents.

Rewarding customers can mean a follow up ‘thank you’ email or sms, a call to confirm you’ve received requested information, or details on next steps.

Why?
Personalising the customer journey is a huge part of increasing sales and revenue. Part of this process is receiving personalised contact from businesses rather than generic confirmations. Taking the time to communicate with your customers on a personal level can increase their loyalty.

Over deliver

Going ‘above and beyond’ for your customers is something that all businesses aim to do. It’s important to take extra steps to ensure no customer is left in the dark, not contacted at a requested time or handballed between different departments and staff.

Over delivering means exceeding expectations that customers have. A rate hunter, for example, might be testing the water and looking at options. Give them more than they might need by offering hints and tips on finance applications rather than just a ‘good’ rate.

Why?
Even upon a small request, like a quote or basic question, over delivering can make a great impression. The simpler the request, often the simpler it is to over deliver. If customers are in their ‘research’ stage (looking for price, quotes and general information), give them more answers, tips and options. This shows you’ll likely have the solutions they’re looking for.

Communicate regularly

This one is easy to pull off. Communicating regularly can mean follow-up calls and emails but social media is just as effective. Adding in links, call-to-action buttons or invitations on your material for customers to follow you on social media is a great way to showcase your expertise and create loyal customers.

If you have an instagram account, for example, showing updates, insights and tips, can be a great way to encourage them to follow you.

Why?
Social media gives people a chance to get to know your business on a personal level. If someone has stumbled upon your website while researching car loans, they’ll typically only see a corporate and professional side. If they can browse your social media, they have a chance to see your team, milestones and other customer feedback.

A loyal customer expects a personal touch which can also build trust. Seeing your team’s achievements can assist with this.

Offer loyalty benefits

Most people are familiar with loyalty cards and programs offered by airlines, department stores and banks but brokers and dealers can take advantage of this too.

You could offer a voucher to a popular retailer like Bunnings or an online store like The Iconic. Matching specific rewards to customer preferences is also a great way to personalise their experience.

Other ideas include discounts on fees or cashback offers when customers refer others – and the deal settles, of course.

Why?
Exclusivity is always positively received. Creating incentives for customers is a surefire way to attain loyalty. If your database includes alerts when loan terms are due to be completed, it’s a good time to remind those customers that they ‘can receive discounted fees and a $100 voucher upon next settlement’.

Finally, celebrate with the customer

Often in finance, a win for you is a win for the customer and vice versa. Let them know you’re happy that their deal has settled by telling them. Typically, regular people don’t know how much effort goes into getting deals across the line.

Some brokers even go so far as to meet clients in person in order to share a coffee or meal to celebrate. Regardless of location, digital channels (such as FaceTime or Google Hangouts) allow you to show your enthusiasm upon a settled deal.

Why?
Giving your customers a call or personalised email to congratulate them on their finance – which is often for the purchase of a new car – is a great way to build rapport, given the excitement around their new purchase.

With the client’s consent, adding a post on social media congratulating the client’s purchase is also a great way to show people that you’ve made someone’s financial aspirations a reality.

Reasons why loyalty is lost

Below are some issues that cause customers to lose their loyalty to a brand or never develop it in the first place.

  • Ignoring consumer trends and topical events
  • Prioritising high value customers over smaller ones
  • Losing trust (missed calls / appointments, slow response times for example)
  • Engaging in controversial topics
  • Publicly arguing with / challenging complaints

If 90% of your customers plan to repurchase, you’re doing well

Apple is well known for its ultra-loyal (sometimes cult-like) customers. The brand offers constant upgrades, additional services, exceptional customer service, training / support videos and live sessions and keeps up with consumer trends.

The company reports that 90% of its customers plan to and do repurchase new iPhones, iPads and Macbooks. There are over 1 billion iPhone users on the planet.

Take a leaf out of Apple’s book. Offer you clients online or in-person training, let them know about new services you might offer or new vehicles / assets you are able to finance.

The low down on loyalty

Implementing just one or a few of the points above can make a difference in terms of loyalty. That translates into referrals, repeat customers and, ultimately, more revenue.

If you’re not completely sure on how to get started or how to implement customer loyalty strategies into your business, give the Nodifi marketing support team a shout on – marketing@nodifi.com.au.

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