What’s customer loyalty?
A loyal customer is a customer who repeatedly buys your product or service. Customer loyalty is often linked to customer satisfaction. Other factors that determine how loyal a customer is, can be:
- How strong the customer identifies with your brand.
- If the customer feels your engagement.
- If the customer recommends your company to others
- The level of trust the customer has in your company
Part of the utility industry?
Read more about our solutions for you.
The customers’ experience is central
Customer loyalty relates to the experience with your company. Therefore, you need to optimise the experience in every single customer interaction. And loyalty is a fragile thing: It only takes one bad customer experience to cause a major drop in customer loyalty.
How do you stand out when most things are the same?
While you may not stand out in terms of either product or price, you can still stand out to your customers with your behavior and your corporate culture. In other words: What you do and how you do it.
Add value by offering additional services
Since energy companies offer similar products with no significant price differences, the threshold for switching suppliers is low from the customer’s perspective. This makes it even more important for you to differentiate yourself by offering other types of services that both add value for the customer, and provide you with additional touch points with the customer.
The energy industry’s way to increase customer loyalty
1. A clear strategy
Your company needs a clear picture of the culture and behaviour you wish to have, and a strategy for achieving it.
- Start by defining who your customers are. Are they the right fit for you, or do you want to attract a different type of customer?
- How do you want customers to perceive your company?
- What behaviour do you want your customers to encounter?
2. A clear set of procedures
By having clear procedures for all customer related processes, you lay the foundation for your desired behaviour.
Think about what experience you want to give to your customers. Whether it’s when they contact customer service, talk to a salesperson or is visited by a service technician.
Write down what your cultural highway looks like, the “do’s and don’ts”. This is the highway that everyone who works in your company needs to stay on. If an employee starts to drift off in a different direction, you should immediately help them get back to the common track.
These procedures should always be documented, communicated and understood by everyone in the company.
3. Easy and enjoyable
Doing business with you should be so smooth and positive that customers look forward to talking to you. Consider what it’s actual like for your customers to place an order or contact you.
Make sure you go above and beyond every time you interact with a customer. Be personal, offer them a little something extra, and smile even when talking on the phone. When it comes to human contact it’s the simple but genuine gestures that make the differences.
What can you do to create a customer experience that is as simple as it’s pleasant?
4. Empower your employees to make decisions
Employees who deal with customers must also be authorised to make decisions and take initiative. It’s important that there is room to make mistakes and that people are given the opportunity to correct their own mistakes and learn from them.
Give all employees knowledge of your procedures and desired behaviour through both training and practice in real life situations. Make sure you employ competent staff that you trust, as this makes it easier to authorise everyone, thus enabling faster assistance to the customer.
5. Gear up with the right support
Tools such as a CRM system make it easy to follow procedures through checklists and workflows. A CRM system helps you keep your customer data organised, so you can easily find the right data when the customer contacts you. This way you can see what contracts the customer holds, the address in question and if the customer has contacted you regarding other matters.
A CRM system also makes it easier to collaborate between colleagues and departments, as you can share data and forward cases where more people and departments are needed to resolve the problem.
Utilise the time
With your procedures in place you’ll free up time – time you can spend giving the customer extra care and attention , which is exactly what creates customer loyalty.
Example: A customer calls in because they don’t understand their invoice. Since you now have full control over your customer data, you find the invoice and solve the problem in no time. This quick solution gives you the space to turn the call into something positive for the customer.
Unwanted incidents happen now and then. The important thing is to handle it well when it does.
Rookie in the CRM world?
Dont worry, we’ve all been there. That’s why we’ve gathered everything you need to know on one page.
6. Customer surveys
Collecting customer opinions and experiences is a must. Try to see all comments as positive, as they give you a chance to learn and improve.
Keep the following in mind when creating customer surveys:
- It’s better to have several, short surveys that many people will answer than a few long ones that no one answers.
- Send the survey when it is relevant to the customer. For instance, when the customer contacts your customer service or renews their contract.
- Remember that every time you communicate with your customers it’s a chance to sell your brand and your services. Keep this in mind when designing your customer surveys.
7. Bring focus to your customer surveys
Get everyone in your company to realise the value of customer surveys, and make it a team effort to get them answered. Why not turn it into a competition, where your employees get points every time they ask the customer to participate in a customer survey?
A competition not only increases the number of completed surveys, it often leads to more satisfied customers. Why? Since customer service knows that more customers will answer the survey, they themselves are motivated to do a better job.
By going that extra mile with every contact, you can immediately increase customer satisfaction.
Curious about competition as motivation?
Watch our webinar on gamification:
8. Follow up and improve
Make sure that the results of customer surveys are converted into concrete actions. Analyse the feedback and select three changes to try out for a few months. Then conduct a new customer survey to see if your efforts have made a difference. Analyse the new responses and then try three new things to see if there are further improvements.
9. Be where the customer is
To be approachable, you should be present on social media and other relevant platforms. But make sure you only have as many channels as you can handle. Prioritise the platforms where your customers spend the most time.
Today, the customer expects a quick response and if you don’t provide it, their trust in you is damaged. If you have a chat on your website, the customer expects an answer immediately, so always have the chat manned during the hours it is open.
10. Allow it to take time
Remember that changes take time. Setting strategies should be done carefully, there are no shortcuts. Smaller changes can be implemented immediately, but let the major transformation process take its time to unfold.
Work long-term and use milestones to check along the way that you are on the right track.
…but this you can start doing today
The easiest thing you can do in any customer situation is to greet the customer with a smile. As you probably already know, you can tell if the person you’re talking to is smiling, even over the phone. But why don’t you try smiling while composing an email or typing in a chat – your mood is also reflected in text.
So if you were inspired by this article and can’t wait to make a change, start smiling right away. It’s easy to do, costs nothing and gives immediate results.
Want to make bigger changes to become a customer magnet and increase your customer loyalty? Get in touch with us at Lime, we love talking about how you in the energy business can take even better care of your customers.