Archives for category: Customer Retention

Tis the season to be jolly … well for me tis the season to be jolly every season 🙂 As anyone who knows me will agree 🙂

It did get me to thinking though, now that the season of goodwill is upon us, how effectively goodwill is used in business.

I am not talking about goodwill in the accounting sense of selling a business, but about the random acts of kindness that happen as part of business life. Something out of the ordinary, from the goodness of someone’s heart; a kind word at the right time; a surprise gift, the benefit of someone’s skill and experience.

Immediately my mind conjures up an image of George Bailey surrounded by the generosity of his customers in the  1940s film “It’s a wonderful life”. Black and white it maybe but the warmth of the scene positively glows from the screen.

It really touches me that these humble people were willing to give what little they had to help someone in their time of need. There was no fiscal  reward just a plethora of random acts of kindness. Make believe it may be, but I know from experience that these acts of goodwill happen daily in real (business) life.

The generosity of the human spirit never fails to touch me. Spreading happiness is something I believe in; a kind word at the checkout; a readiness to smile, focussing on the positive, and seeing the best in people, and helping others.

Helping others is not only good for those who help, it makes them feel happier too. It’s a fact. When we give to others it activates the parts of the brain that are associated with pleasure. Help others whilst eating chocolate (which releases serotonin) and you are on to a real winner!

What instances do you know where goodwill is being used authentically in business? I would love to share such stories, especially at this time of year. I am not talking about philanthropy (truly marvellous in its own right), just the sharing of ordinary, everyday occurrences. They may be unusual events that struck a chord and were unexpected that you have experienced or know of. Please do share.

It’s not about giving money. It’s about giving time, or sharing skills or knowledge. I am sure it happens very often, and goes unspoken because that’s what make these acts so special. It doesn’t have to be big, in fact it would be great to hear about the small things – all these small wonderful events that are occurring every day. It’s true .. small things do make a big difference.

Here’s three true real-life random acts of kindness in business that I think will resonate with you:

1.  Staff at an established business were betrayed by a colleague, leaving the mood, and trust in human nature a little low. What should arrive from someone who cared about the people in the business … afternoon tea and cakes with some kind, inspirational words.

2.  The MD of a successful company offered their years of experience and knowledge to help a growing business by suggesting relevant tips and focus to help their growth plans. All without being asked, it was done from the heart because they saw something special in the company, and wanted to help.

3.  A business owner who had taken some tough knocks receives a poem from someone who cares. The poem is by Mother Teresa and is called “Anyway“ and they are encouraged to continue believing in themselves, what they do and the difference they are making.

I am blessed to know some wonderful people who truly give from their hearts. People like Helen, Mark, Jason, Peter and Gail amongst others who have surprised me with random acts of kindness this year. Thank you for making me happy and spreading happiness.

As Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”

Here’s wishing you a wonderful, peaceful and happy Christmas.

Karen Lambert is an experienced strategic marketer and Managing Director at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

Recently, I was having a discussion with friends about the general issue of trust (not too deep!) you know when someone lets you down in some way and you question whether you really knew them at all?

Well, the conversation turned to the question of trust in business relationships and how much we take for granted. Trust relationships are vital to the conduct of business and trust plays a major role.
The level of trust in business relationships can be a great determinant of success. It is the one truly sustainable competitive advantage in business, yet can sometimes be overlooked or ignored.

So, can we improve on trust relationships and in particular on our levels of trustworthiness?

Trust  can be used  to describe certain behaviours. It can be used to describe whether or not we feel comfortable sharing certain information with someone else. And we use the same word to indicate whether or not we feel other people have our interests at heart as opposed to their own interests.

Other values are tied into the issue of trust. We consider whether the person/company that we are dealing with is credible and reliable.  People don’t ordinarily trust institutions and organisations, they trust other people. Trust typically gets created at an individual level, between people, and usually in conversations. It’s important to engage your client about issues that are key to them: Listen to what is important and real to them, focus on them not just as a means to your own end. Have a collaborative approach to relationships.

You can win trust by being transparent so get into a habit of being transparent in all your dealings. Being true and honest is a behaviour that people can check out for themselves. It also increases credibility because you are less likely to conceal things. If you make a mistake, admit it and people will still trust you. Cover it up and you’ll destroy any chance of people trusting you.

Even though some people trust by default, ultimately, transparency is needed for trust to endure.  By telling the truth and giving people the means to know for themselves, you can build the foundation for a strong relationship.

Being or becoming trustworthy can’t necessarily be learnt. Our actions are driven by our beliefs, which in turn are driven by our values or principles. If your values don’t drive you to behave in a trustworthy manner all the time, you’ll be exposed very quickly and losing trust is incredibly easy, just let someone down once and years of trust are gone forever.

So, trust can be hard to gain and easy to lose.

Here at Happy Creative we try and apply the principle that actions always speak louder than words (a saying my Grandmother used on many an occasion!).

We value highly the trust that clients place in us to be honest, credible, reliable and to deliver what we say we will. Importantly, we trust each other too. You can’t be more transparent than that!

Debbie Lewis is a Customer Support Executive at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

There is a common theme at Happy in 2012. A theme that is as relevant across all the different sectors we work in; and across b2b and b2c. The theme? Retention.

More and more of our clients are asking “ how do we retain our customers; and gain their loyalty?”
It’s widely recognised that it costs far more to acquire a new customer than to keep one you already have. And in a tough environment with shrinking markets, customer retention has grown in importance at board level. Companies are recognising the benefit of nurturing and protecting one of their strongest assets. So, how do you keep customers loyal?

Loyalty is no longer just about rewards points, discounts, miles – it’s about engagement. And the stronger the engagement the stronger the bond. The stronger the bond the more unbreakable that bond is. Deeper engagement is the way to achieve loyalty.

Here’s my four tips to increase customer retention and improve loyalty.

1. Be consistent across all touch points

Live your brand and its values at every touch point and at every stage of the process. Delivering a memorable experience and consistent service quality helps build that emotional connection. Creating that type of customer experience involves delivering quality customer service consistently across all touch points. So, have you considered all of your touch points?  Remember your touch points are ALL the places you interact with your customers.  Recently in my local supermarket I heard staff complaining about colleagues and how awful it is to work at that supermarket; discussing it openly in the aisles for customers to hear. Quite oblivious to the impact they were making on their customers. A touch point faux pas.

We are living in an hugely interconnected world, and it is vital that companies are delivering their brand promise at every touch point.

2 Get serious with your data

Good data has often been cited as one of the major obstacles Marketing Managers contend with. I’m not talking about mailing lists, I’m talking about the real-life data on which marketing decisions can be made. Analysing the facts and figures of customer transactions helps companies understand customer buying patterns. This data can be used to build loyalty programmes, create segments and produce more targeted messaging that your customers will engage with.  Earning loyalty via deeper customer engagement and data gathered from loyalty programs can be used effectively to drive a quality experience at all stages of the customer lifecycle.

3. Customer Intelligence

We like to call it CID  – Customer Intelligence Devotion. Companies who really understand their customers are the more successful ones. Understanding your customers can take many forms. Appreciating their likes, dislikes and preferences helps with segmentation and messaging for retention. Understanding preferences gives brands the deep level of customer intelligence needed to deliver the most relevant, highest quality customer experience and drive long-term loyalty. The voice of the customer should be at the heart of your marketing. Listening to your customers through focus groups, individual face to face or on the phone. How are you helping them? Why are they engaging with you? What do you do well? What should you do more of? What issues do they have in their industry? How are they interacting with your brand; what touch points work for them? The answers are with the customer.

4. Random acts of kindness

Use the element of surprise. Send an offer or promotion code to a loyal customer – they rarely expect it; share your extensive industry experience in a free how-to guide, remember important dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, send your customers a card, a text or email. Be personal. Delivering beyond expectations works.

Creating a deep emotional engagement with customers will have the largest impact on customer retention. This doesn’t just mean having jolly chats, it is using the data and information you have and using it gain a deeper understanding of the true relationships you have with your customers.  From this point you can make rational and more considered judgements on your customers.  Ally this to a clearer understanding of what you (your brand) stands for and you are in pole position.  Then it is a case of showing that you care and meaning it.  There is just no getting away from the truth… A happy customer is a loyal customer.

Karen Lambert is an experienced strategic marketer and Managing Director at Happy Creative, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

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