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Customer Loyalty for Small Scale B2B Business

“It takes months to find a customer, years to build loyalty and seconds to lose it.”

Customer plays a central role as real source of money for any profitable business while organizations just manage the resources for customer in the process of making profits. Since customer is so much central and important for any profitable business, there is always a competition between businesses to acquire new customers.

Customers are loyal to a brand hence it is very important to understand and define a brand before understanding customer loyalty. Users and customers often use multiple words to describe different dimensions of brand i.e. experience, quality, cost and consistency. It is equally important for business team to focus on these brand dimensions as much it is for building brand loyalty.

What is Customer Loyalty?

Customer loyalty is the result of consistent positive emotional experience of customers via physical attributes or perceived value. Majority of scientific definition of customer loyalty fail to establish that loyalty is an emotional connect with customers. Customer loyalty acts as an insurance against competitive forces and yields regular dividends to business.

Source : Yopto

Growth is always on the ambitious business radar and every business is aiming for the same pie for achieving business growth in a global, integrated, developed market.Customers have also become more demanding and business continuously keep exploring for opportunities to retain and keep them happy with every experience of product/ service. Business achieves growth in terms of customer count by adding new customers, activating old inactive customers or acquisition of competitor’s customers (new customers for business).

Customer loyalty makes business easy

Marketing and sales team should assign strategic priority to retain customers since it can consume approximately 5 X more resources to acquire a new customer as compared to retaining an existing customer. This further reinforces need of an active customer loyalty program that keeps customer engaged in frequent buying and attached to brand. Different customer surveys and study results have proved repeatedly proved importance and returns of a business appropriate customer retention and loyalty program. Majority of customers prefer to buy under guidance of referral according to survey by hubspot.

According to 2018 customer engagement & loyalty statistics –

  • 77% of consumers acknowledge relationships with specific brands for 10 or more years. (Inmoment)
  • 61% of loyal customers go out of their way to buy from them (Inmoment)
  • 75% of loyal customers will recommend a brand to friends and family (Inmoment)

Customer loyalty: B2B scenario

Customer loyalty in a B2B product / service environment is different since customer sales cycle and touch points are different from direct sales cycles. B2B sales often involves consultants and channel partners and end consumer may or may not directly interact with OEM. Customer loyalty programs focus on following key stages to achieve desired customer engagement, retention and experience related results –

  1. Channel / Influencer Transactions– Sales strategy for technical products employs influencers for most of sales transactions since end consumer or customer need knowledge to under product features and applications. Some of the prominent industries in domain of mass consumers is spares and accessories for white goods, real estate and technical products. It becomes important for business to employ, engage and interact with influencers since they further advocate products/services to end consumer.

Technology offers multiple solutions in this area by –

  • Discovering influencers over social media and other technical forums,
  • Recruit and Recording information related to basic and technical background of influencers,
  • Bi-directional communication and connection with influencers related to product features, market feedback and roadmap
  • Design, communicate and monitor incentive structures for influencers and performance

2. Social Media & Behaviour –With the advent of digital world, social media has become an integrated part of our life and purchase decisions. Social medial advocacy is believed by customers and marketers as a true measure of customer loyalty and reaps exponential growth benefits for products and brands from multiple categories. Social media advocacy offers an opportunity to connect and communicate brand message with millions at a very reasonable cost. This approach is very helpful for small businesses however 24X7 vigilance and professional guidance is required to address customer / competition over social media. Social media like WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook etc. helps in building customer connect and broadcasting messages of loyal customer.

3. Loyalty Redemption –Coupons and deals have been all time favorites of customers and influencer’s. Multiple studies and surveys have proved that customers look for deals, discounts before purchasing decision, and can alter purchase decision (quantity and brand) based on deals and discounts.

  • Discounts and coupons are top preference as 61% of consumers saying they use them (Expedia Network Affiliate)
  • 50 percent of shoppers clip digital coupons while shopping in-store(Inmar)
  • 39 percent bought a brand they otherwise would not have normally purchased because of a coupon and 18 percent switched back to another brand they have purchased previously because of a coupon(Inmar)
  • 38 percent bought more than they would have otherwise because of a coupon(Inmar)

Loyalty redemption help monitor success and acceptability of loyalty programs across end consumers and influencer’s community. It is important to alter loyalty programs based on feedback with the help of technology partners to improve customer engagement and retention.

Digital customer loyalty: Use Case

Digital technologies have opened new opportunities for marketers to engage customers in a cost effective manner. You may choose right strategy by selecting anyone or multiple approaches from our suggestions.

Customer tiers –Customer segmentation is a low-cost way to provide delight to your customers, this tactic focuses on recognition that, not all customers are created equal. Different customers carry different motivations however for ease of strategic addressing as a critical mass business teams form customer segments based on qualification criteria. These segments help business in designing relevant campaigns, products/ services and channels for reaching out to customers to service their need.

Exclusive access- More than 51 percent customers prefer an exclusive offer based on their loyalty to a brand  (Inmar).Customers desire exclusivity and exclusivity provides a sense of scarcity for some of product categories. Customers can be rewarded as exclusive products, service campaigns or benefits to motivate loyal customers.

Continuous customer engagement – It is possible to engage with customers via technology in a cost effective manner. Customer education helps to spread knowledge about product benefits / features, establish thought leadership and brand between customer and influencer network. An educated user is always a better advocate for your business.

Discounts& Points – Deals, discounts and coupons concept is borrowed from B2C but a straightforward way to engage customers and continue purchasing by influencers as well as end consumers.

  • 39 percent bought a product sooner than planned because of a coupon(Inmar)
  • Discounts and coupons are top preference as 61% of consumers saying they use them (Expedia Network Affiliate)
  • 50 percent of shoppers clip digital coupons while shopping in-store(Inmar)

Technology provides governance and effective delivery of deals and discounts to target user groups. It is advised that excessive reliance on deals and discounts affects brand and pricing hence this strategy shall be used with due caution.

Random surprises – We have learnt that emotions play a very central role in loyalty. A brand shall also show emotions of delight, positive surprise and care to customers via random apt offers. This helps in building a deep connect and recall with customers. It requires a great deal of customer and customer preference understanding to offer such a relish. Technology helps in capturing customer preferences and suggest business team to offer brownie points to customers.

Customer loyalty is essential for long term growth of any brand in product or service area and technology offers multiple solutions for further enhancing a warm and emotional connect with customers and channel partners by loyalty reward programs. Technology has a major intervention under SMS, mobile applications, social media, loyalty campaigns and customer profiling areas. By using barcodes and QR codes, loyalty campaigns become language agnostic and user friendly. A successful program offers following outcomes to business team –

  • Recognition for top influencers and differential rewards for consistent performers
  • Auniform and smooth experience of reward redemption and thereby increased
  • Improvement in “Top-of-Mind” re-call value and increased offtakes from influencers

It is often important to adopt an effective channel loyalty, influencer, sales agents and incentive program for sales of B2B products / services. Business should rely on an appropriate technology platforms and loyalty management software since right choice can greatly increase efficiencies in cost, time and reach of your channel loyalty programs.This combination of strategic expertise, technical capability, loyalty platforms and operational excellence has led to the execution of highly successful loyalty programs for some of the largest, most demanding businesses

RAZORSE

Our range of digital customer loyalty solutions for small and medium business offer enough choices to customise a catalogue to the exacting needs of your channel partners.

Contact us today. We are here to work with you to conceptualize, develop and manage channel loyalty programs specific to your business needs