How important is customer loyalty for your business?
Pretty important I can guess, and that’s why you are reading this article in the first place, aren’t you? Well, in that case, let’s start with some interesting stats about customer loyalty impact on business.
According to the Harvard Business Review, depending on the industry, acquiring a new customer can be 5-25 times more costly than retaining an existing customer. On a positive note, a study by Bain & Company showed that even a 5% boost in customer retention rates can increase business profits by 25%-35%.
What does this tell us?
It tells us that regardless of the industry one might belong to, building customer loyalty in the B2B sector is an incredibly important thing. Having all the existing customers backing the business means less marketing expense, more repeat business, and better publicity through word of mouth marketing.
The benefits of preserving customers are many, but we are not here to talk about that. No, we are going to talk about how a B2B business in 2020 can work on building customer loyalty. So without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Some Things To Remember Before Diving In
Before discussing the riveting details of all types of customer loyalty programs for small business, here are a few factors to remember-
- The main reason why B2B and B2C loyalty enhancing programs are different is that B2B businesses need to apply a more personalized, buyer-specific methods that are tailored for each individual.
- B2B buyers are focused on their goals and business benefits. So the programs need to adhere to that focus and requirements.
- Before launching B2B customer loyalty programs, the market, business relationship, and traditional loyalty programs need to be researched.
Now that you have memorized the above-mentioned points (I surely hope you have) let’s check out some effective B2B methods of customer retention.
Loyalty Enhancing Methods For B2B Circa 2020
Building customer loyalty for B2B businesses is not going to be easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Here is a list of the most effective ways to increase fidelity among the customers for a B2B business.
1. Transparency In Branding: The First Step
This might not be a loyalty program for building customer loyalty in B2B, but hear me out.
What kind of B2B customer service provider will you stick to? A company that promises big things with just words or a company who let their brand do the talking?
Customers are fiercely loyal to the brands that they relate to. And they usually pick this brand based on how much transparency it offers them. Brand transparency is a matter of honest branding that gives users the right information and data so that they can make decisions based on truth.
Positive and transparent branding is not going to be only about choosing the right colours and texts. Remember that brand identity extends from the website to how the business actually treats the customer. So just as much as you focus on sending the right messages on the website, focus on giving the customer a similar experience in real life. There should be a likeness between the brand you are showing online and the brand you are portraying in real life. Any kind of duplicity, and you’ll lose business customer loyalty.
2. Reward The Right Actions
Who does not like to get rewarded?
But in all honesty, an incentivized loyalty program for B2B customers is the perfect way of getting new customers as well as retaining old ones. With this, a B2B business can award certain actions of the customers, such as a 10% discount on referrals, or free consultation with experts on sharing the business page on their social media profile, etc.
The incentivized program is in a way based on the theory of positive reinforcement. Clients would only like to perform certain actions when the reward is good. So if the rewards are good, clients will be prone to stay with the business much longer and leverage the benefits of all the offers, while the business leverages the benefits of high customer retention rates and strong business customer loyalty.
3. Personalization Is The Key To Happiness (Of The Clients)
They say personalization is the key to customer happiness. Why should it be any different for B2B customer loyalty?
We already talked in brief about how customer retention efforts for a B2B company needs to be a lot more personalized than a B2C company. All because B2B customers are ones with individual goals that are often business-related. And if the business can provide personalized benefits that help people fulfill these goals, the clients will not be abandoning the business very soon.
Now it is a matter of how to do it? Surely, in order to personalize such offers, one has to begin by getting to know the client. Data collection can help in such cases. While running the incentivized loyalty program for B2B customers, collect data on how clients are engaging with the offers. Collect data on when, why, and which kind of clients are taking advantage of certain types of offers. And once you have a comprehensive database, start to analyze and apply it. Offer personalized experience on the B2B platform of the company to make these clients feel more at home. Because when customers feel like they are home, they are less likely to leave.
4. Build A Relationship, Not Just Partnership
Imagine this- you have a chance to go on the adventure of a lifetime, but you have to choose between your best friend, and a random stranger. Which one do you pick?
Chances are, most of you would pick your best friend. And why not, after all, they are the ones you have the closest relationship with. So what if I told you that B2B business customer loyalty building is a lot like this scenario?
Customers are more prone to stay with a business they have a personal connection with. And by personal connection, we don’t mean businesses being best friends. Building a strong relationship with the clients should be strongly focused on by the B2B service providers. This not only generates good relations, but clients are not going to leave a company where they get such amazing and family-like treatment.
So how to do it? There are plenty of ways to create a close relationship with clients and build customer loyalty in B2B. Annual events, webinars, seminars, annual conferences, are only a few of the ways to create such good relationships. Along with that, various engagement programs, such as surveys for a reward, freebies, etc will help the B2B companies to get in touch with their existing clients, and build a strong relationship with them, leading to a long and fruitful partnership.
5. Benefit With Referrals
We are always casually referring to this product or that to friends and families. “Use this lotion it makes the skin smooth,” or “wow, you should totally shop from this website I found, they give great discounts!”. But imagine how nice it will be to get rewarded for these casual referrals. I don’t know about you, but I’d refer to products more if I got rewarded for referrals.
Running a successful program like this helps the business in building customer loyalty as well as save a lot of money on retailing efforts. Why bother with long and elaborate campaigns when there are loyal people who would be happy to spread the word in the village, only in return for some amazing rewards.
It is easy running a referrals program. Each time a new client joins with a referral from XYZ, who is a long time client, the business can simply award that client with special, personalized discounts. The clients can also share the business service pages on social media pages to grab the benefits of the amazing offers.
Through the use of positive reinforcement like this, you will be ensuring B2B customer loyalty as well as more interaction. Because when the interactive actions have amazing rewards, the clients will definitely interact more with the B2B business.
6. Leverage The Magic Of Strategic Partnerships
Don’t you love when companies partner up to deliver us with exciting value?
Like your favourite fast-food chain partnering up with your favourite snack company. Remember Doritos Locos Tacos?
Seeing favourite companies coming together is always exciting. And it’s not just a matter of excitement, rather the sense of added value. Clients would love nothing more to get added value to an already valuable service from the preferred B2B service provider. And that’s why it is not going to be insane for the business to seek out partnerships with relevant companies to give that extra value to the clients and preserve business customer loyalty.
When you make the B2B organization as a one-stop-shop for multiple services for your clients, why else would they go anywhere else?
Depending on the clients and their requirements, providing exciting packages will always excite clients and help with building customer loyalty in B2B. But, give people the opportunity to opt-out and avail only one service as well. Remember not everyone might be excited about the package deal. Some just want one thing, and the other offer will only be a burden.
Wrapping Up: At The End Of The Day, It’s A Matter Of How Much You Care!
It doesn’t matter how much technique B2B organization applies with the aim of building customer loyalty, none of it would work if the business doesn’t care about the customers.
It’s 2020, and B2B clients are smart today. Customers are not going to interact with a discounted product if the quality of the service is incredibly low. So just as you think of retaining old clients with innovative loyalty programs for B2B customers, you should also consider providing high quality and valuable services to them. Remember that, regardless of the presence of offers and programs, if the business doesn’t care, clients will only return the favour. So showing clients that the business cares, and it’ll be easy to hold on to the existing customer.