customer loyalty

How Will You Celebrate Leap Day?

Unlike your favourite real holidays, which happen annually, you only get the chance to celebrate February 29, or Leap Day, once every four years. That makes Leap Day actually less frequent than once in a blue moon (which happens roughly every three years).

Motorbike

How should one celebrate this day? By taking a leap, of course! By trying something new that you’ve been putting off for far too long. That’s as simple as making a booking for a dance class, or trying a new restaurant, or bungee jumping in a chicken suit (if you do this, please send us photos).

I know what you’re thinking: Leap Day isn’t a real holiday. Well, neither is Talk Like A Pirate Day, but as more people support and celebrate these left-field calendar dates, we can change the world. I still hold out hope for a Leap Day miracle.

Leap Day William

We also think it’s a good day to take a risk with your marketing.

The best advertisements of all time all have an element of risk. Have you ever thought that a scripted message looks different to what everyone else does, or is a bit ‘out there’? That probably means it’s more effective. People remember things that are different. It’s one reason why we recommend updating your messages – to keep it different! After all, how do you expect to secure your competitor’s clients if you market your business in exactly the same way they do?

Old Spice

So if you’ve been playing it safe with your marketing, do one thing this Leap Day: ask us to write something wacky, wonderful and way out there. After all, there’s a Leap Day saying: if you want make a baby, playing it safe isn’t the best way to do it.

I’m on a horse.

Second Impressions Last

In business, consistency in customer service is essential to long-term success. At Messages On Hold, we do a number of things to impress clients time after time, so they stick around. We’ll suggest message ideas to them regularly, refresh productions with new voices or music if they get a bit old, and even offer to record a new voicemail if we reckon we could improve their existing one. It’s all part of a proactive team effort to make a superb impression every time, while ensuring the customer gets as much value out of us as possible. We’re not the only company taking the initiative though.

A few weeks ago I talked about how I was blown away by the first impression I experienced at a retailer for one of Australia’s leading skincare brands. As someone relatively new to the whole “looking after your skin” thing, I was won over by the attentive but personable assistant and the liberal use of free samples. The second impression I got was just as good!Welcome Back! Doormat

When I needed to purchase more of a product I had run out of, I went to a different branch to last time as it was more convenient. I knew what I was after so I just went to the till and made my purchase. After my last purchase I had been saved in the national customer database. The shop attendant saw the last time I had bought the product, and noticed that I had used it up very quickly. He then recommended that I use the product out of the shower to make it last longer, before generously seasoning my shopping bag with some free samples. He paid attention, got on the front foot and offered me a way to save money.

Sure, thanks to his handy tip I’ll probably be using less of the product in question, but this on-the-ball attendant helped win me over as a long-term customer, and that’s invaluable.

If you want to make sure clients stick around for the long haul and are a source of repeat business, it literally pays to make outstanding impressions beyond the first.

– Magnus

It’s Always Personal, It’s Business

“It’s nothing personal, it’s just business” is a phrase that, unbelievably, still lingers in some modern business owners’ lexicon. The reach of social media, the rapid rate at which consumers can communicate and the speed with which they can congratulate or condemn means that whether you’re in customer service or marketing: business is always personal.

When customers use social media to query or complain, the business is presented with a unique opportunity: to personally engage with this one customer. Studies into complaints made over social media indicate that 50% of customers give a brand only one week to respond to a complaint before they stop doing business with them. The same study indicated that 89% of customers began business with another company after a poor experience. Can you afford to stay silent?

The most common words on a major airline’s Facebook newsfeed.

The most common words on a major airline’s Facebook newsfeed.

It would be unreasonable for a business to completely change their terms of service on the whim of one customer… but prompt acknowledgement and resolution of a complaint online can help a customer to not only forgive the grievance, but flip their view of the company from negative to positive, thereby strengthening brand loyalty.

Another study indicated that after having two-way interaction with a brand over social media, 90% of customers would recommend the brand to others. In developing an emotional connection, a sense of loyalty, between customer and brand, social media is an invaluable and incredibly effective approach.

Still not sure just how “personal” it can be? In 2008, United Airlines were shown just how effective social media can be as a weapon when it was used against them with humiliating and ruthless efficiency. After irreparably damaging musician Dave Carrol’s guitar during a flight, and refusing to reimburse him despite 9 months of negotiations, Dave released a song on YouTube which blasted their business and customer service. The song went viral, and four days after its release, United’s stock had dropped by 10% – an estimated $180 million.

As more consumers choose social media as the means to communicate with the brands they use, the age old adage “it’s nothing personal, just business” should recede from all minds serious about strengthening brand loyalty, and increasing their customer base.

– Kyle

First Impressions Form Lasting Loyalties

Not being a massive sports fan I like to take advantage of the quiet streets and empty shops courtesy of the Grand Final. Thinking that I’d beat the crowds and gain the full attention of the sales staff I entered the empty shopping centre optimistic and in a buying frame of mind. Despite this positive attitude I left the centre empty handed but with a fresh understanding about the relationship between first impressions and customer loyalty.

Entering a small store I noticed that the two sales staff were gossiping at the counter and customercare
completely absorbed in their banter- not a great first impression. I felt like I was intruding on their conversation and nervously checked to see if I hadn’t just walked into a closed store. I then went to sample some hand lotion, but when I pushed down on the pump, the lotion shot out onto the shop’s glass windows. Being only a metre away from the staff

I turned to apologise and clean up the mess only to find they were oblivious to my indiscretion. So what did I do?

Well I learnt that customers who don’t feel cared for don’t care about a business. If I’m made to feel neglected or unwanted within seconds of entering a store, I’m unlikely to form any loyalty. I felt ignored, so I left and probably won’t be returning. In this instance they missed out on the sale – and a very loyal customer!

My negative initial experience will stop me from forming any long term loyalty to the store, and I’m not the only one to judge based on first impressions. MarketingCharts.com released a report earlier this year titled “First Impressions Critical for Fuelling Customer Loyalty” that found 48% of consumers surveyed said that companies most gain their loyalty at their first purchase or at the beginning of their service.

These same quick judgements occur when your customer’s vital first impression is formed over the phone. Don’t let callers and potential customers feel like they’ve been forgotten on hold- harness the power of your phone system and make sure that every caller gets the star treatment every time. If you don’t, what are the odds they’ll give you a second chance at a first impression? I’m guessing the same as me cleaning up that hand lotion and returning to the store.

– Emily

Do You Walk The Talk?

Okay, before reading any further click here and watch this short clip from ‘The Iron Lady’ featuring Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher.

Done? Feel inspired? I hope so! After this video made the rounds in our office, it got me thinking about what it means to be a person of integrity. The idea of “what we think, we become” is important both on a personal and business level. If you don’t keep your word with your peers, they’ll eventually desert you. At very least they’ll lose respect for you.

kym

Streep as Thatcher

The same goes for your customers. If you keep your word and conduct yourself in an open and honest way, you’ll gain their respect and their loyalty.

– Rachel

Everyone Likes Surprises!

“Customer satisfaction is important in business”… that’s something we hear all the time. But why not go further than just satisfying clients and exceed their expectations? By turning customer satisfaction into customer loyalty, you can expect a regular return, and it doesn’t take much to make the transformation happen.

At Messages On Hold the average client life is approximately eight years. Of course, we do all the things you’d expect: personable customer service, a top-notch premium product offering and rapid turnaround times. However, we suspect one of the main reasons our clients stay with us is the little surprises we give them. A lot of these surprises relate to our products and services, such as reminding clients when the best time to update their production is, or suggesting topics for their latest batch of messages. But it’s the completely unexpected things that I’d like to mention in this blog post.

Every once in a while we’ll send out a complimentary gift to our clients. You probably do too. They include teabags, coffee sachets, chewing gum packs, wine bottles… we like to mix things up so a client never receives the same WOW twice. But the real reason they’re so successful is that we personalise each WOW with the client’s name.

kym

These aren’t the tacky things you’d find in a cereal box or Happy Meal. By personalising each WOW with a name and message, we’re telling our clients that we remember them as individuals, not just numbers on an invoice; and showing our appreciation with a little freebie. Out-of-the-blue surprises like these are rare in business. Although they’re completely unrelated to what we do, that’s exactly what makes them special. This sets us apart from competitors and adds that little bit extra to an experience our clients already love.

Why not take a few minutes out of your day to devise your own way of WOWing clients? After all, customer satisfaction is great, but it’s the little details that turn a happy customer into a loyal one.

– Magnus Newman

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way

Have you ever had a business do something extra for you as a customer? Maybe they remember your regular order, or what day you usually come in. Paying more attention to customers is a simple way to encourage loyalty and build long, fruitful relationships.

When I started at Messages On Hold, one of my first tasks was to work on something we call ‘Two New Message Ideas’. It’s a simple and effective concept that lets clients know we’re thinking of them.

Our clients are busy people, so when they haven’t updated in a while, I have a look at what’s happening in their business or industry, and suggest some message topics they can include in their production to ensure they’re getting the most out of their On Hold. For example, when mortgage exit fees were banned, I suggested our Real Estate or Finance clients include a message about it for their callers. It’s something extra that I can give our clients, so they know we’re looking out for them.

Is there something you can do in your business to help your clients feel special?  Sometimes it’s as simple as keeping client notes – remembering that there’s a birthday or a wedding coming up and send them a card! Or perhaps there’s something you can throw in for free, a cup of tea while customers wait, free vacuum with a car service, or those little cookies that sometimes come with a cup of coffee.  Or maybe you can give them a voucher for their next visit. Most of these things only take a few minutes, cost very little, but leave a lasting impression on your customers.

Little extras help a customer feel valued and show that you appreciate the fact they chose to do business with you. After all, without customers there is no customer service!

If you’re looking for a way to boost your return customers, start thinking about little things your business can do to make them feel appreciated. Take the time to go that extra mile, and you’ll see a difference in customer loyalty, and hopefully some great word of mouth advertising too!

– Rachel McGeorge