"Do we give up our day job to squash fruits?" This was how Joe McEwan, Head of Digital and Communities at Innocent Drinks, introduced us to the brand's customer centric approach. In the beginning, before the founders had even given up their day jobs, they were asking - and truly valuing - the input of their fans.
And that, my friends, was how last week's Art of Retention event began, with Joe telling us how Innocent Drinks was building brand loyalty in 2015.
Hosted by Commerce Futures and held at the beautiful RSA building, the morning saw the likes of James Fairbank, Head of Brand Marketing at Rapha Racing, Michel Koch, Senior eCommerce Consultant at HomeServe, Matthew Henton, Head of eCommerce at Moss Bros Group and Paul Sulyok, Founder & CEO of Green Man Gaming, take to the stage.
How are brands building brand loyalty in 2015?
Sure, the big focus these days seems to be on acquiring new customers, but retention strategies are far from dead.
Perhaps the most interesting discovery of the day was the fact that, even though all speakers came from very different companies, the foundations of their retention strategies (and their biggest cause for concern) were very similar.
Revealed: 4 ways to delight and retain your customer
Here are the 4 top tips from the day, agreed upon by each and every speaker ...
1. Be social everywhere
Don't limit engagement generating activities to social media. Communicate as much as you can - internally and externally. Delight customers with conversation points in unexpected places (i.e. Rapha Racing shares information on clothing tags, Innocent Drinks placed humorous tips on the bottoms of their packaging). Stay true to your brand's tone and goals, i.e. educate, build a closer community, create a talking point and drive engagement.
Internal communication is key when it comes to working towards the same end goal. Do all you can to generate and maintain buy-in for the retention strategy at all levels.
2. Don't forget the importance of listening and acknowledging
Be prepared to listen and show that you value your customers and their feedback. At Innocent Drinks, for example, people are actively encouraged to visit Fruit Towers and share their thoughts; they're greeted warmly and even given a tour of the office.
If customers are telling you something about your brand, about your customer service or your products / services, acknowledge it regardless of whether it's good or bad and ensure that the information is investigated and used appropriately. After all, your brand is alive today because of your customer!
3. Create value through service
No, it's not just price that sets you apart. We're all no doubt aware of the importance of customer experience - across all channels and at all stages of the buying cycle. Did you know that, according to Michel Koch, "68% of customers leave a brand because of unsatisfactory service"? Before you get lost in the 'they only care about the price' mind-set, stop and think again ...
4. Focus on the importance of delivering a single view for the customer
We're all desperate to get this whole single customer view thing spot on. And for good reason! Personalisation plays a massive role in retention strategies, and clean, useful data means happiness for everyone involved. Sometimes, it's a little too easy to think of it all from the brand's point of view ... but, as Michel Koch pointed out, it's important to remember just how crucial a single view of the brand is to all of your customers out there. Reminding yourself of your experience, demands and frustrations as a customer is key. After all, none of us like repeating our problem on the phone, in-store, via email, on social ... you get the picture, right! ;)
Didn't make it to the event?
If you weren't able to make it to Commerce Futures' Art of Retention event, fear not - there's loads of things happening this year! Head over to their website and keep an eye on our blog pages for more event updates.