Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2010 and was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on December 14, 2017.
So as we come to the end of another year, we thought it would be beneficial to update and share with you a very popular blog post of ours – one which carries an important message for all construction marketers to this day.
As 2018 planning once again falls upon us, construction companies will naturally look for ways to enhance their marketing efforts towards attracting new customers and clients. However, what we forget to realise is how effective and important nurturing existing and past customers is to any business, who have required our support and advice from day one.
While of course lead generation is crucial to any business, as outlined in one of our latest eBooks, looking after the customers you already have by building sustainable relationships and providing a quality service, is an ongoing profit source that must be nurtured.
It makes sense: you don’t have to spend time and resources going out and finding a new client — you just have to keep the ones you have happy. If you’re not convinced that retaining customers is so valuable, consider research which shows that existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more, when compared to new customers. After all, that important element of trust already exists!
So, how do you increase loyalty and develop meaningful relationships with your existing customers so they keep coming back for more? These are the issues addressed in this blog post…
10 Steps to increase Customer Loyalty
These may differ according to what products and services you offer as well as your overall company objectives:
1. Offer excellent customer support: if their problems are dealt with in a friendly and efficient manner then they will happily come back. This will involve ensuring the entire team know your product or service inside out and are aware of the most common questions that customers will ask. It is crucial to be as responsive as possible within a muti-platform world, where existing customers may also expect replies almost anywhere – not just over the phone but over social media platforms. Cover all avenues and ensure you have a sufficient team to deal with these enquiries as and when they arrive.
2. Provide guarantees: this builds trust and shows your customers that you have their best interests at heart. When searching for a product or service, the assurance of a guarantee is one crucial element within the decision-making process. Similarly, a strong service guarantee that puts the customer first doesn’t necessarily lead to chaos and failure. If designed and implemented properly, it enables you to get control over your organisation by setting clear goals and an information network that gives you the data you need to continuously improve performance.
3. Don’t be greedy: when customers have bought something, do not immediately pressure them to buy something else. Instead, suggest a product or service they might be interested in in the future and present it so that it’s for their benefit not yours! Your job as a construction marketer is not to sell, but to make your target audience‘s day-to-day lives easier.
4. Be personal: make customers feel valued by using personalised messages or recommendations. Any kind gesture that acknowledges that you value them as a person/company is crucial. There are so many ways to personalise your construction marketing and this will only continue to grow in the new year, with personalised email platforms being the go-to tactic for all businesses. Send them emails directly relating to their key challenges, or simply keep them in the loop with the latest updates that will affect their day-to-day role. Aside from email, why not schedule in an hour to browse social media and start a conversation with your existing customers? Send over useful links or mention them in your latest tweet to make them feel appreciated.
5. Keep up-to-date: change is inevitable, so make sure you track customer requirements as these can change over time. What they needed 3 years ago might not be what they need now. To do this successfully, keep in touch and if you cannot meet them face-to-face then a friendly phone call or email could be just as effective. If you have a large customer database, segment it into similar groups and send each one a tailored ‘catch-up’ message. This is fundamental, as it becomes all too easy to lose sight of how your customers grow and change direction.
6. Communicate company news: a blog or a monthly newsletter is not only a ‘nice-to-have’, but personalised emails (as touched upon above) are crucial to ensuring your customers can read about your company and feel a part of the team. This helps to reminds them that you’re not only there if they require your services, but that you also want them to be a part of these important changes you make as a business. In addition, use email marketing to let existing clients and customers know about any promotional offers or new products. Always give them insight into any big changes or deals happening ahead of time and before other prospects, so they feel appreciated.
7. Build relationships: social media cannot be avoided in this day and age. Use it to your advantage by engaging to customers and give your business a personality. It is the little things that are important in fostering and nurturing business relationships – but in order to make sure your efforts don’t go to waste, only be visible on the social platforms that are necessary and most relevant to your customers. Don’t feel the need to be on them all!
8. Host an event: face-to-face networking is still very important in the construction industry and offering clients an opportunity to network with other industry professionals might get them some new business. People don’t tend to forget who referred them and by helping them grow their business, they might end up needing your products and services even more than before. Our DECONSTRUCT event this year was supported by a host of existing customers, who received early access to a free glossy print copy of our brand new (chunky) ‘Essential Guide to Construction Marketing‘.
9. Testimonials Sell: a satisfied customer is the best kind of word-of mouth-marketing. And while the digital world continues to evolve, this still serves as a fundamental basis for bringing in new business. Post these on your website to both entice new customers and also keep existing ones happy, as they can see that their feedback is appreciated and can also read about the experiences other clients have had with your business.
10. Ask for feedback: in order to constantly improve your offering, change is required. Always be willing to change tactics by asking for feedback and carrying out regular surveys, to ensure your clients remain happy and are open to sharing their opinions with you. Your existing customers are your business, so listen carefully and keep them satisfied by providing that flexibility and willingness to change direction as and when it’s required.
All in all, ensure your marketing efforts are both efficient and cost effective by establishing who those valuable customers are and directing your loyalty-driving activities towards them. After all, loyalty is seen to be a direct result of customer satisfaction and value, which is created and maintained through loyal and satisfied employees. This is illustrated by an updated version of the service profit chain below:
So we ask you all, do you think this model is suitable for the construction industry, where the focus is on engagement and interaction as the key elements to keeping both employees and customers happy?
We wish you the best of luck with your construction marketing planning for next year – and of course if you require any support don’t hesitate to contact us on 01908 671707, or view our range of construction resources here.