Customer loyalty is often associated with B2C markets. But in order to stand out in often saturated and competitive sectors, B2B companies should use it as a way to ensure they don’t lose their customers to competitors too. From creating repeat business to achieving bigger sales, there are many benefits of achieving customer loyalty. However, it is especially important for B2B businesses because they often focus on finding new customers, rather than keeping their current ones engaged, interested and happy.
Research from Gallup, a research-based global performance management consulting company, has shown this is a problem. Its report, Guide to Customer Centricity: Analytics and Advice for B2B Leaders states that only 29% of a company’s B2B customers are engaged, with 71% actively disengaged and ready to take their business elsewhere. This means you could be at risk of losing money within the growth of your B2B customer base if you don’t focus on retaining it. So to help ensure you keep your clients engaged, here are five ways to improve your B2B customer loyalty.
Regularly reach out
This is a good and simple place to start when it comes to B2B customer retention. Touching base and keeping in touch with your clients regularly can show that you see them as a priority and that you have their best interests at heart. You shouldn’t just reach out to them when a business problem develops or when you want their money, like to let them know about offers on a product or service. It’s better to also get in touch to share good news with them, or inform them about your company developments. Or you can just reach out to see how things are and how business is generally going for them.
Keep relationships strong
Working in a B2B market is not just about getting your products or services to clients and successfully out of the door. MyCustomer, a business website for sales and service professionals, says it’s also about building a brand reputation that will allow you fan base to thrive. For this reason, the key to B2B customer loyalty is about nurturing relationships. This is not just with decision makers or end users (while it’s important to appeal to these people too), but with the middleman. So it’s important to work on keeping the relationships strong with the key contacts of your clients, who are your first port of call. If your contact leaves that client or changes job positions, it’s also important to make time to get to know their replacement quickly. This should help rebuilt that trust and confidence a previous contact had in you and your business, ensuring the relationship with your client continues to stay strong.
Expand your reward offering
Increasing and evolving the rewards you offer your long-term customers, such as discounts, gifts and exclusive offers, is another key way to improve your B2B customer loyalty. This can help make customers feel that you value them and their business. You could offer a free trial of one of your products or a free demonstration of a new service, or you could provide them with a free supply of a product that they regularly order from you. You could also provide a more tailored service as a loyalty reward for long-term customers, such as personalised support. This could include a personal account manager who works directly with a client, such as when placing orders and dealing with billing and queries, to help make business processes quicker and easier for them.
Know your clients’ developments
Keeping your ear to the ground, so that you’re aware of your clients’ achievements, can also help improve customer loyalty for B2B companies. This includes keeping on top of a client’s latest company news and business developments. In addition to giving you another reason to reach out to a client, which shows you’re interested in their business, this can provide a way for you to reward their successes. For instance, you could send a card or gift to congratulate a client on a new product or service they’ve launched, for winning an impressive industry award, or for opening an expansion of their business premises. Doing things like this can help show you are a business that admires and rewards its customers. It also helps makes your business stand out, so that customers keep your business front of mind.
Ask for feedback, take action, and inform
The only way you can really fully know what your customers think of your products or services is to ask them. But it’s one thing to ask for feedback. It’s another to take action on what your B2B customers tell you. And then tell them what you’ve done, based on their feedback. Doing this can show that you don’t just listen and respond to your customers, but value their opinions and ideas too.
You could add a survey to your website or send out emails to ask for feedback when a customer has made a purchase or used a service. You could then find out what they think does and doesn’t work in your business, and look at implementing applicable changes. While some clients might suggest big and outlandish ideas, others could propose small changes that will be beneficial to improving your business, not to mention your customer retention. When a change has been made, you could then contact that client to let them know and thank them for their contribution. All this can go a long way in reminding clients that it’s beneficial and valuable to stay loyal to your business, improving your company customer loyalty in the process.