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Customer churn is a major concern for any business – but especially for B2B companies. If you can’t handle customer loyalty, your bottom line can be completely destroyed.
The best way to reduce churn is to create a robust loyalty plan that will both retain these important current customers and give you a solid foundation for your business to scale.
Why do B2B companies need a loyalty plan?
Customer churn is an integral part of any business, so it is normal for customers to leave the company every now and then. However, when “every now and then” becomes “frequent” it can create a huge gap in your ability to run an effective B2B business.
In fact, according to the latest statistics, preventable churn costs companies $ 136 billion annually.
If your customers are businesses themselves, it is a good bet that once they have decided not to use your solution, they will go to one of your competitors.
However, a good B2B loyalty plan isn’t about being defensive. A decent strategy will keep your customers from running into a competitor for a while, but a top-notch loyalty plan will inspire your customer base, build loyalty, and create excitement for your brand.
Here are suggestions for creating this plan.
Put customer training first
As good business owners know, once they’ve agreed to buy from you, the customer journey doesn’t end.
If your customers have to use your solution without fully understanding its potential, they will likely get frustrated and wonder what they are paying for. The # 1 reason for service cancellation is a lack of ROI on a customer’s initial investment after purchase, research shows.
That means that training should be at the heart of the onboarding process to ensure that your customers are aware of the potential of the solution you’ve sold them.
Create explanatory videos, schedule welcome emails, and keep customers informed about the latest versions of your product or service through regular communication.
You could have the best B2B solution in the world, but if your customers aren’t educated about its potential, churn is likely to follow. Education creates loyalty.
Provision of problem-solving resources
Once a company has invested in your solution, you will be asked many questions. Whether your company offers SaaS solutions, physical products, or advice, it is expected to solve a problem for another company. So when a problem arises, you are expected to solve it.
Of course, you don’t have the time to personally address all of these issues. Therefore, it is a good idea to create resources to help customers solve problems on their own.
Build a bank of quality content that is readily available to your customers so they can solve a problem whenever they want.
Once you’ve put together a knowledge center with videos, blogs, e-books, webinars, whitepapers, and other useful resources, you’ll give your customers the space they need to explore your product without you having to hold their hand.
Put your ear to the grapevine
When customers decide they no longer want to work with you, it won’t be a surprise if you look carefully. Red flags always appear; By making an effort to take care of them, you can keep a customer from slipping.
Red flags to watch out for:
- Your customers haven’t signed up on your platform in a while
- Your commitment to your product will decrease
If a customer’s behavior shows signs of waning interest, try reaching out in person to see what you can do to help. Sometimes the simplest gesture is enough to pull a customer back from the abyss.
Personalize your service
Customers crave to connect these days, and the B2B world is no different. The more a customer interacts with you and your brand, the more determined the customer loyalty becomes.
The cornerstone of a high quality loyalty plan revolves around creating a personalized service offering. Create loyalty programs, send personalized messages and provide content related to your specific situation.
It may not seem like much, but it all adds up to a valuable customer experience, which is especially important when there are multiple decision makers in your customer’s business who use your product for different purposes.
Listen to your customers
After you’ve invested your blood, sweat, and tears in a business, it’s easy to get defensive when a customer provides constructive feedback. But in this feedback lies the magic that binds customers.
We all know the phrase “every day is a school day”, but absorbing information is only the first step. You actually need to use feedback to get the most impact.
Show your customers how to take their suggestions. In this way, you can transform your relationship with them from a simple business agreement to an effective partnership.
Make communication a priority
Communication is the foundation of a B2B partnership, and creating an active communication plan ensures that your customers are happy with the service you are offering.
Even if your customers are happy with it, you should get back in touch with them from time to time.
Of course, it’s not just about setting up meetings to discuss business matters. It should go deeper: You connect with the people in this company.
Once you are able to develop an organic and friendly relationship, you can find new ways to build trust, solve problems that arise, and increase up- and cross-selling.
Remind customers of their worth
In B2B relationships, the emotions will always be a little higher than usual. Everyone wants the best for their business, so owners, managers and employees naturally expect their partners to strive for the highest standards.
That’s why it’s a powerful tool to remind your B2B customers how much you value their partnership. Every time you get in touch with a customer, you can inspire, excite and provide first class customer service. This approach should be anchored in your company’s DNA.
Every time you interact with your customer base, try to substantiate why they chose to work with you. There is always room for a little gratitude when they least expect it: Vouchers, a free service upgrade and the like show your customers how much you value their continued trust in you.
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Of course, the list of loyalty plan tactics in this article is not exhaustive. Depending on your industry and the way you interact with your customers, you will be thinking about how you can increase customer loyalty even further.
However, if you start with the suggestions in this article, you will create a good foundation on which to grow your business and make sure your best customers stay around.
More resources on loyalty plans
Customer loyalty: How to evaluate and improve your B2B customer lifecycle
How to Find (and Retain) Customers for a Subscription Product: Wendy Connell of Storyblocks on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]
Stop gambling with customer loyalty [Infographic]