Trying to secure bookings for your products and services is a challenge when markets are crowded and competition is fierce. Having a loyal customer-base, therefore, happy to return to you time and again, is of fundamental importance for long-term, sustainable growth.
While you may have explored marketing strategies aimed at personalising your client engagement, and worked hard on delivering the best customer experience possible at the point of delivery, have you also considered the high-impact that your booking process can have on growing customer loyalty?
A reminder why customer loyalty is so important to your business
- The most loyal 10% of your customers spend 3x more than your other customers
- An ‘emotionally-connected’ customer improves lifetime value by 300%
- Loyal customers spend 33% more than new customers
- Increasing customer loyalty by 5% can improve profitability by 75%
- 67% will remain loyal or spend more if provided with a good customer experience
Source: The Circular Board
Your booking process should play a crucial role in creating loyal customers
Customer experience is not just about their interaction when you are delivering your service. It’s about every interaction you have with them, across every part of your business, and every channel.
If your business relies on customers making bookings or registrations for your products, services or events, then the booking process is a major part of your customers’ overall experience. It’s the point of engagement where your customers are actively looking to make a purchase.
Get it right, and your customers will thank you through their purchases, their repeat business and their referrals. Get it wrong, and all that good stuff will be in the hands of your competitors.
So, what can you do?
Keep it simple
Your customers are busy. They don’t want to have to jump through hoops, or play email or telephone tennis with your sales team.
If a customer can search and find what they want, and make their booking in as few steps as possible, then you are making their life a whole lot easier. Providing self-service facilities such as online booking systems, can reduce the time from search to check-out, reducing drop-outs, improving revenue and can increase customer satisfaction to the tune of 33%.
Maintain brand consistency
Maintaining brand consistency across all touchpoints, especially at those points when customers are about to make a purchase, creates greater trust and peace of mind.
Consider a booking system therefore that allows you to apply things such as the right logo, headers and footers that match the main website, correct fonts and typeface, accurate colour palettes. It may be a slightly bigger investment, but this is outweighed by the rewards you get through improved customer loyalty and retention.
Simple, automated communication keep your customers informed and engaged
Confirmation and reminder emails provide peace of mind to those who’ve made bookings that they have been registered, that their booking is in the system and that they have all the information that they need.
It’s also a powerful means of keeping them engaged with you and your brand, letting them know how much you are looking forward to their attendance, and providing a means of communication should they need it.
Consider a waiting list for fully booked events
Customers who have seen an event on your site that they’re interested in may be left disappointed if it’s already sold out.
In fact, with some booking systems, they may never even know its existence if ‘fully booked’ events don’t show on the search results.
Adding a waiting list feature allows that interest to be further generated and lets your customers express interest, so should a space become available through cancellation or increased capacity, then they can be notified and have another attempt to book.
Loyal customers are the bedrock of a successful business. They spend more, cost less to sell to and offer a pathway to more customers through referrals. As you look to enhance the service and experience you provide your customers to maximise your returning clientele, keep in mind the vital role of your booking process.
A brand-consistent booking system that’s simple to navigate yet feature-rich enough to capture details, take payments and effectively communicate, allows you to deliver positive experiences every step of the way. Helping your customers remain loyal, feel valued and continually returning to you.
At thinkBooker, we specialise in online booking systems for training courses, classes, activities and events – optimised for efficiency, growth and ongoing client satisfaction.