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How to Keep Your Customers Loyal After a Price Increase

How to Keep Your Customers Loyal After a Price Increase

Raising prices doesn’t have to be positioned as bad news. It’s a change that you can manage to ensure it means good things for your customers and bottom line.

Every time a customer spends money with you, they’re investing in much more than a product or a service.

They’re investing their time, because most purchases will involve at least some degree of research and consideration before a buying decision is made.

In business-to-business (B2B) transactions, customers are investing their reputations, because they’re making a purchase on their employer’s behalf. Even consumers put their reputation on the line if what they buy for their family doesn’t live up to expectations.

Ultimately, customers are really investing their trust with you when they make a purchase. They’re trusting your company to offer a quality product and a great experience that will lead to a long-term relationship.

Keeping this in mind helps explain why customers need to see value for money – and why having to raise your prices requires careful thought and consideration.

On some level, of course, customers come to expect periodic price increases. It’s easiest to manage it when the increases are incremental over a long period of time, to the point they barely pay attention. That isn’t always possible, however.

Sometimes companies have to raise prices because their costs to produce products or services has gone up. The issue may stem from their suppliers or manufacturing partners, who face financial or economic challenges of their own.

At other times, pricing may need to be adjusted in order to stay competitive with the rest of the market. Instead of constantly lowering prices in a race to the bottom, for instance, companies may have to recognize they will be in a better position to lead the market if they can achieve a profit margin on par with brands providing similar products and services at higher prices.

Whatever prompts the decision to raise prices, the risk is the same: that even customers who have proven loyal for years get so upset that they walk away. Even worse, a price hike can become fodder for conversations about the company on social media, or simply bad word of mouth passed on to family, friends and colleagues.

None of this should stop you from raising prices, necessarily. Instead, think about some of the strategies you could use to maintain customer retention and loyalty, such as:

Create Transparency Through Omnichannel Communications

The earlier you can let customers know about a price increase, the better. They are less likely to be angry or outraged if they don’t learn the news the moment they make an additional purchase or are near the time to renew their contract.

The communications around a price increase should be treated like a marketing or public relations campaign. Have a clear, succinct rationale for your price increase and when it will take effect. Bring this message to customers wherever they might choose to engage. This could include e-mail, a pop-up on your web site, social media posts and even direct mail.

Besides ensuring you raise awareness about the price increase across all relevant channels, make it easy for customers to share their feedback, whether it be an e-mail address or a number to call. Even if they’re not angry, they may have questions that you need to address amid this transition.

Enhance The Customer Experience Associated With The Price Increase

You may have to charge customers more, but you can make that process faster or simpler than it was in the past.

As you prepare a price increase, review the journey your customers typically take in order to do business with you.

Perhaps you can consolidate or eliminate one of the steps involved in buying online.

Maybe you could offer additional forms of payment, such as paying with a digital wallet or from services beyond traditional bank accounts and credit cards.

Depending on your company or industry, you might be able to couple a price increase with policies that let customers pay by installments, or connect them with third parties that offer them additional financing options.

Remember that taking their money should never be the most memorable part of the customer experience. It’s one area where there should be as little friction as possible.

Offer More Value For The Money

If you’re asking customers for more, perhaps you can give them more, too.

A price increase could come at the same time that you introduce new features and functionality in a product, for instance. Within some categories, it could mean offering products in additional colours or sizes.

Customers may also appreciate additional resources to help them enjoy or make use of your products and services. This could be a collection of content you create and publish online, or self-service tools you launch in conjunction with the price increase.

Maybe you could throw in accessories or create product and service bundles, where the additional items are offered at a discount.

This is where taking the pulse of your customers on a regular basis can prove extremely useful. Gather any survey data or other information you’ve collected about their unmet needs or ideal enhancements to the customer experience you offer, and think about what you can do.

Develop A Loyalty Program

There’s no better positive reinforcement than getting some kind of reward. That’s been the essence of loyalty programs from the very beginning, and they can be a great way to offset any negative feelings about a price increase.

A loyalty program doesn’t have to focus on racking up points to redeem for free purchases. You can build membership tiers where they receive specialized consulting, early access to new products and services, or exclusive invitations to events where they can connect with your team and their peers.

Raising prices doesn’t have to be positioned as bad news. It represents a change – one that you can manage in order to ensure it means good things for your customers as well as your bottom line.

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