How to Create Customer Loyalty
If you’re in business, you know that customer loyalty is crucial. You’ve probably heard the age-old saying that goes something like “it’s much more expensive to keep a customer than it is to gain a new one.”
The saying holds true! It’s much more cost effective to entice a return shopper than it is to pull in a completely new one. Repeat customers increase revenue while ultimately helping you save money in the form of marketing dollars. According to Annex Cloud, revenue typically increases by at least 25% just by adding a 5% focus on customer retention! In fact, those revenue numbers could skyrocket all the way to 95%. That is a LOT of return for a very small amount of work.
That reason alone should entice you to build positive relationships with your clients from the start.
Like many things, creating loyal customers is easier said than done. Here are ___ methods that I find to be the most effective.
1 – Practice great customer service
Customer service can be considered the foundation of the customer retention base. Customers like great experiences, and conversely, dislike bad ones. When customers are faced with negative shopping experiences, taking it up with customer service is often a way to find resolve. Your job as a company is to provide the best experience possible, so you need to make shoppers’ experiences right.
Though there are most definitely instances when the customer is not right, things do happen on account of the business.
I recently ordered a mattress from Wayfair. A company that prides itself on wonderful customer service, I ended up in contact with a representative when my delivery date had passed and I still hadn’t seen my purchase. Immediately upon getting in touch with them, I was provided with an overnight replacement, a 20% refund on the item, and a 10% off coupon for my next purchase.
Because Wayfair was incredibly understanding, I will be returning as a customer in the future. If they had handled the situation poorly, I most likely wouldn’t purchase from them again. I’ve probably sent new customers their way, as I have shared this great experience with multiple friends. By being so considerate, Wayfair kept me as a customer while also gaining a few in the process.
If a customer receives a package late, provide them with free shipping on their next order. If a customer receives a damaged item, provide an express-shipped replacement as well as a store credit.
It’s important to acknowledge company faults when they occur. When possible, always make the situation right, using these experiences to improve for next time. You’ll keep customers and make a great name for your brand at the same time.
2 – Create a loyalty program
Loyalty programs are a great way to keep your customers coming around while also increasing your revenue. These programs can take virtually any shape or form, as long as it is beneficial to both parties. You could offer rewards once customers reach dollar amounts, when they’ve gone a certain amount of time as a loyalty member, or even for every 10th purchase.
Rewards could take the form of store credits, coupons, or free items. These are great ways to get customers involved because, well… customers love free things!
3 – Make it personal
Have you ever signed up for a company loyalty program, only to see a fun birthday reward or treat roll around?
Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts offer free birthday drinks, many restaurants offer free desserts, and some shops offer freebies or coupons. These incentives are not just tokens of companies’ kindness; these are intentional actions taken to create and maintain a loyal customer base.
By making the customer experience a personal one through directly celebrating birthdays, these companies are able to keep customers in their circle. Actions like these show customers that the companies are connected to them, and they encourage customers to stick around.
To create customer loyalty, determine ways in which you can make experiences personal.
4 – Consistently ask for feedback
Customer feedback is one of the greatest ways to improve your service and retain loyal shoppers. When you ask customers to provide feedback, you’re showing them that you care. Additionally, this feedback is free information that can provide great insight into how to better serve your market. As a company, there’s nothing more valuable than that!
Customer feedback can take the form of reviews, surveys, or simple emails. After purchasing, follow up with shoppers to ask them how you did. Make it as easy as possible for them by embedding review forms in emails, or giving them the option to simply reply with a sentence or two.
The easier it is to leave a review, the more likely it is that they’ll do it.
5 – Utilize email marketing
A great, easy, and cost efficient way to keep in touch with your audience is through email marketing. Notify customers about sales, promotions, and new products!
You can take your email marketing a step further by offering more than just promotional information. Use this opportunity to provide as much value to your audience as possible. Solve problems for them through use of your products. Give them ideas. Be a valuable resource! The more value you provide, the more customers will appreciate you.
6 – Be present on social media
Social media is a free marketing tool. It’d be crazy not to use it.
Today, companies far and wide use social media to leverage their market from a different angle. Unlike any other form of marketing, social media allows companies to get up close and personal with their audience. Through producing content and interacting with audiences, companies are able to give their brands voices.
Customers totally value this, and it allows them to really relate with the brands they love! When brands have personalities, customers are drawn to them and this in turn produces customer loyalty.
If you’re not on social media, definitely consider joining Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter. And, as recommended with email marketing, be sure to provide value.
Note: Many customers use social media to get in contact with customer service. Being present on these platforms is a great way to make your service team more accessible to shoppers, thus improving the customer service experience.
7 – Stay true to your word
Last, but not least, operate with integrity. Always follow through. Provide value to your audience. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Treat your customer with respect, and they will do the same.