March 23, 2017

The best ways to create customer loyalty

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Published: 23 March 2017 

These days, it’s very easy for a customer to quickly check out the competition and find someone else whose product or service is a better deal. Instead of focusing all your energy on sales and new clients, one of the most important things to do is develop customer loyalty. Often having sales isn’t enough to keep a customer. You have to do something more.

So what are the best ways to create customer loyalty?

Be personal

People want to feel appreciated and know that your business actually cares about them. You can do this by rewarding return customers. If you’re going to create a loyalty program, make sure it’s one that doesn’t have points that expire by a certain date. However, to truly create customer loyalty, you have to go further than simply offering a loyalty card with points. You can personalise offers made to repeat customers by studying their buying behaviour. If people are being rewarded for shopping through your business, they will be more likely to return again. This also helps to build a sense of community, which can create a strong sense of customer loyalty.

Special occasions

When you get your members to sign up to your business, it’s a good idea to ask for their date of birth. This way, you can send your valued regular customers gifts on their birthdays. The gift doesn’t have to be extravagant - generally, just a discount or a small voucher will suffice. Just make sure it’s something that ties in with your business and is something your members would be interested in using. Knowing a brand will send you something on your birthday is a great way to get more members and create customer loyalty.

The special occasion doesn’t have to be limited to birthdays. You can also consider sending out special offers around holidays throughout the year, which will encourage people to shop at your store.

Good customer service

Nobody is going to want to do business with you if you have bad customer service. A study in 2011 found that 3 out of 5 customers would give up a former favourite brand if they could have a better service experience. The study also found 70% of customers will spend 13% more on companies they believe provide excellent customer service. You can try and price match your competitors and always offer the best deals, but in the end people still won’t remain loyal if you have terrible customer service.

To implement good customer service, you can:

  • Ensure every stage of the buying experience is a positive one. Is it easy for customers to complete their purchase? Can they easily return items?
  • Make sure items are delivered on time. Set a time frame, such as 10 days, and ensure your item is delivered quicker than that.
  • Encourage customer feedback. After all, your customers are the one who can tell you if there is a problem that needs to be fixed.
  • If you have a physical store where you sell your goods or services, make sure staff are friendly and helpful to customers. People will appreciate shopping at a store where the staff remembers them.
  • Always monitor key performance indicators to measure your customer service levels.

Communication

You want to ensure you are always in communication with your customers. This way, they will feel like they can easily contact you. It also gives you an easy way to promote the latest deals and sales your business is offering.

To efficiently communicate with your customers, you need to make sure you cover every available channel. Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to provide business updates. This also gives customers the opportunity to like and share your content, and leave any comments and feedback. Consider encouraging your followers to use branded hashtags or tag your business in their posts. Sharing your customer’s images of your product or service will also encourage more people to take photographs and communicate with your brand online.

If you’re going to have social media profiles, make sure you respond to comments quickly and politely. No one likes leaving a comment, particularly a problem or negative feedback, and receiving no response. Make sure you respond to comments in a timely manner. If the customer is angry, always remember to respond politely, and if necessary, direct message them to personally solve the issue.

Consider sending your subscribed customers regular newsletters. This a great way to touch base and showcase the latest deals and offers you have in store.

Customer feedback

The best way to find out what your customers are thinking is to simply ask. This way, you can find out your customers thoughts, and use these to improve your business and meet the needs of your customers.

Encourage feedback by getting customers to leave comments on social media. Include a form on your website where people can email you, or leave a contact number for people that need a more urgent response. Consider sending surveys to your customers to get feedback. Just make sure you don’t do this too frequently, and consider offering an incentive for people to complete the survey. Make sure you keep a record of your customer feedback, as this could help to identify any problems.

Customer loyalty is a difficult thing to build. However, with the right strategies in place, investing energy into gaining customer loyalty can really pay off.

Ben Maden

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