How to build customer loyalty
In a world where businesses can rise or fall on the back of consumer opinion, customer loyalty is a hugely valuable currency. Loyal customers are a contributing factor towards business sustainability – rather than having to source new customers for every sale, you can get some of your revenue via repeat customers. Customer loyalty can also support your marketing efforts, as a customer who is loyal to your brand is far more likely to recommend it to a friend or family member.
So, how do you build a loyal customer base?
How to increase customer loyalty
There are many ways to increase customer loyalty, and you may be interested to know that the process of doing so starts even before you’ve sold a product or service. Keep reading to learn more.
Providing quality products and/or services
One of the hardest hitting contributors to customer loyalty is customer satisfaction. If your customers aren’t satisfied with the product or service you provide, they’re not likely to come back again, or to recommend your business to anyone they know. Therefore, one way to improve customer loyalty is to ensure that all your customers are coming away from transactions pleased with your brand.
It’s important to remember that this doesn’t apply solely to your main ‘hero’ product or service. You need to be wowing your customers at all levels of interaction, including but not limited to:
- The content you share publicly on social media
- The online or in person purchasing process for products or services
- The content and ease of navigation on your website
Another vital aspect of business/consumer interaction is, of course, customer service. When things go wrong, as they inevitably can, your customers want to feel reassured, listened to and respected by your customer service team. Whether your main area of customer service is live chat, email responses or answering telephone calls, you need to make sure your customers are getting the level of service they deserve.
Creating helpful content
An effective way to inspire loyalty in your business’s customers is to do something for them without payment. This is commonly done by creating content related to your products or services that can help customers asynchronously. This could include:
- Guides that include step-by-step usage instructions
- Blogs that help customers choose what size or type of product/service they need
- Articles that give ideas on how your products or services can benefit customers
Once live on your website, this content needs little maintenance, but it can often continue to be helpful to customers for months and years after being uploaded. A potential customer who has been helped by you before is more likely to feel confident that you’ll be able to help them again.
Offering incentives for loyalty
Everyone loves a freebie, and the practice of offering discounts or freebies can help to encourage loyalty in your customers. For example, offering a 10% off voucher on the next shop to customers who have spent over a certain amount urges them to shop again so they can take advantage of the discount. Many companies do this with loyalty programmes that allow customers to make savings. Some even offer perks for events such as Christmas and birthdays.
But this technique isn’t limited to product-based businesses. Whether your business operates in one-off services or employs repeat contracts, you could offer a discount for returning customers or those who refer others to your company.
How to maintain customer loyalty
As you begin building a loyal customer base, it’s a good idea to periodically measure customer loyalty so you can take note of what’s working and what isn’t. But it’s important to remember that focusing solely on converting potential customers into loyal ones isn’t the best plan. Attracting new customers is vital, but you also need to pay attention to your existing customers. Those people who are already loyal to your brand are a valuable resource, and it pays to encourage them to remain that way. But how can you do this?
The first and most obvious method to maintain customer loyalty is to ensure the quality of products and services across your business remains high. Customers won’t stick with your brand if quality decreases, so make sure you continually strive to meet and exceed expectations. The odd mistake or slight change to the product or service might be acceptable, but if someone else is doing it better than you, your customers might jump ship so they don’t lose out on quality.
On top of this, you can also try developing a more personalised relationship with your customers. Giving out birthday discounts is one way of doing this, but why not take it a step further with personalised purchase recommendations? You could even send heartfelt messages of gratitude after purchases, or at company milestones.
Finally, one of the best ways to make your customers feel valued is to take their advice. Ask your customer base for feedback on what you’re doing well and what they’d like to see improved – and then act on that advice. Of course, you don’t have to make every single change that is suggested. Some might not be viable options. However, taking on board your customers’ views in a way that is visible to them will help them to feel listened to.