What would you rather do—keep spending precious time and money trying to draw in new customers OR foster a long-lasting relationship with the ones you have? Though running any business requires a bit of both, focusing on your current clients is a huge part of setting your business apart. It’s always enticing to chase bigger accounts and pursue new consumers, but building customer loyalty is a great way to keep your company thriving for years to come.
You might know how to draw them in, but do you know how to get them to keep spending? Take notes on these 6 simple ways to build customer loyalty.
- Keep ‘em happy Why haven’t you answered my email? My order arrived late! Your employees were rude to my granny! Nothing will turn new and prospective buyers quicker than bad customer service. Customer service is the foundation of customer loyalty, so it’s your job to keep ‘em happy!Handle each customer service issue in a professional manner, always address negative comments to the best of your ability, and apologize for any problems (even if you don’t think they’re your fault). Negative online reviews might have more weight than you think. An overwhelming 90% of consumers claimed that reading positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions, while 86% said purchasing decisions were influenced by negative reviews. You might not think a 1 star review on Yelp is a problem, but it can help determine whether or not someone does business with your company.
- Spotlight fans Give your loyal customers their 15 minutes of fame. What fan doesn’t want to be recognized by their favorite brand? Try spotlighting your fans on your social media sites or blog by incorporating them into your daily content. Encourage your fans to hashtag on Instagram to promote your brand’s product and use this engagement in order to show that your customers are not only satisfied with your products, but they’re excited to share that satisfaction with their own followers. The best part about all of this is that you don’t have to spend marketing money to get this kind of exposure. Earned media often carries more credibility than paid advertising because it comes directly from the consumer.
- What do you have to offer? Creating a customer loyalty program is one of the best ways to encourage repeat business. Do you have a loyalty card in your wallet or purse? Does it convince you to keep coming back? If customers feel like you appreciate their business, and offer them something substantial, a loyalty program will go a long way. A great customer loyalty program will not only increase repeat business, but will also help collect consumer information by understanding their purchasing behavior, and can promote word-of-mouth advertising. Satisfied customers are likely to tell their friends and family about a good loyalty program. Any other incentives or upgrades you can offer your customers will make a huge difference in customer loyalty.
- Stand out from the crowd What makes you choose one company over another? It doesn’t always have to do with the best deals—it often has to do with how a company presents itself. Providing discounts and upgrades is great, but there has to be more than that. Your company has to set itself apart from competitors. Try showcasing the best products and personality of the brand. Focus on letting consumers get to know your employees. Shoppers are more likely to do repeat business with a brand they feel a connection to. A good deal might get people buying, but it won’t necessarily get them to stick around. Do something different to ensure that your brand stands out.
- Follow up, follow up, follow up Superb customer service extends to buyers even after a sale is made. One of the best ways to build customer loyalty is to make sure you follow up after a purchase. Proper follow up can be as simple as a “just checking in” email or a mail piece that is sent a few days after the sale. If you let customers know you care about their satisfaction, they’ll be more likely to feel a connection with your company, and hopefully purchase from you again in the future. Following up helps establish that you’re willing to go the extra mile for your customers to provide them with a great experience. Take the opportunity to catch any problems before anything gets out of hand. If you’re worried about competition, work on making each sale a positive experience for customers, so they don’t have a reason to look anywhere else. Be proactive!
- Make it personal Developing a relationship with shoppers often takes time, but it’s time well spent. Constantly running marketing campaigns to draw in business, instead of paying attention to existing customers, will cost you more dollars in the long run. Working on building a relationship with existing customers is well worth it. But how do you go the extra mile? How do you get your buyers to care about your company on a deeper level? Touch base with your customers frequently and encourage feedback. Interact with them on social media and always be available to answer any questions they might have. Listen to what they’re saying and respond appropriately. Try to create the best buying experience for them as possible. Your customers will remember you and appreciate you for it!
We all want to work with a company that cares about our satisfaction. No one likes being tossed aside once a sale is made. The best companies are the ones that stick with you and make sure you’re happy with their services.
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