How to Create a Loyal Customer Base

The 5 Best Practices to Repeat Business

Building customer loyalty is a monumental task for any company of any size. As the competition gets stiffer and market preference continues to change, it only takes one blunder to turn the whole game around. Whether you are running a well-established brand or a startup venture, you have no option but to meet customer expectations with quality service if you wish to stay relevant in the dawn of rising business competition today.

So how exactly can you do that? Here are some of the best practices that can help you to retain loyal customers and increase levels of repeat business.

1.Think Long-Term – Make Customer Service a Key Business Strategy

Consumer Reports surveys have shown that nearly 91% of customers will not do business with you a second time if you botch the first encounter.

Great customer service is perhaps the most crucial ingredient to winning loyal customers. Treating customers well results to positive customer experiences which directly results in repeat business. However, it’s important to understand that customer service is not a task only done by your sales staff. It’s a culture that should be embraced by all your employees.

In today’s interconnected world, your consumers might interact with one of your employees at any given time. Therefore, it’s extremely important that everyone must view customer service not just a mere task but a strategy necessary to become a customer-centric business.

Here are the essentials of customer service that should be made known to your workforce:

  • Try to save the customer inconvenience at every stage of the buying experience.
  • Focus on providing quality service in key areas e.g. product delivery.
  • Identify and address weaknesses that could impact customer services, such as your suppliers, production process, systems, and workforce capacity.
  • Make your business accessible through different channels.
  • Respond to customer contact quickly and efficiently. This will make them feel their feedback is appreciated and acted upon.
  • Keep your promises and exceed expectations.

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2. Learn as Much About Your Customers as You Can

According to a study by Wunderman, 79% of consumers said brands have to actually demonstrate that they understand and care about them before they are going to consider purchasing. Put it this way: Would you trust someone who doesn’t even know your name, let alone your current situation – or in a marketing context, your wants, and needs?

Before you could build a loyal customer base, you must first win their trust. After building a relationship, customer spend grows alongside trust. Eventually, loyal customers spend 67% more than new ones. This can be done through extensive research about what, when, how, and why customers buy and using this information to improve your offer.

Don’t forget to record all customer information in a database so you can see their buying habits that will allow you to provide personalised customer service to them. For instance, a hotel could offer special promos to their customers at the time they normally book holidays.

You can also ask customers to complete a short questionnaire after making an online purchase or have a dedicated feedback mechanism on your site. Their feedback is an invaluable source that can help you identify problem areas, allowing you to act upon them immediately.

3. Establish a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are gaining more traction these days. In fact, a study by Accenture found that:

  • 77% of consumers participate in a retail loyalty program, up from 72% over the last year.
  • 46% have joined a hotel program, up from 36% over the last year.
  • 40% are part of an airline program, up from 31% over the last year.

While investing in the loyalty program can be quite resource-intensive, it’s a sure way to keep your customers keep coming back for more. Not only it will help boost your business growth, it can boost your brand image as well.

Here are some tips to provide a successful loyalty scheme:

  • Offer cumulative discounts by which customers can get a money back whenever they reach specified spending targets.
  • Track customers’ purchasing activity to flag discounts as they are earned.
  • Encourage prompt redemption if the discount is only valid for a limited time.
  • Relate your marketing program to a specific local or national cause. For example, you can offer to donate part of any money spent with you to support a charity.

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4. Build Employee Loyalty, Too!

Your employees are the face of your company, so it’s important to ensure that they feel good about their jobs and pass that loyalty to your customers. If you are competent, you’ll earn your employees’ respect. If you have integrity, your employees will be proud to work for and with you. And if you’re consistent in your decisions and actions, you’ll surely earn their trust.

Another role of a great business leader is to provide their employees with proper customer service training. Effective training sessions can empower them to create a positive customer experience, helping them to be a more effective part of your business.

5. Monitor Your Online Presence

The proliferation of smartphones and social media has empowered consumers to be more vocal about their customer experience these days. The bad news is that they are more likely to use them to share their bad experience with their connections. In fact, over 1 million people view tweets about customer service every week. Roughly 80% of those tweets are negative or critical in nature.

The modern consumer not only discusses their experience in real-life discussions. They also take their opinions through Twitter and Facebook updates. And they are now more likely to drive sales than a positive user review posted on websites like Yelp and Amazon.

By now, you have seen that building loyalty among your client base is more important than ever before. In the next few years, your salespeople might slowly lose control over the sales journey, and information, reviews, and even access to your competitors will get much easier. Even then, you should see these threats as an opportunity to improve your customer services.

One of the ways to streamline your customer service today is through hiring flexible and competent freelancers.