Customer loyalty is essential in today’s market where competition is a click away. A positive customer experience is likely to incentivize customers to stick around. Customers are willing and eager to give their loyalty to the business that provides a meaningful encounter. Here’s your small business guide to making that happen:
Customer loyalty is key for growing your business. Business owners will find that devoting resources to retaining existing customers is more worthwhile (and profitable) than finding new customers. Studies show getting new customers can cost up to 7 times that of keeping existing patrons. Devoting too many resources towards acquiring new customers is simply not cost-effective.
Customer loyalty, however, will indirectly net more new customers based on positive reviews alone. One satisfied customer can influence up to 300 people, and with social media, that number could be in the thousands. Customer loyalty is simply vital for any business in a competitive market.
The current marketplace has fostered soaring expectations among consumers. Good service is an expectation that companies must be able to keep up with. Failing to do so will result in customers taking their money to competitors. In order to succeed in customer service, your company has a few crucial principles it must follow:
Utility: Offering excellent service protocols, such as trial periods, fair return policies, and product/service warranties is the first step to making your business stand out. These services provide value to your customers, which will ensure that they feel like their money is being spent wisely. Additionally, companies that provide attractive packaging, low-cost shipping and handling, and a constant stream of inventory will add value to your brand.
Information: Customers need to feel confident about their purchases to make guarantee they return. Ensure your sales representatives know everything about the business and the products for sale. Customers aren’t responsible for being informed about your products and having a competent sales team to provide them with any information requested will increase sales as well as customer loyalty. A customer that receives clear and accurate information as well as demonstrations of a business’s product lines is more likely to return in the future. Also, the sales team that successfully educates customers will indirectly educate those who the customers influences.
Outreach: Your business should be utilizing email newsletters to let customers know about new products, special promotions, and updates. Don’t let your customers forget about your business, but don’t be overly invasive or needy either.
Personal touch: Your sales representatives should be charismatic and charming. Make sure to hire those who know how to be positive toward customers. Customers will enjoy doing business with employees who can remember names and show interest in the products they’re selling. Genuine friendliness and enthusiasm will help build customer loyalty and long-term relationships.
Availability: Show the customer that your staff can be easily reached and have multiple points of contact. Clients should know who to contact if a problem occurs. Phone, email, and instant chat should be accessible support methods to cater to the different needs/preferences of different clients. Companies who fail to devote resources to customer support will have long wait times and thus lower customer satisfaction. Additionally, it will be apparent to the customer if your support has been outsourced in order to lower costs. Customer support must be clear and helpful in order to ensure customer loyalty.
Perks: Reward customer loyalty by giving returning customers the ability to take advantage of extra perks. Customers love being rewarded for their business. Your products rise in value when customers know they will get rewarded as part of their purchase. Reward systems such as priority seating, meet-and-greets, or bonus offers will encourage customer retention and incentivize other customers to be loyal to your company.
Convenience: Make it easy for customers to save information such as payment methods, addresses, and shipping preferences. Additionally, knowing what the customer wants to buy before they do will result in return sales. If you run an online business, consider tools such as a suggested items page to make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for and make purchases. This will provide extra motivation for customers, and it will make it more convenient for them to return instead of “starting over” at other businesses.
Consistency: It is essential to maintain the expectations of a returning customer. Just because they returned once doesn’t mean they won’t leave if they have a bad experience. Always go above and beyond for customers. Your business needs to provide an experience on par with previous visits, if not better than the last. Polite staff, small talk, and quick checkouts are just a few easy ways for businesses to leave a lasting impression.
Letting customers know they’re bringing their business to a company that puts in the effort to go the extra mile will build customer loyalty. The extra costs of providing good customer service and maintaining a successful business appearance are well worth it. Continuous purchases from returning customers far surpass the extra costs that it takes to retain them. Customers are aware the businesses primary interest is to make sales. However, customers will enjoy doing business when a company shows care and effort in customer satisfaction. Your business should focus on impacting client perceptions, as those clients will inform those around them of your business.
The market is extremely competitive, and new customers are likely to never return to your business. Pouring resources into strategies that retain customers will be much more profitable than trying to attract first-timers. Customer loyalty drives business sales, as frequent customers account for the majority of revenue for most businesses. Traditional standards must be exceeded, and your business will earn a leg up by going the extra mile for high standards. Your business must be able to provide a sense of community and identity for customers. Know their names, but also keep important information such as email addresses to keep in touch. Doing so will guarantee return business and ensure customers who are loyal to your products and your company.
Ian is a student of Business at the Honors College at the University of Alabama.
Contact Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org
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