You gotta earn it
Customer Loyalty. It’s something every business strives for, no matter how big or small.
We all know that it’s easier (and cheaper – which is always a bonus!) to retain existing consumers than it is to recruit new ones.
In today’s competitive business world, it’s all about offering an emotive end-user experience, so that people not only come back time and again, but also spread the word.
But, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Consumers are fickle and won’t hesitate to switch allegiance if you are not delivering the goods.
So, what can you do, once you’ve hooked a customer in, to increase their loyalty to your brand?
It’s important to understand not only what consumers want but how they feel. End-user experience monitoring is the best way to understand your business from a customer perspective.
And if you share the same values, you’re on to a winner. These are the largest driver for repeat business.
So, make sure you are on the same page as your target audience in lieu of beliefs and values.
Customer service is key
Excellent levels of service can help to create lifelong customers. Ok, so I know it’s not rocket science, but you’d be surprised at how many brands can lose focus on this fact because they are too busy trying to be clever!
So, make sure you listen to customers and address their concerns. Make it easy for them to reach out to you.
This will help you avoid negative consumer feedback and word of mouth, making you stand out from the competition.
It’s always worth going above and beyond to keep your end-users happy.
Don’t stick your head in the sand when things go wrong. And especially not when it’s your mistake.
Be upfront and honest with your consumers about any problems that arise and tackle the matter head on. Don’t be afraid to admit you were wrong.
They’ll thank you for it.
Build a community
There’s no denying that social media rules supreme in today’s business world.
So, use it to your advantage. Encourage customers to follow/like your business and inspire them to post user-generated content on their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.
And keep the conversation going to show that your customers are more than just a means to an end.
What’s more, pictures of a happy consumer using your product can help spread the word about your brand.
Keep in touch
I know very few people that don’t have email on their phones these days.
It’s one of the easiest ways to keep in touch so get hold of their email address!
Not only can you then get in contact to inform them of new products or services, but it’s also a great way to follow up on purchases and check on customer satisfaction.
Getting consumer feedback following a transaction can also assist with future planning.
And remember, a personalised email is much more effective than a general, mass mailing. So, make your correspondence personal!
Utilise social proof
Ask customers to review your brand on sites such as Yelp or Amazon or get testimonials: today’s consumers often like to see what others think before making a purchase. And remember to thank consumers for taking the time to submit reviews and feedback.
Use true facts too… If, like McDonald’s, you’ve served over a million end users, tell people! It will offer credibility to your brand.
Celebrity endorsements can also add authority to a business – assuming marketing budgets stretch that far!
Go above and beyond
Under promise and over deliver may be a cliché, but there is a lot of truth in it!
If you tell a potential customer that someone will be in touch within 48 hours, reach out to them within 24.
You will create a better impression and, therefore, a preferable end-user experience if you exceed consumer expectations.
Employ the right staff
Your employees are vitally important when it comes to creating – and improving – customer loyalty.
So, make sure your staff not only have received the proper training to help enhance end-user experience, but also make sure they buy into and get excited about your brand culture.
A grumpy, disinterested employee does nothing for the face of your business.
Know your stuff
I don’t know about you, but if I am unsure about something I am looking to purchase, I want to talk to someone that can answer my questions and offer the right advice and guidance.
To be successful in attracting and retaining customers, therefore, you need to make sure you are a trusted expert in your field.
Make sure your employees are knowledgeable too.
You can always go one step further and share your knowledge via a blog or Q&A. It will make you more reputable.
Sometimes, customers need a reason – or a little push – to come back. Incentives can therefore be a game changer.
Whether it’s a next sale discount, birthday treat or even just a free cuppa when they’ve bought ten coffees, end-users like a good offer and will be more likely to think about your brand.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep
Do you want to go all out and offer stringent delivery times, or the likes of 24/7 customer feedback management channels?
If you do, make sure you can deliver on your promises.
There’s nothing worse than being let down.
You want to stick to your guns if you’re going to earn a reputation for being dependable and consistent.
Make life easier
Marketing your business isn’t always about getting someone to part with their hard-earned cash.
Think outside the box as to how else you could entice people in.
As mentioned earlier, perhaps you could share your expertise and top tips in the form of a blog. Or maybe you could send out monthly newsletters or emails offering advice in your field.
If you offer help and guidance in the interim, end-users are more likely to think of you when they need to make a purchase.
We all know that life doesn’t always go according to plan. For your business or your consumers.
So why not bend a little and offer flexibility?
Perhaps a consumer was on holiday and missed your return window by a day or two. Are you really going to say no to a refund or credit note?
Ok, it’s important to have policies and procedures in place, but it doesn’t hurt to be accommodating if it means the difference between keeping or losing a valued customer.
Automation is your friend
Unless you’re one of the big guns, you won’t necessarily employ enough customer service representatives to hold consumer hands at all stages of the buying process.
So, it’s worth investing in automation because it can help save time – and money – whilst still keeping your customers in the loop and answering their questions.
Make communication easy
Press one for this. Press 2 for that…. We’ve all been stuck on the phone going around in circles when all we want to do is speak to a human as opposed to a computer.
So, don’t hide behind technology, no matter how easy it makes things. Make sure your contact information is easily accessible on your website and that end-users have the opportunity to speak to a real person when the need arises.
And there you have it.
Get it right, follow the tips above and your loyal customer base will grow in no time.
After all, it’s the little things that really count.