THE INDEPENDENT EDGE
How to Build Customer Loyalty (7 Proven Ways)
Did you know that returning customers spend around 70% more money on products when compared to first-time customers? Customer loyalty is customers’ likelihood of doing repeat business with your company, which is crucial to create a successful business.
However, getting customers to come back is often one of the biggest challenges companies face. So in this post, I’ll share 7 proven ways to build customer loyalty. But first, let’s look at the most obvious benefits of customer loyalty.
Benefits of Customer Loyalty
The benefits of customer loyalty are often overlooked. Loyal customers will not only drive more sales but also save your business marketing costs.
To summarize, loyal customers:
- Help drive repeat business
- Saves your business marketing costs
- Are more likely to spread the word to others
- Help defend against the competition
- Are more open to purchasing new products
- Generally spend more money
When customers are loyal to a brand, product, or service, they are generally willing to spend a little extra money or wait for it to restock. That said, let’s look at 7 proven ways to build customer loyalty:
1. Give Exceptional Customer Service
68% of online customers across different industries abandon their carts. Businesses lose up to $3 billion a year on cart abandonment, which can be prevented by providing exceptional customer service and turning them into loyal customers.
Your customer experience is about how customers interact with you, from the moment they first land on your website to when calling your customer service team for assistance. And in this highly competitive market, people have high expectations for usability and customer service.
So, it’s crucial to provide the best possible experience to your customers, and responding quickly to inquiries is one proven way to get customers loyal to your brand.
But other proactive gestures as sending a personalized birthday message with a special deal or discount coupon can go a long way too.a
2. Develop a Customer Loyalty Program
Developing a customer loyalty program is an excellent way to encourage and reward loyal customers and keep them coming back. That’s where incentives come into play.
For example, you can offer a discount on your customer’s next purchase or giving them a complimentary beverage after collecting a certain amount of points. Simple actions like these can encourage them to buy more.
A good example is 7 Eleven’s customer rewards program (7REWARDS), where customers earn points on nearly every dollar they spend and can redeem points for free snacks and drinks. This encourages customers to buy even more since they’re working toward a reward they might not get elsewhere.
3. Segment Your Customer List
Whether you use email marketing, direct mail, SMS, or phone to reach out to your customers, it’s essential to segment your customer list based on behavior and shopping history.
No one appreciates getting sales pitches for something they’ve already bought or products that don’t apply to them. Generic messages are rarely successful since they lack relevance and show you don’t know your audience.
So, make an effort to get to know your customers and learn as much as you can about their buying behavior, needs, and demographics. When you do, you can segment them into categories and create interest-specific offers that are more appealing. This will help you increase engagement with your customers and boost repeat business.
4. Create a Referral/Affiliate Program
Much like a loyalty program, a referral or affiliate program rewards customers for spreading the word about a business.
Customers are incentivized with the possibility to earn a commission or other rewards if they promote your products or services to their network. Not only does this help to attract new customers, but it is also “free” marketing.
Customers market your products on their blog, social media, video channels, or to family and friends in exchange for a commission, saving your business upfront marketing costs. You only pay or reward them when they provide you with a new customer.
Best of all, it also keeps your existing customers coming back for more since they have incentives to do business with you.
5. Focus on Building Lasting Relationships
One essential aspect of building customer loyalty is building lasting and personal relationships with your customers. With so many social media platforms, you can easily create a community and get to know your customers.
For example, creating a Facebook group provides a forum to engage on a deeper level with your followers. It allows you to have direct communication and access valuable feedback from people using your products or services. You won’t get any better feedback than that.
Also, when you have a more personal conversation with your customers, it’s easier to encourage user-generated content.
For instance, studies show that video marketing helped businesses achieve a 60% returning customer rate. Asking customers to share pictures or videos of them using your products on their social media networks can boost customer loyalty and sales.
Overall, sharing behind-the-scenes information about your brand makes your customers feel special and encourages a robust online community that’ll make them come back for more.
6. Ask for Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is crucial if you want to improve your business and customer retention. 94% of online shoppers reported that a negative review made them avoid visiting a company, and 82% of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family before purchasing.
If you want customers to keep coming to your brick-and-mortar store or online shop, you should be asking them for feedback every chance you get. The more you know about your customers and how they experience your products, the better you can serve them.
For instance, you can do this by emailing a customer satisfaction survey after the purchase or have an easily accessible section to leave reviews on your website.
In addition, check your online reviews and respond to them, even if some are negative. In fact, taking customer feedback seriously shows existing and new customers that you care about them and are committed to improving and providing a good experience.
7. Improve, Improve, Improve…
To build customer loyalty, make it a continuous process of evolution and improvement. Pay close attention to complaints because those are warning signs about the health of your business and customer relationships.
Make sure to improve and adapt your products or services, and you’ll increase customer satisfaction and the willingness to give your business a second chance.
Building customer loyalty is about building lasting relationships with your customers. And as with any relationship, it takes time and effort to establish good communication and trust. But the above 7 tips will help you retain the customers you have and encourage them to keep coming back.