As we know,Customer loyalty can help your business boom in the best of times, but it can also help you survive in tough or challenging times.
Why is customer loyalty important?
Customer loyalty is a customer’s likelihood of doing repeat business with you. This stems from customer satisfaction and outweighs availability, pricing, and other factors that typically impact buying decisions. When a customer is loyal to a product, service, or brand, they are willing to wait for a restock or spend a little extra money for it.
“Customer loyalty means the difference between a one-time sale and a customer who comes back to you potentially for the rest of their lives,” said Tyler Read, CEO of personal training company PTPioneer. “If you put in the work necessary to build customer loyalty, those customers will … stay invested in your business. When your business is struggling, it’s the loyal customers who will help you stay afloat.”
This is especially important and evident amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think the pandemic was a test of customer loyalty in that it forced consumers to honestly evaluate what service providers they trusted,” said Bill Zinke, senior vice president of marketing at BELFOR Franchise Group. “So, one of the key lessons from the pandemic has been [that], in good times, building customer loyalty can help you grow faster and more profitably, and in tough or challenging times, it can be the difference between surviving and going out of business.”
Customer loyalty isn’t something that happens without intentional effort. Here are some tips to build customer loyalty.
Reward Customers With Special Offers
Giving coupons to your customers is always an effective way to keep them coming back. In my own SMS marketing business, I encourage my business customers to send out coupon codes via text message. However, you can also do this via email and social media. Make sure you emphasize that these deals are only for customers receiving this special coupon. Keep the offers relevant by keeping track of what your customers most need (see the tip below on segmentation).
Create a Unique Customer Loyalty Program
Many businesses, from coffee shops to airlines to e-commerce sites, have customer loyalty or rewards programs. These can be powerful tools to entice people to return. If you have such a program or want to start one, try to make it as creative and distinctive as possible. In addition to rewarding customers with your usual products, you might have bigger prizes they can win if they accumulate enough points. Another creative idea is to give people the option of donating their points to charity. In addition to getting points when they buy something, think of other ways to award them points. Some ideas include: referring new customers, special holiday and birthday points and creating games or contests in which players can earn extra points.
Ask For Feedback
The more you know about your customers, the better you can serve them. That’s why it’s essential to ask people’s opinions as often as possible. If you have a retail store or office, you can simply ask people informally what they think about something. This isn’t always completely reliable, as people may be too polite to tell you what they really think in person. But at least it shows you care. For more accurate assessments, create polls, surveys and questionnaires, either online or that you or your employees hand out. Ask about as many details as possible. If you serve food, ask about specific dishes and for suggestions on how to improve. Ask about your decor (or website), which products or services they like best (and least) and for suggestions for new products.
Segment Your Marketing Lists
Whether you contact people via email, SMS, direct mail or phone, it’s important to use some form of segmentation. Customers never appreciate getting pitches for something they already bought. Nor do they want to see offers that don’t apply to them. Generic messages are often not relevant and they also show that you’re not making the effort to get to really know them. Learn as much as you can about your customers based on their buying behavior, demographics and the feedback you’re hopefully requesting from them. Then you can separate them into categories and contact them with offers that are relevant and appealing.
If you want to make your business more successful, one of the most important areas to focus on is increasing customer loyalty. Repeat customers play a major role in selling more items, reducing marketing costs and spreading the word about your business. The above tips will help you keep the customers you have and motivate them to keep coming back.