Building a customer base isn’t easy, but keeping it is even harder. If consumers think they’ll get a better deal by going somewhere else, they will. This decision leaves you to figure out how to make a profit. That’s why so many brands learn how to effectively build customer loyalty.
Profitable companies know that if they can convince people that they’re the best option, folks will stick with them long-term and won’t even look elsewhere. Don’t believe me? Read Customer Moat: How Loyalty Drives Profit.
The question, of course, is how to achieve this. You’d love for customers to stick around, but making it happen is a challenge.
Let’s take a look at some of the strategies you can use to build customer loyalty and make people fall in love with your brand.
1. Tell A Relatable Story
While advertising the quality of your products is important, it’s nothing compared to telling a relatable story. Explain to them how your business is different from everyone else’s. Or share a fellow customer testimonial. It’ll work every time!
2. Offer Freebies
You already offer your customers your products and services. But often, it’s worth going beyond this and providing them with something more. Perhaps this is a freebie, or maybe it’s an exclusive experience.
Giving something away for free is often more powerful than selling. Initially, you lose money, but it builds an emotional connection with individuals. If you give them something, there’s an expectation that they will provide you with value in return.
Companies give away things like t-shirts, USB drives, keyrings, and hats because they know that it will give people a positive impression of their brand.
3. Connect With Customers Personally
While customers will often be willing to interact with your brand as an entity, giving them ways to connect with you personally is powerful. When they get to know people in a business, it ceases to be a faceless organization and becomes much more.
To learn more about providing the perfect experience for your customers that will make them want to keep coming back, you need to read The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty.
4. Create A Loyalty Program
Most customers want to be rewarded for their loyalty. After all, if they continually spend money with you, you should give them something in return.
Smart business owners set up a loyalty program to encourage existing customers to stick with them. Coffee shops do this, for instance, by creating punch cards that give every 10th cup for free. Clothing stores often have loyalty cards that allow customers to build up points and get free goodies.
The structure of your loyalty program depends on your business model. Ideally, you want a setup that rewards customers for sticking with you over time and when they spend more money.
5. Provide Perks Regularly
Intentionally rewarding customer loyalty is one of the cheapest ways to get somebody to come back to your brand time and time again. You can make the reward monetary, but there are other tools at your disposal as a business owner.
For instance, if you have a particularly dependable customer, you can provide them with things like early access to new products, special coupons, or the option to skip the line. Obviously, you’ll want to do this in a way that avoids irritating your other customers, but it’s well worth it if it means hanging onto the most valuable people.
6. Improve Your Customer Service
Providing quality customer service is a balancing act. On the one hand, you need to be able to handle customer complaints quickly and respectfully. On the other, you don’t want to spend all your money on reps and have to raise your prices.
Customer service isn’t necessarily money down the drain. In fact, it’s often a sales opportunity and a chance to prove to customers that you offer a great service.
Data suggest that customers highly value customer service interactions. Around half of all consumers say that they would leave a brand for another if they weren’t able to get in touch with a rep.
Imagine, for instance, that a customer isn’t happy with the current level of service they’re receiving. Superficially, it seems like a bad thing. But if you can upsell them onto a product that actually meets their needs, then it could be a big positive for your business.
To learn more about this strategy, read the Harvard Business Review on Increasing Customer Loyalty.
7. Don’t Over-use Technology
Chatbots are becoming more popular as artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated. Today’s devices can answer FAQs, such as hours of operation or to follow up on shipping and tracking.
But it’s a long way from being perfect. AI can’t provide in-depth assistance or respond sensitively to unique customer requirements. The majority of customers would much prefer to speak with a human instead of a machine.
For that reason, a lot of top brands still rely heavily on real people for their customer service interactions.
8. Always Smile
Lastly, most customers feel loyal to companies that welcome them with a smile. A smile makes people feel welcome when they come to your store or office. It might seem a little fake sometimes, but there’s good data to back it up. Don’t underestimate its importance.
Read the book Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days to learn more about this.
It is no easy feat for a business to build strong customer loyalty. It takes time, strategy, and intentionality. We hope these suggestions help get you on the right track!