Are you good at building relationships? We’re not talking about your ability to get a date on Friday night; we’re talking about your ability to build lasting relationships with the customers that come into your business. That’s the basis for customer loyalty marketing.
Whether you’re a relationship king, or need a little help to make a connection, this set of loyalty marketing commandments will ensure that you’re on the right path.
1. Thou shalt provide stellar customer service
Customer loyalty is built on relationships, and you don’t stay in a relationship that’s unpleasant, right? Seventy-eight percent of consumers say they’ve bailed on a purchase because of poor customer service.
Consumers want seamless customer service, which includes friendly staff, a seamless checkout and support when a problem pops up. Train your employees to put customers first.
2. Honour thy word
As a business, your reputation is based on your word. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you say you’re going to provide a service at a certain time, show up on time. If your return policy offers a no-questions-asked refund on purchases, follow through with it. If you go back on your word, you’ll kill your reputation and customer loyalty in the process.
3. Thou shalt collect feedback
While it might seem like customers don’t want to be bothered by giving feedback, it’s really important for businesses to do. For every customer that complains, 26 remain silent.
Collecting feedback – and listening to it – is one of the best ways to show customers that you care. Consider conducting surveys in-store or via email.
4. Thou shalt offer a loyalty and rewards program (but not just any program)
One of the best ways to promote loyalty within your customer base is to offer savings and incentives, which are best offered through a loyalty program. There are a ton of customer loyalty programs for businesses, but the easiest programs to promote are the ones that actually offer value. Look for a small business loyalty program that goes beyond a punch card; one that offers ways to gather and analyze customer data and tools that can automatically send promotions to customers.
5. Thou shalt offer worthwhile customer incentives
Customers want to be rewarded for their loyalty, which means offering rewards, savings or gifts that customers actually want. Research suggests 57 percent of consumers join a loyalty program to save money, and 37 percent join to receive rewards. You can make customers work for the really cool rewards, but you don’t want to skimp on the offerings.
6. Thou shalt focus on repeat customers
Loyal customers are the backbone of any business. Attracting new customers can’t be overlooked, of course, but the value of loyal customers exceeds new ones. Businesses with a 40 percent level of repeat customers generated 47 percent more revenue than similar businesses with only a 10 percent level of repeat customers. In others words, treat your loyal customers like VIP.
7. Thou shalt covet technology
Businesses can’t rely on word of mouth alone anymore; owners have to embrace technology to maintain relationships with customers.
Use social media to promote your business and events, make sure your website is mobile-friendly and communicate with customers through text message. Why text? Ninety percent of texts are read within three minutes. Enough said.
8. Thou shalt send personalized messages
Customers expect businesses to get to know them and their buying habits. Seventy-four percent of consumers get frustrated when marketing messages have nothing to do with their interests. Why? Because it shows a lack of concern. Fix this problem by segmenting your customers into specific groups, like New Customers and VIP Customers, and send each group specific promotions.
9. Thou shalt be front and center
Owners and managers should make a conscious effort to meet customers. Again, it’s about building relationships. The chef at a restaurant can make rounds when orders slow, or the manager of a boutique can run the register for an afternoon to talk with customers.
10. Thou shalt highlight customers
Everyone likes a little shout out. To increase customer loyalty, feature a customer on social media, or add a picture of a customer that has recently claimed a big reward through your loyalty program to an in-store bulletin board. Show a little love, and loyalty will follow.
Care to add to the list of customer loyalty marketing commandments? Feel free to include your ideas below.