Loyal customers keep your revenue flowing. In fact, loyal customers spend 67 percent more than occasional customers, which is why focusing on repeat business is a necessity. But, how?
Fifty-seven percent of small business owners say that having a relationship with their customers is what drives loyalty, according to Braun Research. These business owners are right. Relationships inspire customers to make a purchase, and another…and another.
Check out these five ways to increase customer loyalty at your business:
1. Make customer service a priority – even on social
Seventy-six percent of consumers believe a company’s customer service is a reflection of how much they value customers, according to the 2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Survey.
If you want loyal customers, amazing customer service is a must. A customer evaluates every interaction he or she has with your staff and makes a judgment call about your service.
When a customer waits in line, makes a return, calls about a broken product after a purchase, asks a question on Facebook or works with an employee to find the perfect gift in your store – they’re keeping score.
That means your in-store staff must be friendly, helpful and efficient; your customer support team should be easy to access and able to solve problems in a timely fashion; and your business should work to answer questions quickly – even on social media.
Research shows customers want service via social media, and they expect a quick response. Forty-two percent of consumers expect a response on social media within an hour, and another 32 percent expect a response within 30 minutes.
Take a cue from Southwest Airlines. When a customer asked about the boarding process for international flights on Facebook, he got a response in minutes.
2. Reward your customers
One of the best ways to keep customers coming back is to reward them for their loyalty. Set up a loyalty program that gives customers discounts, gifts and exclusive offers.
Research shows 76 percent of women and 72 percent of men are likely to shop at a business that offers a loyalty program, according to CrowdTwist.
Why do loyalty programs work? Customers want to feel appreciated. After all, they can choose to spend their money anywhere, and they’ve chosen you. That’s not a small gesture, so you should return the favor through a loyalty program.
3. Ask for advice and listen to it
When your mom gave you advice as a teenager, you rolled your eyes, got defensive and probably said something like, “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
Sometimes businesses react to customer feedback just like a teenager. They don’t want to listen to valuable advice – especially if it’s something you don’t want to hear.
Every business should make an effort to collect feedback from customers and listen to it.
If customers complain about the poor layout of your store, for example, fix it. Once the improvement is complete, tell customers about.
When retailer Kendra Scott made changes in response to customer feedback, the email below detailing the improvements went out to every customer.
It’s a great way to show customers that you’re not only reading their feedback, but also acting on it.
4. Offer conveniences
Make life easy for your customers, and they’ll keep coming back. Think about how you can make the customer experience simpler or faster. Consider streamlining your checkout process so customers can get in and out, answer questions on social media rather than forcing customers to go through an automated maze of menus over the phone and offer auto-billing.
Applebee’s, for example, recently upped its convenient factor. The neighborhood bar and grill added digital checkouts to each table so customers don’t have to wait around for the bill or for someone to run their credit card. Now, customers can conveniently check out at their table and go.
5. Don’t just ask for money
You run a business. Selling a product or service is what pays the bills. We get it. But, if you only connect with your customers when you want them to buy something, you’ll have trouble keeping them around for the long haul.
Consider hosting a customer appreciation event to show your gratitude, send them links to helpful articles on your blog or showcase a local charity that your business supports in the monthly newsletter.
The idea is to connect with your customers on a regular basis, without regularly asking for money.
What’s your secret to customer loyalty? How do you get customers to become loyal to your brand? Share your tips with others in the comment section below.