Businesses nowadays are constantly finding ways to draw new customers into their cash register while keeping their competitors guessing on their next marketing campaign. Some brands or companies focus more on retaining their existing customers, adopting strategies to get repeat business.
Repeat business is anchored on customer loyalty, which means that a consumer has a devotion to a particular brand or company’s products and services. Starbucks, a very successful coffee and beverage company, is an excellent example. This industry giant took full advantage of its recognizable name and admirable customer loyalty program to enhance and expand its customer base globally over the years.
Small businesses aspire to have this kind of success with its customers, regardless of the nature of the industry they’re in. If you’re an owner or a part of a small business, perhaps you’ll be able to pick up a helpful tip in this list of 7 ways to build customer loyalty:
1. Make excellent customer experience a part of your brand.
The most basic and most important area of being in business is often the most overlooked, and even sometimes neglected. Your business might be small right now, but this is the perfect time to make a name for yourself. In whatever line of business you’re in, learn and perfect everything in your field, and apply this expertise to your product or service. Customer loyalty is created the moment you provide a customer with impeccable customer experience. Never compromise on the quality of your work because a satisfied customer is a happy customer. Happy customers will talk about how satisfied they’re and will even recommend you to their family and friends.
2. Be precise with your target market and let them know your business.
Know and be very familiar with the people you want to offer your business. Personalize your ads to conform with the nature of your business and adapt to the customer types that you’re going to send marketing content, promos, and discounts to. For instance, if you own a pastry business that handles bulk orders. You can appropriately send a special discount offer to a couple that’s about to be wed, which says you’ll gift them cupcakes as an additional wedding giveaway if you are the one who makes their extravagant wedding cake.
Take advantage of web automation applications that could streamline how you communicate with your target market. Remember, if you know to hit the correct spot with prospective customers, they’ll be in awe of how perceptive you are with their needs. So yes, they’ll be satisfied and happy customers right from the very beginning.
3. Be visible.
Perhaps this is the easiest thing to do on this list. The bottom line is regular communication with your customers, be it social media, email, live chat, or through the phone. Social media networks can provide you with 24/7 visibility, and emails can give you the avenue to send regular newsletters about updates on your business. Live chat gives you the ability to give real-time updates on your business as well while using phones for business is still indispensable to most businesses. Just be sure to be always on the other end of the line in whatever form of communication you choose. If you can’t handle the volume, ask for someone in your business to man the fort for you. Remember, customers appreciate it if you can find the time to speak or respond to them directly and quickly.
4. Accept feedback.
Imagine those suggestion boxes? It’s the same concept. Allow your business to accept suggestions about your product or service. Good or bad, you’ll find them as an excellent gauge of how well your customers perceive your business. If you generally receive positive feedback with a few negative ones, then strive to correct those negative feedbacks as soon as you can while keeping up those positive ones or even improving them.
It doesn’t have to be physical suggestion boxes; you can set up an email address to serve as one. You can even set up a phone line to receive comments and suggestions from your customers. Be mindful to thank each and every one of those customers who made feedback. They’ll appreciate you for it more than you know, especially if you convey to them how you will help them and address their concerns as soon as you can.
5. Learn from every criticism and move on.
This goes hand in hand with number 4. However, learning from criticism means you’re taking a step in the right direction. Play this scenario in your head. A customer called because he’s frustrated that the box of personalized cupcakes you delivered was damaged a little bit on the edges. He started to make some negative comments that you readily listened to and apologized for. You diffused the situation, but what’s next?
Learning from criticism would mean that the next deliveries coming from you would be made extra careful, and taking a step further, you’ll let that customer know that you’ll be happy to replace his damaged order free of charge. In that way, that customer would think that even if the initial delivery was a failure, you treated him as courteously as possible and would still do future business with you.
6. Get a rewards-based loyalty program running.
This is the widely-used scheme to promote customer loyalty and also one of the most successful ways of doing so. Giving a rewards-based loyalty program to existing customers is one way of making them feel special and valued. Valued customers are satisfied customers and will certainly feel a certain amount of loyalty to your business. Together with quality products and services from you, this scheme will increase your business’ longevity and, of course, its income over time.
7. Adapt to changes.
A more forward-thinking area of being in business is the ability to adapt to changes, which can either be internal or external. A perfect example is how customers’ preferences change with regard to the ingredients used in making their pastries. An increasing number of customers want gluten-free ingredients used in their food, so be ready to give in to this demand and offer products that will cater to these types of customers. A more general way to adapt is coping with how food is ordered and delivered nowadays, so be also ready to accept orders online and have a door-to-door delivery service at hand when this type of change becomes a must for your business.
This list of ways of building customer loyalty is by no means an exclusive enumeration of what you can do as a business owner. You can always think of more ways to do it based on your style, even in the midst of running your business.