Before we get to the part about how to increase customer loyalty it is essential to realize why it is important for any business. It is fairly easy to get customers in. The faster you wish to achieve effect and the more you wish to attract the more you need to spend on your ads and marketing campaign. However, if you will not care about retention you will eventually run out of new customers or the cost of “buying” new ones will increase beyond your actual profits. Also, it is worth realizing that it will require more and more effort to get new people in.
In other words:
1. It takes a lot less effort to keep a customer than to get a new one
2. It is a lot cheaper to keep a customer than to get a new one
3. It is easier to get your old customer to spend money than to get your new customer to do so. The reason for this is - trust. It takes time to build trust. That is why it is so valuable. In some cases, even cheaper service or products will not be enough to “steal” your customers if you will successful loyalty strategy.
How to build and increase customer loyalty
Now that you know customer loyalty is important we can proceed to find out how to build it or increase it. Above we have used the term “loyalty strategy”. If you were expecting the term “loyalty program” we are sorry to disappoint - why, we will tell you at the end.
1. Build a personal relationship with your customer.
Of course, it is not always possible and we do not mean it literally. But, the closer you can get to your customer, for example through UGC - user-generated content - like reviews, comments, and conversation. The more trust you can gain the better. After all, we all like to be valued and recognized. This also goes against common advice - we have mentioned that in one of the previous posts - not to get personal with your customers.
2. Be a customer yourself.
Then you will know what your customers like and what they don’t. As a customer, you can see what your competition is offering and how. See what you did or did not like in your experience and see how your own business can benefit. And if you can not be a customer yourself - read and listen to your customers' reviews and opinions. Be thankful for good reviews and value those who criticize you.
3. Payment options
The more, the better. Make it as easy for your customer to purchase as possible. Once your customer takes a decision about purchase it is a disaster when for some silly reason he can not complete his experience. In most cases, such customers are lost. After all… would you waste your own time again in such a situation?
4. Don’t give an excuse!
This especially goes to your existing customers and should be a part of your strategy to increase loyalty. Make sure they do not have any excuse not to buy again. In other words make sure it is as easy and as friendly, but not pushy! as possible. In a real-life such excuse can be a queue to pay. In the virtual world lack of support. If your customer is left with no contact, with an unanswered question this is such an excuse. Don’t make your customer hesitate.
5. Make sure your employees know your strategy
In quite many cases your employees might not really care. Take an example for the best out there and make sure your staff knows that your customers are important to you and so they should be to them.
6. Always be honest with your customers
We all make mistakes and so will you sometimes. But if you will try to cover things up, sweep them under the carpet sooner or later it will fire back as the number of such cases will increase with time. If you deny you made a mistake you will either make your customers angry - and that will not increase customer loyalty. Or your customers will get a feeling you treat them as idiots - and again, that increase customer loyalty.
7. Give them the right advice, sell them what they need
Sometimes you might be tempted to oversell yours to customer. Sell them more than they need. Don’t look for fast profit today. Trust your customer loyalty strategy. If you are caught by the customer on doing things like this all the trust you have build will be lost. To increase customer loyalty is to run a long term strategy.
8. Allow your customers to speak
This simply means allow them to be a part of your content creation. As we said in previous post customers do care for product reviews. They value what others have to say and see how you respond. This is also part of trust-building - even if you do not have direct interaction with all customers, you do indirectly through communications with some of them.
9. Don’t pay for loyalty!
Many sites will suggest, that you run a loyalty program. We don’t think it is a good choice. In reality, most such programs got their peak and then fade away. It takes effort to run them - you need to constantly keep coming with new, attractive ideas. And if you pay for loyalty well just wait till someone will get them a penny more. It will never be a loyalty you would want to have. And such a program will never beat a true, thoughtful strategy to increase customer loyalty.
Try to stick to rules pointed out above but be flexible. With time you will see what kind of approach works best for you and your customers. Just make sure they do have a place on your website where they can share their thoughts with you. Use Wiremo customer reviews widget.