It’s never an easy process to grab the attention of a prospect and consistently maintain customer retention and loyalty to a specific brand. However, customer retention and loyalty needs to be a top priority for marketers, or customers you worked endlessly to convert could disappear forever.
To avoid this from happening, read up on our tips below for ensuring customer loyalty:
1. Offer Amazing Customer Service
Although this may sound like an obvious service to provide your customers, offering amazing customer service helps your clients appreciate your company and influences their decision to be a loyal customer. The value of quality customer service cannot be over stated when it comes to online marketing.
You can easily improve your customer service by:
- Responding to complaints quickly
- Creating an easy process for customers to submit concerns
- Offering a variety of contact options (email, phone, social media etc.)
- Remain in regular contact through every part of your business relationship (schedule regular check ins or meetings)
Customer retention and loyalty rates are directly proportional to how strong your small business’ customer service programs are. If you want you customer to stick with you, you need to do the same for them and give them evidence as to why you deserve their business.
2. Expect Problems At Some Point or Another
No matter how hard you work, there’s going to be problems at some point in your company’s life. But remember, the problem in itself isn’t so much of the issue as how you choose to respond to it. However, instead of going crazy trying to fix the problem as soon as it happens, you should already be prepared for the problem by initiating anticipatory services.
For example, banks notify their customers via an email or text alert when their checking account goes below their minimum balance. Instead of being charged a fee, customers can send more money to their account. As a result, the problem is solved before it really becomes an issue for anyone.
3. Be Flexible
Although you should always have policies in effect, try to be as flexible as possible for your customers, who all have their own problems. Every customer and every sale will be different, so you need to be able to adapt to new situations as they occur. If you want to retain your customer base you need to work around them, not the other way around. And, you don’t want to miss out on or lose a customer because your policies are too inflexible to meet their specific needs.
For example, if you have a one-month return policy, but your customer got the product as a gift after your return policy ends and wants to return it, instead of refusing it, accept the return or offer a store credit.
4. Be Open About Your Company Values
One of the easiest ways to ensure brand loyalty and retention rates is to share your company values with your customers. According to a study by the Corporate Executive Board, 64% of consumers say they have a relationship with a brand because they share the same values. That’s why almost every business website has an “about us” or “our story” section on their website. Prospects connect with a company through shared experiences, values, or beliefs.
So, if you want loyal customers, you have to explain to your consumers what you and your brand mean to the world.
5. Go Above and Beyond
Although you have probably heard the business saying, “under promise and over deliver,” you should instead work on exceeding expectations. Don’t set the bar low just so you can look good. You need to always strive for the best service possible. Your customers will be able to see your real dedication.
In this same thread, don’t forget about existing and long term customers either. When you’re busy reaching out to new customers, it can be easy to ignore your existing customers.
Remember, it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than to go out and find a new one!
6. Offer a Loyalty Program
Offering your customers a loyalty reward system is a great way to retain their support to your company. Whether you base your loyalty rewards system on a game, a point-driven system, or charge for it, there are plenty of options you can try out to impress your clients and drive customer retention and loyalty rates for your small business.
7. Showcase Your Expertise
A customer will always choose a company that has the most expertise in their products and services. As a business, you need to show a potential customer that you can support all their needs and can educate them on everything they need to know about the product or service they’re considering purchasing.
There are several easy ways to demonstrate your expertise online:
- Publish a regular blog with educational and helpful articles
- Create demonstrational YouTube videos about your products or services
- Have a consistent social media presence (post often and follow important leaders in your industry)
- Don’t be shy about posting any awards you or your business has won
- Be an active member in the community (run in a 5K, sponsor a food drive, have a booth at your local fair etc.)
So, if you want to ensure loyalty for your business, make sure you’re a trusted expert in your field and a familiar brand name.
8. Develop a Community
Building customer retention and loyalty is all about making your consumers feel as if they’re part of something. Fortunately, there are a lot of social media platforms that make it easy to build a community for your customers to be a part of.
Some of the ways we at Cazbah connect with our community are:
- Participating in community events (like 5Ks)
- Remaining active on several forms of social media (check out our Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter pages)
- Regular, scheduled calls with our clients
Whether it’s customers giving your business a rating on Facebook or having a one on one conversation, there are endless methods to help you build community with your prospects and customers.
9. Make Shopping Easy for Your Customers
Besides the importance of making a sale, the next thing you should be focused on is making the shopping experience easier for your customers. Amp up your products page with all the info a customer would need, include videos and images of your products on your home website and social media accounts, and offer email or phone support if your customers have any questions along the way.
10. Add a Personal Touch
Personalized emails, phone calls, or social media messages have been shown to increase a business’ sale rate because the customer feels appreciated and valued.
You can personalize your messages by addressing your customers by name, sending them a birthday greeting, or including a coupon with a special discounts. Customers love personalized messages because it helps them create a more emotional bond with your company and that you’re actually paying attention.
11. Offer Social Proof
People are more likely to use a product or service if they know others have used that same product or service. Social proof and customer reviews are a fantastic way for your new customers to learn about your company and products from people who have used them in the past.
There are a few ways that you can offer social proof:
- Provide information and statistics from experts and other credible sources
- Offer endorsements or sponsorships (this can be something as small as a little league team)
- Post user reviews and comments
Searchers do their research on a business before they actually walk into their store or pick up the phone to call. One of the best ways to gain a lead’s trust is through several customer reviews on your Google business page and your home website.
12. Ask For Feedback
After they buy one of your products or services, send an email to your new customer asking them to provide feedback. This can be through a quick email questionnaire or an online survey.
Ask questions like:
- What did you like or dislike about the product?
- How was our customer service?
- What can we do to improve?
Customer feedback is one of the best ways to discover problem points in your selling process or with your products and services. Going to your customers let’s them know their input matters to you.
13. Make Communication Simple
Take advantage of every tool available to you to make it as easy as possible for your customers to contact you. Allow them to reach out through email, social media, Skype, online chat etc.
However, there will be times when your customers want to speak to an actual representative. Make sure you have a “contact us” section on your website that lists your email, phone number, and business address. Many businesses also choose to list their social media accounts as well. If it’s too hard to find your information, that lead will move on to the next company.
Don’t make your potential customers work to find you and make sure you respond quickly when they do.
14. Prioritize Reliability
Concentrate on building a company reputation for being reliable and trustworthy. If you promise something to your customers, maintain your word.
Don’t get me wrong, mistakes do occur. But instead of sweeping them under the rug, stay in communication with your customer about how your resolving it and how you will prevent it in the future. This, in itself, is it’s own form of reliability as well. If a customer feels let down by your business, they will leave and search for a service that actually makes them feel valued and respected.
15. Hire the Right Staff
The people who work for your company play a big role in ensuring customer retention and loyalty. They represent your business and your company values. Your staff can make all the difference between a good customer experience and a bad one. Train your staff to provide excellent customer service and provide them with the tools to succeed.
Don’t push customer retention and loyalty to the back burner! If you want to grow, this needs to be a priority for your business from the get-go. After all, you can have the best product in the world, but if you can’t keep your customers, you’re going to fail. Take the time to read through and implement the above tips to gain more qualified prospects and then develop them into life time customers!