Building Customer Loyalty: Why it Matters and How it Grows
Building customer loyalty is an essential part of endowing your business venture with staying power and also providing it a free source of marketing. Here we’ve lay down the essentials in building and maintaining customer loyalty.
No matter what your industry, turning first-time clients or customers into regulars is good for any business, whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been at it for years. Clients that are pleased with your services will give you some of the best advertising there is — word-of-mouth, and the fact that happy clients will bring their business back time and time again is important for your revenue projections. But in 2018, it’s easier than ever for your customers to research both your company and its competition, and customers are savvier than ever before. Needless to say, a growing base of customer loyalty is the key to any business’ continued success — we’re here with a run-down of the elements that kep clients coming back time and time again. At the end of the day, it’s as easy and as simple as building your enterprise and your product into a business that clients love. And for business owners just starting up, be sure to take a look at our free business plan templates to help you with the nuts and bolts of starting a company that clients will keep coming back to.
Customer Loyalty and Communication
As a part of your marketing strategy, it’s important that you and your team define how you’re going to reach out to and remain in contact with your customers. Email newsletters can be great for this, as is social media such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Let your clients know what’s new with your company, in terms that make it interesting for them — are you researching a new product? Is your company moving or expanding? Keeping customers apprised of your progress means that your venture takes on a more personal dimension in your clients’ lives. Don’t neglect sending out a weekly newsletter to your loyal subscribers and be sure to keep them updated over social media. People are curious — satisfy your customer’s curiosity! Transparency goes a long way both inside and outside of an enterprise.
Keep it Personal and Know Your Regulars
Especially if your store benefits from a brick-and-mortar location, but even if you’re an online boutique, it’s important to know exactly who your return customers are and pay attention to their needs and opinions. Sending a personalized note after another order from a long-time client, or knowing the name of someone who continually brings business to your shop (whether digital or physical), lets return customers know that their loyalty is valued by your company, and it establishes a link that maintains the likelihood of their continuing to return. Being gracious with your clients, especially regulars, is key.
Personalizing messages and newsletters to your clients as individuals and offering real human customer service is important — when customers feel “known” or acknowledged, it increases their connection to a business. Especially for startups and businesses on a small budget, it’s important not to underestimate the powerful effect of making clients feel special and cared-for every time their interact with your business. Even programming newsletters to include the recipient’s first name, for example, and a note thanking them for a recent purchase, can go a long way to making that individual wish to return for their future needs.
Offer Impeccable Service
There’s a lot to be said for the old adage, “the customer is always right.” While it’s obviously important not to allow anyone to trample over your business or your employees, it’s important to keep this saying in mind when you’re talking about customer service. Nothing can kill a business, especially a nascent one, like reports of bad customer service — and unhappy clients have a way (and the means) of making their opinions known on platforms that might feel a bit too public for your business’ comfort. Bad customer service doesn’t just mean that one customer won’t return, it often means that their friends, family, and anyone who hears their opinion about their experience will be wary of your enterprise. Even more alarmingly, the The White House Office of Consumer Affairs has stated that for every customer who is vocal about their bad experience with a company, twenty-six individuals stay silent (but they don’t bring their business back, either).
On the other hand, warm, personable, and helpful customer service makes clients feel valued and shows them the human face of the enterprise. With the virtualization of so many businesses, customer service becomes increasingly impersonal and bureaucratic. Offering human help with customer’s questions, comments, and concerns, will go a long way to securing customer loyalty.
It’s been found that when clients express a preference for a given business, many cite shared values with that business as a primary reason for their return. For example, if a customer is dedicated to the environment, it’s likely that he or she will have adjusted buying habits in order to buy products and engage with companies that value, say, recycled materials and waste-free living. When customers feel that a brand shares similar values, they have a tendency to favor that brand over others. In order for this to be en effective strategy, companies must therefore be transparent about their values and goals as an enterprise, which is something you should already have down in your business plan.
Once you’ve established personalized customer service and a warm business persona to present to your clientele, make sure that your standards towards your clients are unwavering. Good service is the secret sauce to any successful business, and making that a number one priority is important in order to ensure that this service stays a priority even once your company begins its growth curve. Companies that fall behind on customer relations sometimes don’t last as long as they’d like: stay on the ball!
Ultimately, customers are seeking a sense of identity and value when they engage with businesses. Solid customer service, transparent values, and good communication with everyone who passes through your business is essential to building a base of clients that will continue to bring their business to yours year after year and create a reservoir of customer loyalty that is indispensable for any company. For any growing business to continue on its projected path, it’s important to retain business once it’s brought to your doorstep. By keeping a few of these essential notions in mind, you should be well on your way to securing customer loyalty and a strong client base. And for those of you who are just starting out, don’t sleep on our free business template to help you get started.