Customer Loyalty 101: How To Keep Your Clients Coming Back for More

What do we mean when we talk about customer loyalty? 

At its most basic, we’re talking about a customer who loves a business so much that they will repeatedly purchase over and above cheaper options from another company.

Loyal customers are the backbone of any successful business. Repeat customers tend to spend more with you and have larger than average spends when they return. So how do you encourage loyalty?

Loyalty Versus Satisfaction

Let’s first talk a little about loyalty versus satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is one of those metrics that can be tricky to measure. Still, it’s also a good indication of your business performance.

A satisfied customer is not a loyal one (although they can be the same if you provide excellent and consistent customer service). It’s entirely possible for a satisfied customer to be new to your business, and therefore, they tend to spend less with you.

Repeat customers, though, are often a source of considerable business growth. It’s estimated that a repeat customer has a sixty to seventy percent chance of buying from you, so encouraging repeat customers makes good sense.

Loyalty is built on emotion. Customers return because they perceive you to be better quality, have better customer service, be a force for good, or a combination of all of these things.

Building Customer Loyalty Through Exceptional Customer Service

Focus on every aspect of how your customer interacts with you, and you’ll begin to see the rewards in your bottom line.

  • Personalize your customer interactions – Use their name, and remember their important dates (offer them discounts on their birthday).
  • Offer exception complaint handling and customer service — go the extra mile. Sometimes things go wrong, but how you handle it will stick in your customer’s mind.
  • Resolve issues quickly and easily.
  • Provide ongoing support – This depends on what type of service you offer. It’s possible to set up your processes so that you can provide ongoing support whenever your customer needs to speak with someone.
  • Be generous in your support and provision – Some companies find a way to offer gifts with every purchase (or perhaps some uplift in the service you provide to them). A cynic might see a customer loyalty program as a way to extract more money. However, having a genuinely generous customer service provision (no quibble returns) can go a long way to putting this idea to rest.

Creating a Loyalty Program That Works

There are several different types of loyalty programs, and which you use depends on your business.

  • Point-based system: Spending an increasing amount of points with you earns rewards
  • Tiered system: A system that is set up in such a way that it rewards further spending.
  • Cashback and discounts: Self-explanatory, but generous discounts or cashback can go a long way to encouraging loyalty.
  • Partnered program: Working with another company to offer your most loyal customers a good deal.

If you decide to go this route, then make sure you monitor closely how the program performs and adjust accordingly. You’re good to go as long as the program achieves your goals.

Social Media Is King

Most businesses have a social media presence. Managed correctly, it can be integral to your customer retention strategy.

  • Ensure you respond to customer queries and feedback quickly and gracefully (even in the face of provocation).
  • Share relevant content and promotions.
  • Encourage user-generated content and reviews.

Engage with your customers; humor goes a long way to humanizing you. Put a smile on people’s faces, and they will remember you and likely return. Use humor carefully, though, as controversial opinions may upset people, and you may lose business as a result of it.

Building Customer Loyalty

Building customer loyalty may be simple, but it’s not easy. It takes commitment and consistency. Provide excellent customer service, and treat your customers with respect and they will return again and again. 

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