What is customer loyalty?
In the simplest terms, customer loyalty (from customer loyalty) is when a customer makes purchases repeatedly at the same place, with a high degree of repetition. A loyal customer not only returns to your store often, but also chooses it over your competitors. One loyal customer does not require as much financial investment as continuous acquisition of new customers.
Of course, giving up on finding new people to buy our products or services is not an option, but with loyal customers we can spend less energy and resources on this.
The crux of customer loyalty is a good relationship between the customer and the brand. Good service, fast shipping of products, properly secured shipments, low prices or attractive promotions – any of these things can make a standard customer loyal to a company.
What are the benefits of attracting loyal customers?
In addition to the obvious reduction in customer acquisition costs, establishing good customer relationships has other benefits. Which ones?
- A loyal customer spends more – this is obvious, but the more orders a customer places, the more your store will earn. If the customer’s experience is unequivocally positive, they will surely return more than once to leave their money with you.
- A loyal customer is not looking for competition – of course, you can’t rest on your laurels: if you’ve acquired a loyal customer, you need to take care of them and make them feel how important they are to your company. If you don’t neglect to nurture the relationship, the customer won’t look around at your competitors’ offerings – they will make their next purchase from you, because they know they will receive quality service.
- A loyal customer can be an ambassador for your brand – whisper marketing is an extremely effective practice, but only if it is natural and credible. Customers who are satisfied with their purchases from your store may tell their friends or family about them, which will certainly have a positive impact on sales. Remember, however, that his loved ones will also learn about slip-ups on your part – it’s a good idea to keep your hand in and stay focused on providing the highest possible service.
How do you build customer loyalty?
In this part of the article, we will present some methods to build a good relationship with customers and gain loyal buyers and even brand ambassadors. We will tell you what to pay attention to in the customer service process, how to solicit feedback, how to communicate with customers, and finally how to encourage loyal customers to share their impressions of the store.
But let’s start with the most important: promotions, discounts and collecting points are a small part of building a relationship with a customer – it’s not worth basing it on that alone. Instead, ensure a positive customer experience with the brand.
Think about what will attract loyal customers
Loyal customers are gained in various ways – one of which is to clearly communicate your values. If your company supports a particular initiative, make it visible. Many customers buy considering their beliefs.
It’s worth highlighting what sets your store apart from the competition. Instant shipping? How about carefully packaged orders with a personalized thank-you note? The most important thing is to show elements in which your company is sincere and conducts consistent activities. Making changes “for the public” can seriously shake confidence in a brand when discovered.
Provide exceptional customer service
If you want to gain loyal customers, you can’t just serve customers well – you should do it the best in the industry. If you promise something to a customer, try to deliver more than you promised. It is not, of course, that you should add a fifth free of charge to the four products you order. Rather, we are talking about behaviors that will make the customer realize that you care about them.
If a customer asks a question and you promise to answer tomorrow, try to settle the matter the same day – you will certainly leave a good impression. If a customer informs you of a problem or error that you have noticed, thank them for bringing it to your attention, but also try to solve the problem as soon as possible – and afterwards it is worth writing to them and emphasizing that the problem has disappeared and it was also possible thanks to their reaction.
If you provide a way for customers to contact you via site chat or instant messaging, such as Messenger, make sure that someone is always on the other end, ready to respond. Fast response time is key! You can also use a chatbot, but many customers are not fond of talking to an automated machine. A solution worth considering is to configure the chatbot to respond to the customer within moments of receiving the inquiry and ensure that the customer is redirected to a consultant.
Create a loyalty program
The main purpose of loyalty programs is, of course, to encourage customers to make repeat purchases from our store. This is obvious, and no one denies it – but it is best that it is not the sole purpose of your program. Add to it the desire to appreciate customers. When creating a loyalty program and allowing customers to collect points, take care not to impose too many restrictions and too high thresholds.
The simplest example of a loyalty program is the awarding of points depending on the value of the order placed. When you reward every penny spent with a point, customers often have to leave fat money in the store before they can buy something tangible with the accumulated points. It’s not very encouraging when an enthusiast has to spend £5,000 in a hobby store to get a product worth £100 in return. Alternatively, try a reward approach for much more than purchases. Referring other customers, signing up for an account, signing up for a newsletter, participating in a contest – you can reward all of these, and many more, activities with points in your loyalty program.
Rewards for participating in the program remain a separate issue. Ask your customers about their preferences (participating in the survey also rewards them with points), and perhaps you’ll learn that instead of converting points to zlotys, they’d prefer to get a fixed discount, the promise of free shipping, or free admission to an event related to their hobby? The ideal situation, of course, would be to offer customers a wide range of rewards to choose from.
Build a community
This is definitely one of the points that is easier to talk about than to actually implement. Building an engaged community centered around a brand is the dream of many a company – but in practice it often proves very difficult. There may be many reasons for this, but the most significant is that there are already many such communities, and the market is fragmented. However, this does not mean that these plans should be abandoned.
Community building can start on social media – encourage observers to interact. Create engaging posts, ask questions, and ask for customers’ opinions. Don’t forget to answer them! If customers perceive that their responses hit a void, they will certainly choose not to interact again.
Talk about your products and services, showing their use in practice. Share tips, but also let customers talk about their experiences. Share feedback and open up for discussion.
Ask your opinion
This point follows from the previous one, but it is worth separating. Customers are the people on whom the success of your store depends in large part. If possible, ask them about the direction of the company, the products they would like to see you offer, and their impressions of the level of customer service. Only a satisfied customer can become a loyal one – without satisfaction you certainly can’t count on it.
Customers are not the only ones worth asking what they think. Talk to employees – especially those who serve customers. They are the ones who solve the problems of your store’s visitors on a daily basis, and they will be the ones who know what customers pay attention to most often, what bothers them, and what they are very satisfied with.
Also pay attention to reviews of your store. Don’t forget to thank them for their good word, but especially look at negative reviews. Do not treat them as an attack – try to learn from them, and if possible, get in touch with their authors and try to improve their opinion of your company by solving the problems described.
Continue to grow
The continuous development of the store leads to an increase in customer satisfaction, as we have already mentioned. Offer the best possible experience with, for example, an intuitive interface or fast shipping of orders.
Building customer loyalty is a multi-step and never-ending process, but the satisfaction and real benefits that come from gaining loyal customers reward the effort. Remember, too, that you don’t have to use all the methods discussed here at once. Start with one and gradually introduce more – that way you’ll figure out on your own which ones are effective for your business.