Customer loyalty simply means a customer is consistently choosing one company’s product/service over its competitors.
If you have a loyal customer base, they are not easily swayed by price comparisons or availability. Loyal customers would rather pay more to ensure that they receive a level of service that they have become accustomed to, rather than take a chance on a competitor – even if they are offering more competitive prices.
WHY IS A LOYAL CUSTOMER BASE IMPORTANT?
In times like the COVID-19 pandemic, loyal customers may have been the make or break for some companies. Loyal customers were willing to pre-purchase vouchers or put their name down on the waiting list for your service when they could have easily gone elsewhere.
There are several advantages of having high customer retention, including:
- A loyal base is more cost effective, rather than marketing to new prospective clients.
- Time spent selling to new customers (cold calls / tutorials / site visits etc.) can be used to improve the product / service that you are providing.
- Trusted relationships are formed from working repeatedly with the same customers.
- Lifetime business from loyal customers boosts your revenue and profit margins.
Sounds great…but how can you make sure that your customers return?
Customer loyalty is the result of a company consistently meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Brand loyalty is built from trust. Customers that trust the companies they do business with will be more likely to purchase again in the future.
Service with a smile:
CUSTOMERS WILL PAY EXTRA FOR SERVICE
To take a simple example, restaurant A has delicious food, excellent food pairings and value for money. However, the service is poor, and the staff have no training. Restaurant B has a simple menu and in the same price range of Restaurant A. In this case, staff are well trained, attentive, and efficient. Studies have shown that Restaurant B is more likely to have repeat customers due to their service, despite the lesser menu offering.
Great service has the transformative power of making a mediocre product fantastic. Terrible service can overpower, no matter how good the product offering may be.
Customers, more often than not, will tell you want they want or the improvements that you can make to your offering – listen to them!
Pay attention to online reviews, comment cards and feedback from your customers experience – both negative and positive. They can tell you what difficulties they may have come across when using your product, which members on your team have been helpful or how an element of your service could be more user friendly.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to reach out to your consumers to ask them how they are getting on while using your product. A consumer may not have thought about picking up the phone to you but may take that opportunity to give feedback or even make an enquiry for a new order.
In today’s fast paced world, customers are targeted from all directions. To help your company stand out from the crowd, listen to customer preferences to ensure that you know what to offer them when they return. Personalize your service to make it more enticing for your most valuable customers to return.
GO THE EXTRA MILE
Customers will remember when you have gone above and beyond to assist them. You may have customized your product for them, spent extra time giving them a tutorial or created a bespoke package especially for them. Customers want to feel confident to spend their money with you and will have confidence in you if they know that your team care to make the effort.
Already have loyal customers and want to say thank you?
Customers will appreciate when you make the effort to thank them for their loyalty. Your recognition does not need to be a grand gesture or costly. Consider some of these options:
To continue growing your company by ensuring more repeat business, consider implementing a customer recognition programme. – There are some ready created loyalty programme that are created for small independent businesses.
To ensure its efficiency, train your team on all programme requirements and what perks customers are entitled to. This could potentially be a tiered system, offering bigger and better perks for long-term loyal customers.
REFER A FRIEND
Some companies offer discounts or perks to customers who refer a friend to the company. Make this available to your loyal customers and you know that they will have something good to say about your company to their contacts.
Loyal customers make the decision to spend their hard-earned money with you. Offer them extra value for their money to celebrate special occasions (customer birthday / Christmas etc.).
Create a database of your loyal customer contact details to ensure they will be the first to hear about your promotions. This will be beneficial to you as you have another platform to showcase new offerings / company news to your clients.
MAKE A POINT TO SAY THANK YOU
Say ‘thank you’
To your customers and make it part of your routine! Loyal customers are priceless, and they deserve a sincere ‘thank you’ every time they choose to come back to you. If you cannot say thank you in person, a handwritten note or letter will have the same impact.
Loyal customers are priceless. They typically are less price conscious and willing to wait for an appointment with you, over the competition.
You should aim to build strong relationships with your clients so that they return.
Loyal customers are looking for recognition, great service and those little extras that really demonstrate that we truly value their business.