Customer loyalty is an essential part of your company’s prosperity, as with the Pareto Principle, 80% of future revenue will come from 20% of current customers. Keeping a customer costs approximately 200% less than acquiring a new one, contributing to lower cost of goods sold and overall business expenses. It is therefore crucial that you have methods of customer retention in place to create loyal, repeat customers.
This may seem to be an overwhelming task, but I assure you, it is easier than you think. I’ve broken down the easiest ways to increase your customer loyalty, some of which you can implement today and start making a difference for tomorrow.
1. Show Appreciation
There is a stark difference when confronted by an indifferent sales associate, compared to a passionate business owner. The difference is often a level of appreciation and gratitude for the customer’s business. As this passion is difficult to replicate throughout a larger company or store, this appreciation must be conveyed on a bigger scale. Showing customer appreciation can be as simple as a giveaway, a milestone program, or a video saying thank you. When your customers feel appreciated, they’ll be happy to bring you their business, again and again.
2. Provide Value
Providing value for your customers goes beyond regular customer service; it brings additional value to their experience, whether on or offline. When it comes to in-person value, it is about creating an experience that complements your product or service and leaves your customer happier and more knowledgeable. When interacting with customers online, providing value is more than product updates, sales, and a user-friendly website. You want to provide helpful ways to use your offerings, educate them on larger issues, and include them in your community. As you begin segmenting your audiences through appended user behavioral data, you will be able to provide more unique experiences of greater value to your customers, so they are more likely to follow along and keep coming back.
3. Listen to Customer Feedback
Sometimes it is tough to hear harsh reviews, but it is a necessary part of improving the customer experience. Listening to your customers’ feedback and suggestions helps them feel valued and engaged in your company’s future. When they can see the tangible difference their comment made, they are more likely to return and tell others about their contribution. Customers want to feel heard and appreciated, so by listening to them and implementing certain suggestions, it helps to achieve both.
4. Be Authentic and Consistent
This is something that is often overlooked in the digital age. Content is more curated than ever, and customers rarely see the persons beyond the brand. When you display your company culture, personality, and post organic content, it gives your customers a sense of belonging. It opens up your company and welcomes every single customer to join the party. Social platforms like Snapchat and Instagram have made it easier than ever to show behind the scenes and authentic content to help engage your base in a deeper way. When you show your authentic self consistently, you gain more than just loyal customers; you gain friends.
5. Remember your Customers
It is a special thing when you are remembered as a customer, whether they remember your drink order, your shoe size, or your favorite scent, it makes a huge difference. When you remember customers, it helps to personalize the experience for each guest and make them feel special. Showing you remember can be demonstrated through customized recommendations, social media interactions, custom curated content, and regular email communications. The more interactions you have, the more data you are able to collect, the better you will be able to personalize your marketing efforts and delight your guests repeatedly.
6. Offer Promotions
Offering promotions can aide in your efforts to show customers appreciation and build loyalty. Promotions can be utilized through discounts, bargains, and contests that engage customers and reward their actions. As the customer becomes more involved with the brand and is demonstrating loyalty, their promotions can reflect that to produce exclusive offers. Throughout these promotions, data may be collected to learn who the customer is and provide unique rewards that suit their needs. If these promotions are connected to rewards and the data is used to better understand the customer, promotions can be a great way to build brand loyalty.
7. Create a Loyalty Program
The previous steps should help to increase your customer retention and loyalty. So now that you have loyal customers, you’ll want to reward them with a program designed for their needs (based on customer feedback and accumulated data). The primary goal of a loyalty program is to increase the Life Time Value of the member, and in order to do this, loyalty programs must drive value in ways that are not just purchase focused. Loyalty programs that only focus on purchase for points, tend to miss the relationship that can be developed to generate long-term loyalty and high LTV.
Of course, there are brands where the product transcends loyalty in some regards and the customer is truly driven to purchase and consume, regardless of the relationship. For myself, Starbucks is this type of client, as I am buying regardless of a loyalty program. However, most brands are not as fortunate to have a customer like me. Thus, they should focus on loyalty programs that leverage the data provided by consumers in order to deliver a meaningful experience. By building a loyalty program in which consumers may earn points in a number of ways and spend points in a number of ways, it increases the amount of quality touch-points and thus drives a valuable relationship between a member and brand.
When you repeatedly put the customer first, it builds your reputation and creates trust. Customer loyalty emerges when that trust is established, and it is your job to keep it.
We can help you with that. Email us or give us a call to speak with a consultant about your next promotion or loyalty program.
I’m the VP of Sales at IC Group and loyalty program strategist.
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