If you try to look at big brands, it seems like it is so easy to come up with their loyalty programs. Businesses like Starbucks and Kohl’s have one of the most perfect customer loyalty programs that makes their customers come back again and again.
If you are a small business that is just starting out, can you even dream of having these kinds of loyalty programs? Can you come up with making customers loyal to you and your brand? The answer is a big YES!
Any business can make their customers loyal if they put any effort into it. Let’s start by breaking the stigma that customer loyalty programs should be complicated and expensive. It can be very simple for as long as your customer remains satisfied and happy.
Why is Customer Loyalty Important?
A business does not only need new customers. They also need to have returning customers so that they can keep the cash flow coming in.
New customers may be willing to spend but returning customers tend to spend more the second or third time they do business with you. They are also more than willing to promote your brand. If there are only new customers, then your business becomes stagnant. There will be no growth since no one can share an experience that would make people want to come back. On the other side of the coin, if there are only repeat customers, that means the promotions are not working because no new customers are coming in.
90% of businesses realise the importance of customer loyalty. They have some sort of a customer rewards or retention program. It was found out that if customer retention is increased by 5%, the sales can also increase by a whopping 95%!
Customer loyalty is not only a business strategy or marketing tool. It is already an important part of the management of your company. If your business can strategically implement your loyalty programs, you can build up a community and they do almost half the work of marketing for you.
Below are some tips on how your business can grow customer loyalty.
1. Offer a Rewards Program
Everyone loves rewards. You don’t have to be a big brand to offer a customer loyalty rewards program for your customers. Don’t think about making your customers come back first. Instead, think of how you can make them happier by offering rewards. Encourage them to buy more from your brand in exchange for something equally valuable.
It would also be great if you can maintain these offers for a long time or offer different rewards over time. You’ll be surprised that your customers are already lining up your door waiting for their next reward!
2. Create a Community
Some of the most successful brands are backed up by the active community of customers. Try to visit fitness clubs and gyms. You will see that there is a solid community of customers who are supporting each other on a common goal. These communities are often created and facilitated with the in-store experience. For example, fitness gyms might conduct cooking classes or fitness challenges so the members of the community can participate.
The main goal here is to associate your product to a lifestyle that everyone can happily share. Look at your products and your customers’ needs side by side. Think of how your products can solve their problems through community building.
3. Get Customer Feedback
Aside from the fact that feedback and reviews are ways for you to improve your products or services, they are also a great way to grow customer loyalty. Offer incentives every time they leave feedback. It can be gift coupons or discount codes.
Of course, you can win these customers over if you actually listen to their suggestions and respond to their reviews. Don’t be afraid to show everyone that you are fixing your business so it becomes a better brand. That is the best way to win customer loyalty.
4. Facilitate Social Activities for Your Customers
This is where we get a little more digital. Use the power of social media to measure how loyal your customers really are. You can run a contest on Facebook or other social media channels where you encourage your customers to talk about your brand. It can be a photo of their latest purchase or a testimonial about a good experience they had with your store.
Of course, don’t forget to give away some gifts to the winners. You will have a general idea of how dedicated and participative your customers are. You get to know how many of your customers can set aside time to interact with your brand.
This strategy will also hit two birds with one stone. When your loyal customers post about your brand, there is a possibility that new people will see them and they become first-time customers of your business.
5. Train Your Employees to Be Customer-Oriented
Every customer wants to feel like they are valued and connected to the company in a more personal sense. This can be achieved with the help of your employees. Good customer service can be equated with high customer loyalty. There is even a study that says people will not care so much about the price. What is important is if they are happy with how they are treated while they are shopping.
As the old saying goes, the customer is always right. As a business, you always have to prioritize how your customers will feel. Make sure they feel important, remembered, and valued. So, start teaching your employees how to communicate with your customers this way.
Again, you don’t have to wait for your business to become a big brand before you start thinking about customer loyalty. The sooner you facilitate the growth of your company’s customer loyalty, the more you are helping your business to flourish. Just remember to keep it simple but smart at first and slowly scale it up as your business becomes bigger.