Increasing customer loyalty is one of the most important factors in running a successful business. This is because research shows that typically, 80% of a business’s profits come from just 20% of its customers.
On top of this, it’s also been proven that it is much more cost-effective to sell to existing customers than to find few ones. Those are just two reasons why increasing customer loyalty is so important for your business – put simply, it’s where most of your sales will come from. Of course, loyal customers are also more likely to recommend your business to their friends and family, opening up even more revenue streams.
These and many more are compelling reasons to focus your strategy on building customer loyalty as a business owner. If you aren’t already thinking about how you can increase your customer loyalty, you should be.
And if loyalty is already part of your strategy, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips on improving your approach to customer loyalty with fresh, new tactics.
Customer Loyalty and Building Relationships
Customer loyalty is all about building relationships with your customers. You want your customers to get to know your business, and you want them to feel like you know them and understand their needs.
Research also shows that having a relationship with your customers is a key element to driving customer loyalty. The tactics we’ve put together here are all different ways in which you, as a business owner, can build new relationships with your customers and deepen existing ones.
10 Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty
1. Prioritise Customer Service
As a business owner, you already know that customers are at the heart of everything you do. You can demonstrate this to your customers by making excellent customer service a priority. This means training your staff to operate with best practices in mind and giving them the tools they need (such as a powerful CRM or help desk solution) to provide the best service possible.
This also means being proactive with customer service, by following up, offering to answer questions, and ensuring that their experience has been satisfactory and nothing is left undone. Going the extra mile for your customers is an important part of customer service. It shows your company truly exists to serve the customer, which is an approach that goes a long way towards building loyalty.
When you give your customers excellent customer service, you’re showing them that you care, and this will make people want to do business with you. Research reveals that 70% of consumers say that they choose companies that deliver great customer service.
So, by upgrading your approach to customer service, you’ll not only create more satisfied customers but also a greater number of loyal customers who want to do business with you again and again.
2. Put the Customer at the Heart of Your Social Media Strategy
Social media channels are a great way to connect directly with your customers, and you can use them in different ways. To share information, to solve problems (by replying to customers’ queries on social media) and even to entertain.
Using social media is a useful way to define your brand and make your company known for being a certain way. For example, is your company kind and thoughtful? Or is it cheerful and playful?
When you find your brand ‘voice’, you can use social media to amplify it to connect with your customers. Depending on your brand voice, you can use it to create content that will resonate with your customers.
By engaging with your audience on social media, you’ll learn more about them too. What types of people tend to follow your brand on social media? Are they from a particular region or a particular walk of life (e.g., corporate executives, parents, or teenagers)?
Social listening tools can be helpful here to identify audiences. When you identify who your customers are, you can use your unique brand voice to continue developing the type of content that will land best with them. This could mean producing funny memes to share, or offering regular live Q&A sessions on Instagram, for example.
Identifying ways to connect with your brand on social media will make your customers feel closer to the brand and build brand affinity. This, in turn, builds brand loyalty, especially given that 77% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media than one they do not. When customers like your brand and feel a sense of connection, they’re more likely to do business with it repeatedly.
3. Offer Customer Rewards
A great way to build customer loyalty is to reward your customers for their loyalty. You can do so by setting up a loyalty program that gives customers discounts, gifts and exclusive offers.
Rewards programmes work. 75% of consumers say they prefer to shop with companies that offer rewards. So, this is your opportunity to be creative with how you reward your customers. You can offer a traditional ‘punch-card’ discount, where a special voucher is given once a customer purchases a certain amount of product, or you can do something special, such as offering raffle tickets or free gifts.
There are numerous options for being creative with customer rewards, and by implementing such a programme, you’ll be letting customers know that their repeat business matters to you.
4. Gather Customer Feedback
The conversation you have with your customers is a two-way street. As a business, you can provide information, offer products and services, and be on point with customer service. While you do all of this, don’t overlook the importance of inviting your customers to offer their input. The feedback they give can be valuable in learning what your customers really think about your business and what they want and need from your business.
Taking on board this customer feedback and putting it into action is how you can show your customers that you care about their perspective and are committed to meeting it. In this way, you can improve the customer experience and create closer bonds with your customers. Both factors will lead to increased loyalty.
5. Make your Customers’ Lives Easier
When you make shopping easier and more convenient for your customers, they’re more likely to shop with you. For example, brands like Amazon have made it their mission to make shopping as easy as possible. Not only do they offer a vast selection, but the Amazon checkout process is extremely simple, often with just one click within the app.
In addition to making checkout easier, companies can make shopping itself easier by providing smart recommendations based on a customer’s browsing history or can offer reminders for re-ordering products, as well as notices of new product launches.
Essentially, you want to take the legwork out of researching the right products and then making it easy for them to purchase once they are ready to do so.
Taking the time to audit your processes to determine how you can make every step of the customer journey easier for your customers will win you their loyalty and make them come back again as they know they’ll always have an easy experience shopping with your business.
6. Connect with Your Customers Outside of Sales Transactions
A great way to build loyalty is to show your customers that you care about them outside of simply making sales transactions. Companies often host special events, such as customer appreciation days, special holiday events, or even charity events that contribute to a good cause. Or, you can create exciting experiences within your brick-and-mortar shop. Trainer brand Vans often offers a halfpipe in its shops, which skateboarding fans can use to practice, irrespective of whether they make a purchase or not.
By hosting events, your business can bring customers together to better connect with your team and get to know your brand. Events and activities also offer your customer a value-add that goes beyond purely shopping.
7. Create Valuable Content
Content is an ideal way to connect with consumers. With so much of it out there these days, you have many options for the type of content your business can create to connect with its customers. You can create email newsletters with useful links, engaging social media content, and useful videos showcasing ‘how-to’ tips.
By providing content that’s perhaps not directly related to just your products, but tangentially related to the industry your business is in, you can provide value for customers wishing to solve problems or improve their lives.
For example, Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal care ecommerce website, Goop, sells health and wellness products, but its e-newsletter isn’t used to showcase the products. Instead, it provides articles that feature interviews with dieticians and beauty experts, who provide helpful tips and tricks to Goop customers. This type of content adds value for customers by giving them useful insights. And because it is health and wellness themed, it’s aligned with the products Goop sells.
You can try a similar approach for your business by creating a creative content plan that will dazzle your customers and help them better connect with your brand. When customers feel an affinity with your brand, they’ll be more likely to stay loyal and continue to shop with you.
8. Share Your Company Values
These days, many companies are becoming increasingly values-led, aligning themselves with social causes like environmental activism and social justice. In a recent survey, 71% of consumers said they prefer to buy from companies aligned with their values.
Brands like Patagonia have been leaders in values-led commerce, wherein a specific set of social values guide the business decision making process. In particular, Patagonia, being a brand that sells outdoor gear and apparel, has focused on environmental sustainability, placing environmental initiatives at the core of its business. This has landed well with consumers, resulting in customer loyalty and a booming bottom line.
Other consumer products have taken similar approaches on social issues, which has resonated well with today’s globally aware consumers. Some companies have even applied for designation as ‘B Corps’, which shows a commitment to a sustainable business model.
Getting the messaging can be tricky because, of course, you always want to make sure your business is sincere and transparent in its values and commitments to causes. So, if you are ready to be truly committed, let your customers know! It can be a productive way to align your business with like-minded consumers who care about making a difference as they vote with their wallets.
9. Be Transparent
Consumers are savvy, and with the rise of social media, the consumer landscape is more public than ever before. This is why businesses need to be transparent about what they do, even when (and perhaps especially when) things do not go according to plan.
For example, in the past, a product issue might have been fixed quietly and swept under the rug. Today, doing so would generate backlash from consumers once it is inevitably found out.
These days, a better course of action is to be transparent about your business decisions, actions, and even shortcomings. Provide apologies where needed, but never try to cover up or hide information. Consumers will find out, so if your business is transparent about everything from the outset, you’ll find that customers will remain loyal and thank you for that transparency.
10. Create Communities
Owning a business isn’t just about selling; importantly, it’s also about building a brand that consumers trust, resonate with, and feel a part of.
You can do this by creating communities around your brand that bring people together and create brand affinity. Social media is a great way to do this by building communities.
Beauty brands like Deciem and Beauty Pie have created ‘members-only’ communities on Facebook, which interested people can join to discuss their favourite beauty products, upload pictures and share tips and tricks.
Similarly, other brands use YouTube to deliver helpful video content, invite users’ comments, or even invite users to submit their own videos relevant to the brand.
By inviting your customers to participate and giving them a virtual community to belong to, they’ll feel more connected to your brand and therefore become more loyal in the long term.
Whether your business is brand new or already has a strong foothold in the market, start building loyalty today. There’s no time like the present to improve your customer loyalty strategy.
When you put in the hard work to show your customers you care about them, they’ll reward you with their loyalty, which will save you continuously chasing new customers.
Remember, customer loyalty isn’t built overnight but the steps you take today will pay off over time. Book a demo to learn more about how eDesk can help your eCommerce business deliver an excellent customer experience every time.