Building customer loyalty is not a choice for businesses - it is the only way to build a long-term, sustainable, competitive advantage.
BUILDING customer loyalty is not a choice for businesses – it is the only way to build a long-term, sustainable, competitive advantage.
Building loyalty with key customers has become a core marketing objective for businesses looking to retain, maintain and expand their client base.
Be it online or offline, the experience your business offers a client can make or break the relationship.
Here are some tips to help businesses build customer loyalty.
• Create experiences worth talking about. Leave a lasting online or offline experience with the consumer.
Discuss topical issues that relate to your industry or business as well as engaging with key customers and potential customers. Offering helpful how-to’s and tips related to your industry will reinforce the value your business provides.
Make a good impression by delivering a solid product with excellent service every time a customer interacts with the business. It may pay you to think of each interaction as a defining moment that will determine whether a customer comes back or tries a competitor instead. According to Customer Service Manager, an e-magazine for customer service professionals, a 5 per cent increase in customer retention can boost profit by between 25 per cent and 125 per cent.
• Stay in touch after the sale – without being annoying.
After your customer purchases a product or service, follow up in a friendly manner and demonstrate genuine care about their experience. If you want to build a lifelong customer, get to know them and maintain contact.
Share important information about your industry, community, and customers on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Spread the word about local news and events and comment on customers’ status updates. When communicating on behalf of the company, stick to a light, up-beat tone and topic. Always ensure you triple-check what has been written before you press the send button. Too often businesses make spelling mistakes or typos that reflect poorly on the brand.
When entering customer details into a database, be sure to track birthdays, anniversaries or other relevant information that would be appropriate to celebrate. This gives an opportunity to mail an occasion card or offer a special discount. According to TARP, the world’s premier customer experience agency, 68 per cent of customer defection takes place because customers feel poorly treated.
• Reward loyalty.
Customers know they have a choice when it comes to purchasing goods and services, so find ways to thank them for choosing you.
Highlight a customer of the month by asking them if they would like to be featured on your social media pages and receive further rewards.
Customer loyalty programs rewarding repeat purchases with discount or additional offerings is a good way to ensure customers feel that they are rewarded for choosing you.
• Get involved in your community.
Support your local community where possible. Your customers will appreciate that they are purchasing from a company that is willing to donate their time and money to charitable causes.
Highlight the activities the business is involved in your local community by promoting it with stories, pictures and videos across your social media pages. Let people know where you are, what you are doing and why it is important.
Host special events at your business for local committees, sponsor a local team or donate time by volunteering for non-profit organisations. Choose activities and affiliations you are proud to align your company with.
Conventional wisdom costs between five and eight times as much to acquire new customers than to hold on to existing ones. Tactics that helps build customer relationships can deliver long-term benefits.
Steven Prestidge is general manager of ReachLocal Australia, which offers a suite of online marketing solutions targeted to the SME market.
Contact Steven through the website www.reachlocal.com.au