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Growing customer loyalty is essential to building a profitable and sustainable business. Loyalty gives your business resistance to competition, customer advocacy, and greater engagement. As small and medium-sized companies, growing your business with existing customers – including developing loyalty programs and new products and services designed around their needs – should be a top marketing priority. Just consider these statistics:
When you focus on building customer loyalty, you also improve your customer’s experience. You create a better business, designed to drive brand evangelism among customers and new business through word of mouth, not to mention multiplying cycles of repeat purchases. On the other hand, businesses that don’t create an experience that makes customers want to return are doomed to stagnate. That won’t be your business – not with these easy strategies for boosting customer loyalty:
The more a customer shops with your company, the more rewards they receive including free merchandise, advanced access to products, or price discounts. The best way to structure a rewards card program is to look at your purchasing data in tiers. Think about what could incentivize customers to move into the next tier. For example, a bagel shop with 80% of its customers in tier 1 (purchasing $50 or less per month and $6.99 or less per order) could start by testing FREE coffee with every $7 purchase.
If you are lacking in customer data, a rewards card program can help you to capture contact information including email addresses, names, and phone numbers so that you can track this data with customer relationship management (CRM) software. Customers are willing to do this; in fact, 87% of Americans are willing to have details of their activity with your business tracked in exchange for personalized rewards. The rewards card and points system that accompany it provide incentive for customers to share their information, so that you can keep in touch and drive them in with additional specials as well. Just sign up customers on your point-of-sale system to get started.
You can have scannable digital loyalty cards, an app, or old fashioned print punch cards created, depending on your budget. Apps offer other loyalty marketing features including points delivered by SMS, digital check-ins, and app notifications (which can even target customers within a geographic vicinity).
If you don’t have a strong presence on social media, start with Facebook. Consider these statistics:
Facebook is a social engagement platform; it allows you to build a brand that means something more to your customers than just a physical location to buy goods, or a necessary service. It allows you to associate positive emotions and feelings with your customer experience. Establish your profile, use in-store marketing and signage to get customers to like and follow you for special offers. With your new fan base, use videos, photos, graphics, and copy. Share customer stories, talk about the values of your employees, and to provide valuable information and offers your customers will not only enjoy, but want to share with others. Ask open-ended or multiple choice questions. Foster a sense of community and support for one another. Solicit customer feedback on your new products, services, and programs. Engage your fans with a spirit of passion, humor, and fun, depending on the qualities you want them to associate with your brand.
It’s no secret and no surprise that many of today’s best-loved brands have a superior customer experience, highlighted by exceptional customer service. The staffs of these companies are trained to connect with customers and to make customers feel like they are treated far better than by their competitors. It starts with hiring customer-facing personnel who are naturally sociable and kind, and training them to think and communicate proactively, anticipating customer needs.
You don’t have to be a corporation to build big brand customer loyalty. All it really takes is thinking about your best experiences as a consumer, and applying these strategies to improving your customer experience.
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About the Author