The Essential Guide to Building Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is one of those areas of business where the more you put in, the more you get back. It’s all about knowing the right techniques and taking the time to implement them in order for you to see maximum gain for your business. Customer loyalty is as it sounds, an ongoing positive relationship between a customer and your business, driving repeat sales and making your business the choice over a competitor company with similar benefits. So, how do we try to gain this loyalty? Let’s look at some different strategies you may wish to adopt going forward.

1. Communication is key. Though this may seem obvious, communication is often overlooked in business, which is crazy as this is your way of staying in the loop with your customers and their satisfaction. So what are we talking about specifically when we say communication? We’re talking about channels, finding the right place to communicate with your customers, where they will actually see it! Email We’ve seen it, we know it, we’re used to it. Email communication is a tried and true form of customer communication. However, email isn’t all about what you say to your customers, it’s also about what they want to say to you. Ensure you have simple inboxes which your customers can message should they have any questions or comments. Add the address within your marketing emails should they wish to reply. Remember, not everyone is on social media and depending on your demographic, email could be one of the best ways for you to communicate with your customers. Social media Not just for pretty pictures or latest offers, social media is quickly becoming the go-to communication tool for businesses. Social media is great for building a community around your business, showing off new products but also, and perhaps most importantly, it’s fantastic for customer service. Everyone can see how well you handle queries which builds trust with onlookers as well as customers. Ensure your posts have purpose and if you’re going to use social media, be on top of your notifications, no one wants to be left lingering in the comments section. Webchat Webchat is available on most ecommerce websites now as a free plugin, and it’s a fantastic tool to utilise. You can pre-fill in loads of FAQs which pop up as soon as someone gets to your website. Not only does this help with creating less messages for you to answer but you’re offering a level of customer service from the word go. If they can’t find what they need, they can just start a chat or open a ticket. It’s opening lines of communication and making it easier for your customers to get what they need fast. 2. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback Customer loyalty and reviews go hand in hand. There are so many touch points for you to ask your customers to leave a review for your business. Have you offered awesome customer service, via webchat, social media or email? Send a gentle request to ask for a review of your service, you could even add a link to your review site of choice. Maybe your customer is a repeat customer, there’s a reason why they’re coming back. Consider asking for a review in return for an incentive such as a discount. Not only will you receive awesome reviews which will look amazing to potential new customers but it may also give you an idea on where you can improve your service. 3. Make the buying process easier than ever

I’m sure if you had a friend or relative navigate your website they could see areas where using the website and buying a product could be easier and it’s such a good idea to get an outsider's perspective, after all, you know your website like the back of your hand. A great place to start in making a customer's journey simpler, is to store data. Consider adding a member’s section to your website so when a customer returns, all their information is ready to go so they can go straight to checking out. Nothing puts off a customer more than continuously having to fill in details every time they shop. 4. Create a loyalty scheme

We don’t know anyone who doesn’t like a deal and rewarding your customers for their loyalty will be appreciated massively. The world of loyalty schemes can be a little confusing so here are some simple ideas to get you started. - Spend based programs So a spend based program can simply be based on a yearly spend. So if your customer spends £250 a year you can offer free delivery on any orders plus a quarterly 10% discount, then if your customer spends over £500 a year, they could benefit from a voucher, free next day delivery and 20% discount quarterly. The options are endless as to what you offer. This kind of offer not only gives back to your higher spending customers but also gives other customers a reason to spend more.

- Points based programs

Think about Boots or Nectar as an example. Points based programs work on any scale so this is a good one to utilise, associate a number of points with spend and then reward your customers with money off vouchers or discounts in exchange for their points. Again, giving your customers an incentive to buy and a reason to buy certain products with you and not a competitor as they are being rewarded for doing so.

-Quantity based programs

With this program, think of coffee shop stamp cards. You purchase a number of coffees and get one for free. The same principle can be applied to shopping online. For example, after 5 purchases, get a certain percentage discount on the sixth purchase. This is an easy one to track and people like them as the incentive seems in reach.

-Membership programs

Lots of clothing and beauty companies have been adopting these programs lately, because they work. So the idea is, you charge your customer a certain amount annually, say £19.99 and they then receive unlimited free delivery (next day if you fancy), early access to sales and exclusive discounts. When delivery costs a certain amount and your customer is already thinking of buying more, these membership programs benefit both them and you in the long run. On the subject of deliveries, it’s incredibly important when building customer loyalty that what you are selling gets delivered. It’s definitely worth considering looking into goods in transit insurance, like offcourse to cover you against any loss or damage to a delivery that could end up leading to loss or damage to a relationship with your customer.

5. Offer unexpected discounts

People love being rewarded, especially when they haven’t had to do anything for it, so why not offer your customer discounts unexpectedly as a nice surprise in their inbox. Email over a payday discount for example or reward them on their birthday. People love receiving birthday rewards as it’s personalised to them which makes them feel appreciated!

So, there are five ways to get you started with customer loyalty. There are endless ways to show your customers that you appreciate their loyalty to your business and it really does help in retaining your customers for longer and making them feel special.

What do you do for your loyal customers?

Did we miss your favourite strategy?

Comment below and let us know.

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