No Products in the Cart
5 Strategies to Increase Customer Loyalty
Here’s a sobering statistic. According to Semrush, in any given interaction, the chance that you’ll make a sale with an existing customer is between 60% and 70%. Having that same interaction with a new customer drops the probability of a sale down to between 5% to 20%. On average then, you’re five times more likely to make a sale to an existing customer. These facts dramatically illustrate the value of customer loyalty and retention. As the old saying goes (sort of) — a customer in the hand is worth five in the bush.
Loyal customers are far less susceptible to churn compared to new customers. They’re fans, which means it would take effort on your part to get them to STOP coming to your store. Compare that to new customers who require effort just to get them to show up once. As a result, anything you can do to increase customer loyalty translates directly to greater sales volumes and a healthier bottom line.
Thankfully, increasing customer loyalty is possible for any business. All that’s required are sound strategies and a commitment to following through with them. Below you’ll find five tactics you can use to build the kinds of customer relationships that drive retention. Once you put them into practice, you’ll come to understand why customer retention is just as necessary as acquisition.
SEE ALSO: Why Competition Is a Good Thing
OFFER STELLAR CUSTOMER SERVICE
Why do people say, “There’s no place like home”? Because more often than not, your family loves and accepts you unconditionally. You feel cared for at home, and you know that your best interests will be looked after. This treatment inspires lifelong, unshakeable loyalty.
Businesses can benefit by creating a similarly supportive environment. Strong customer service is mentioned almost universally as the most crucial factor in customer loyalty. According to a Microsoft report, a full 96% of consumers become loyal customers with brands that provide superb support.
But what does this mean in practice? In general, good customer service makes it easy for your customers to do business with you. When they have problems that interfere with your relationship, you should solve them, quickly. If they’re having a hard time finding information, locating products, or making a purchase, do whatever it takes to restore efficiencies. Just make their lives easier and they’ll reward you with their business.
Customer service and customer care are synonymous because good customer service starts with a caring mentality. In the same way that your family would bend over backward to ensure you a happy, fruitful life, a business that offers great customer service demonstrates that it cares deeply for its customers — and your reward will be their undying loyalty.
INSPIRE DEVOTION WITH CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAMS
Customer loyalty programs help cultivate strong relationships because they offer rewards for frequent and consistent business. Social scientists will tell you that the two most efficient ways to motivate behavior are sticks and carrots. You use the metaphorical stick to punish unwanted actions and provide carrots to incent positive actions.
In this case, sticks have no place — a coffee shop wouldn’t want to punish its customers for not buying a latte, for example. But offering rewards for continued loyalty is a powerful strategy. The same coffee shop might hand out punchcards good for free beverages once completed. Ecommerce stores might tally up points each time a customer makes a purchase, points used for discounts on future purchases.
Customer loyalty programs work for two reasons. First, people like to get free stuff, and the prospect is enough to keep them coming in. Second, these programs create a gamified experience that draws people in and makes them want to participate. You can imagine someone stopping for coffee even if they weren’t planning to, simply because it would complete their punchcard.
SEE ALSO: How to Build a Business without PPC
CONVERT TO A SUBSCRIPTION MODEL
People generally take the path of least resistance (they don’t like to work hard.) It might be difficult to sell someone on your product or service, but once sold, they’re less likely to stop purchasing if the product simply arrives on a weekly or monthly basis. Why? Because it takes effort to cancel the subscription, but it’s easy to accept deliveries.
Subscription models inspire loyalty by making it significantly easier for customers to keep purchasing your products and harder for them to stop. Subscriptions offer convenience to customers and predictable, regular income to businesses. If you sell products, make it easy for customers to sign up for regular deliveries. If it’s a service you offer, you should consider a retainer model. Once customers spend money with you, they’re locked in until you provide the promised value in return. Then the next month repeats the same pattern, creating loyalty.
LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
Not sure what you need to do to win your customers undying support? Why not ask them? They have a vested interest in finding businesses that cater to their preferences. If you ask them what they want or what you might improve, they’ll be happy to tell you.
Starting a conversation with your customers is the most direct way to getting valuable customer feedback. You might also send out customer surveys periodically. Ask customers what they like about your company, what needs improvement, and why they choose to remain.
Of course, feedback is only useful if you apply it to your business, so pair listening with action. Stay in communication with your customers and let them know what you’re working on. Mention customer suggestions and then detail your plans for integrating them into your business. Your customer relationships will deepen when they see how much you value their feedback.
SEE ALSO: How to Incorporate Empathy Into Sales
KEEP IN TOUCH
Customer loyalty programs offer incentives for customers to keep their business with you, but without a relationship to serve as a foundation, your efforts might fizzle. That’s because most every company has a loyalty program. What’s your incentive to get your coffee from Shop A if you can earn rewards from Shop B and C, too? The fact is that you’ll get punished if you don’t have a customer loyalty program, but having one alone isn’t always enough.
You also need to stay in contact with your customers. That means sending out email newsletters, interacting with customers on social media, being personable in your store, on the phone, or inside an online chat. You might also send out automated, handwritten thank you letters on an occasional basis. Simply Noted makes this easy with our fleet of handwriting robots. They use smart fonts and real ballpoint pens to create an unparalleled handwritten card experience.
Staying in touch with your customers creates a connection. And solid relationships are the ultimate driver of customer loyalty and retention. If customers have a reward card for coffee shops A, B, and C, they’ll buy from the one they like the most. So cultivate meaningful relationships with your customers. They’ll reward you with repeat business.