5 Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty

Loyal customers are the backbone of your brand. One of the best ways to help your business grow is to establish a base line of constant, recognizable customers who can spread the word about your business to others. This phenomenon is why great customers who brag about your business and recommend it highly are called “brand advocates.”

Statistics show that acquiring new customers is five times more expensive than keeping old ones. Also, reducing the amount of customers who never return to your business by just five percent can increase your profits by 25-125 percent. These astounding figures show why loyal customers are one of the most valuable assets a brand could have.

To make your best customers happy and keep them raving about your business, try the following ways to increase customer loyalty :

 

1. Use a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are one of the most powerful tools for any business to have. They have progressed far beyond the simple punch card into sophisticated programs that can be tailored to suit your needs.

For instance, many programs now use points or tier systems to give your customers a sense of progress as they engage in repeat business with your brand. Customers become quite aware of their loyalty when they see that they have made it into a new level of your program — along with the very tangible rewards that come with it. Having a symbol of their customer status also creates a feeling of prestige and importance.

The most advanced programs, available from businesses like Digital Social Retail, offer even more powerful means to connect with customers in ways you have only dreamed of. You can combine loyalty programs with direct messaging, social media interaction and geo-positioning technology to offer unique deals tailored to a customer’s needs. Special beacons can activate in-store displays that use a customer’s loyalty data to make precision-targeted offers, fostering customer affinity and a sense of added value.

A loyalty program requires very little in startup costs, and as long as your rewards system is set up correctly the costs of promotions are offset by substantial increases in revenue. Many brands are surprised at how easy and fun it can be for them and their customers once they begin an addicting, exciting loyalty program.

 

2. Have Great Customer Service

Nothing can deter a lifelong customer faster than a bad experience. Have the resources to handle any problems a customer might have and emphasize how empathetic and adaptable you are.

Customer service is obviously something on many retailers’ radar, but they are often not doing enough to create a “Wow!” factor for customers who have an issue. Factors like no-questions-asked return policies, price matching and special “apology” offers for bad experiences can all turn a mistake into the highlight of a customer’s interaction with you.

Make sure your employees are well-trained to handle all of these tasks professionally. Many times a lack of investment in training or customer service procedures can turn a simple misunderstanding into a huge PR ordeal.

Also make sure to keep your staff focused on the little things, such as greeting customers and offering to assist them while they are browsing. Employees can sometimes get caught up in their own side work and not notice that a customer is struggling to find something. “How can I help you?” can be a powerful phrase for creating lifelong customers.

 

3. Make Your Brand Personable

People prefer to buy from other people rather than faceless companies. You can let this fact work to your advantage by putting a face on your brand. Make sure your customers know who owns the business and why the owner cares about providing a service to the community. You can also highlight your workers to let customers know that the person checking them out is not just some cashier, but “Jody who is studying biology and wants to become a doctor” or something similar.

An easy way to connect with your customers on this human level is to craft an engaging web presence. In addition to offers and updates, use your social media pages to post content that really grabs the interest of your customer base but does not constitute blatant advertising. Interact with your customers by asking their opinion on your products or helping them celebrate a holiday. Small factors like saying “Happy Valentine’s Day!” can create feelings of fondness and eventually loyalty towards your business.

 

4. Track Customer Data

Improving can be hard when you do not know what needs to be improved. There is so much technology out there for enhancing customer retention through analytics that ignoring it would be folly. New software solutions are available to that allow you to connect more powerfully with your customers.

Know exactly how many unique customers come through your door or visit your website. Find out how much they buy, what they buy and how often. Learn what drives them to make purchases, and try to find out who buys once and then disappears. Factors like these and many more can teach you how to become a better business and how to reach the customers who will love you the most.

More advanced methods include being able to track your customer’s activities while they are in the store. Retail beacon technology can see foot traffic patterns, including where customers usually head to after entering and what spots of the store are avoided.

Another important statistic beacons can reveal is how many previous customers simply walk past your doors without entering. Best of all, a beacon can send a message to customers like these with a special offer to entice them to come in instead of ignoring your business.

 

5. Be Consistent

Too often, a great business is marred by its “off days.” A customer who loves a product or experience is going to want to come back to get the same thing, not a poor substitute. Make sure to keep up with even the smallest details day-to-day to avoid backward progress. Good customer service can keep some people from running away, but others will be distraught that something has happened to the business they love and may never return again.

Avoid this danger by investing heavily in staff training and oversight. Use your analytical data to identify problem trends and act on them fast. An advanced CRM dashboard can help you with this task by giving all of your sales data for a period in an easy-to-digest presentation.

Another facet of consistency is in how you present your brand. Juggling several forms of communication like through social media, email, physical ads and in-store presentation can create the potential for dissonant messages to be sent to your customers. Technology solutions from new players in the field like Digital Social Retail can simplify your work to reach your customers with relevant and consistent messaging at every point in their shopping journey. A simplified dashboard and multi-platform messaging service make lockstep communication easy and effective.

Take advantage of technology like this to keep track of every cog and wheel in the well-oiled machine that is your operation. Some of the biggest brands on the planet were not built by having better products than their competitors, but by offering the exact same experience no matter what day of the week it is.

Use tactics like these to make your customers happy and coming back for more. For more information about using advanced tactics like analytics, multi-platform messaging or beacons, you can contact us for insight into helpful products that can take your business into the future of retail technology.

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