Although attracting new customers is essential to any company's expansion, repeat business from loyal customers is what ultimately ensures a brand's continued success. As modern markets become more saturated and shoppers become more price-conscious, it is more crucial than ever to cultivate customer loyalty.
'Over 82% of businesses acknowledge that keeping existing customers is more cost-effective than finding new ones"
This demonstrates the significance of focusing on customer retention as much as new customer acquisition, and maintaining customer loyalty is at the core of this effort.
Here, we outline some of the most effective customer loyalty strategies that brands can use to keep their customers coming back for more. We'll go over everything that's crucial for any customer success team or marketing department to try right now, from leveraging customer loyalty programmes to personalisation.
Why Should You Invest in Customer Loyalty?
In today’s competitive marketplace, customers have more choices than ever about who they shop with. If customers don’t get the kind of treatment they expect from you, it is so easy for them to switch and shop with your competitor. Therefore, you must create a lasting impression with your customers (via high-engagement techniques like loyalty programmes) to ensure they’re loyal to your business and continue to shop with you.
Compared to the cost of acquiring a new customer, which can be five to twenty-five times higher, selling to existing customers is one of the most efficient means by which a brand can boost its return on investment. These costs can include advertising and promotions, sales representatives' time, opening new account records, and various other administrative costs.
Therefore, from a financial perspective, it makes a lot of sense to focus your efforts on retaining your customers and creating a tribe of loyal customers. Of course, acquiring new customers is important for business growth, but why spend all the effort acquiring them just to let them slip through your fingers after one sale?
"As much as 65% of a company's revenue comes from repeat and referral business"
What’s more, your loyal customers will provide free marketing through word-of-mouth when they tell others of the great experience they had with your business.
Customer Loyalty Strategies: How Can You Boost Customer Loyalty for Your Business?
Customers are more likely to make repeat purchases if they have confidence in your brand and believe that you will continue to provide excellent value and service, meaning brand loyalty is about more than pricing and availability.
Here are some proven strategies to help you boost customer loyalty:
1. Connect with your customers
When customers see you as more than just another logo, they are more likely to do business with you. Sharing the core values that guide and define your company is a great way to build trust and establish your brand's authenticity.
People are more likely to become loyal to your brand if they feel connected to it on a personal level.
"Treating customers as individuals rather than wallets is essential to running a prosperous business. Specifically, 62% of shoppers say they are more likely to return to a brand that individualises transactions"
Get to know them on a personal level by learning their names, anniversaries, preferred products, and other relevant details. Modern technology makes this easier than ever before, so make good use of it.
Over 58% of businesses use personalisation tactics to maintain high customer retention rates. Tailor the message to what you know will interest them the most.
Social media platforms are also a critical component of any modern business’s marketing strategy. Not only do social media platforms offer exceptionally powerful targeting features, but they’re also an excellent way of developing an online community of loyal followers. As a result, there are lots of good reasons to maintain a social media presence and an active profile. Still, while businesses are generally aware of many of these, numerous benefits are frequently overlooked.
Your social media profiles can be used as a digital meeting place for your customers to have discussions and provide feedback, both of which can be invaluable. Anything you can do to help foster a genuine sense of community among your customers will encourage these discussions and the valuable content they can generate.
2. Customer loyalty programmes
One of the best ways to keep customers coming back is to reward them for their loyalty.
Loyalty programmes are effective because customers want to feel appreciated. After all, they can choose to spend their money anywhere, and if they’ve chosen to shop with a specific company, they want to feel as though they’re valued. By rewarding loyal customers, not only will they feel appreciated, but they’ll also be more likely to return to shop with you in the future, helping to maintain customer loyalty.
Programmes designed to reward customers need to offer something truly special to succeed over time. Brands that promise loyal customers a special discount only to reveal that new customers can get the same deal are likely to lose those customers' loyalty and business.
You can invite customers to subscribe to a loyalty programme, let them earn points as they spend, or let them move up in tiers over time. No matter what method you use, the incentives you offer must be truly beneficial to your target audience.
Value based loyalty: You can also leverage this approach to boost your charitable efforts and win your customers' trust. Giving back to the community and raising awareness for a good cause can be accomplished by informing customers that a certain percentage of the revenue they generate will be donated to a specific charity.
3. Make customer service a priority
One of the most crucial steps you can take to ensure loyalty among your customer base is to make customer service central to your overall business strategy.
By striving to provide your customers with the best possible service during every interaction, you will keep your audience happy and remind them why they chose your brand in the first place.
The customer experience begins from the moment someone first encounters your brand, so you need to ensure they have a positive experience from the moment they first encounter you.
Consumers today expect a much higher level of customer service than they did in the past. Expectations have changed for numerous reasons, but a big part of it is that digital communications have significantly improved response times, as well making it quicker to engage with customer service departments, to begin with.
Modern consumers are more likely to abandon your brand for a competitor on the basis of even a single poor customer service experience. Maintaining excellent standards of customer service is essential to creating customer loyalty.
"93% of customers are likely to make a repeat purchase with companies that offer excellent customer service"
We can all think of a time that we were impressed with the level of customer service we received from a company, just as we’ll be able to remember a time we were treated poorly.
The chances are you haven’t gone back to shop with the latter, right?
Customers remember when they’re treated well, and they also remember when they receive bad customer service. In either case, the majority of people will tell their family or friends about it, which can either mean more business for you or a lost business opportunity.
"77% of customers would recommend a brand to a friend after having a single positive experience!"
4. Be open to feedback
One of the best ways to increase customer satisfaction, retention, and keep them loyal is to actively seek out their feedback. To learn more about how to improve your customer service, try sending out surveys, making requests via phone calls, and monitoring your ratings.
Responses to customer feedback—positive and negative—can be made in online reviews, tags, and comments on social media and online forums. This will demonstrate to your clientele that you value their feedback and are open to constructive criticism about how you can improve your services.
The best way to handle unfavourable feedback is often behind closed doors. You can better meet their needs by moving the conversation to a private channel after responding to an especially negative comment.
When customers leave positive comments, it's a good idea to ask if you can feature their message. To maximise the benefits of the rave review, you could even propose a follow-up interview. It's also a good idea to offer rewards to your customers when they've provided valuable feedback.
Listening to and acting on the suggestions from your customers will make them feel appreciated and that they are valued as customers. This positive feeling will often lead to a sense of loyalty to your organisation.
5. Communicate with your customers
Communication is key in pretty much every area of life, and business is no exception! Frequent communication with your customers keeps you fresh in their minds and makes them more likely to think of you when they’re looking for a product or service that you offer.
Take the time to set up a database with all the contact information you need for your customers. You can then send them friendly reminders or even monthly newsletters.
Good communication is a vital part of providing excellent customer service, which in turn helps to maintain customer loyalty.
It’s also really important to make it easy for your customers to contact you if they have any questions or issues. Social media is a great way of ensuring this since it’s really easy to access and so widely used by most people nowadays! However, keep in mind that communications across social media are more effective if you limit how many of them are sales messages.
6. Optimise the customer onboarding experience
Make sure your onboarding process runs smoothly so that you can make a great first impression on your customers when they make their first purchase.
Customer service slip-ups like the misuse of information or the absence of a clear point of contact to guide new customers will be remembered by those customers for a long time. Even if your company can quickly resolve the customer's complaints, the experience may have already soured the relationship.
Always remember that the success of the onboarding programme itself is just as important as providing excellent customer service to new customers.
7. Provide targeted discounted offers
Modern analytics tools enable retailers to offer price cuts on repeat purchases and complementary items. It could be a student's or senior's discount.
Offering a special discount is a fantastic way to show appreciation for their business and goes a long way in helping you to retain these customer groups.
Loyalty and rewards programmes that offer personalised incentives and a unique customer experience is one best ways of building a loyal customer base. These rewards programmes are a powerful tool for attracting new customers who are looking for a brand that rewards their dedication, while adding to a business’ value proposition.
8. Invest in partnerships
Providing extra value for customers is another way to show gratitude for their business. Partnership marketing or brand-to-brand partnerships can increase your visibility in untapped markets and give your current customers more value from your relationship. This can be done through offering your audience rewards, incentives and special offers from your carefully selected partners.
If you run a marketing campaign with a partner brand that already has access to your target audience, you can scale your outreach efforts at little cost and give customers another reason to pick you over the competition.
9. Find your unique value proposition
A unique value proposition or differentiating factor is vital for business sustainability. Knowing your audience and finding out what motivates them to buy enables you to build a relationship, which will help define your value proposition.
Consider what you stand for and believe in as a brand, and identify what makes you different from your competitors. Why would a customer buy your product? What value can you provide that your competition can't?
Providing a product or service that customers view as superior and unique to the competition is tricky but ultimately rewarding.
10. Provide flexible payment options
Certain brands run seasonal businesses and, as a result, experience cash flow problems at specific times during the year.
A winter-wear boutique, for instance, would do well during the winter but suffer during the summer months. Situations like this underline the importance of devising a payment plan that encourages sales. One approach is that customers could start shopping in the summer and pay off their purchases in increments over the period leading up to the winter.
Customers will benefit from the more flexible instalment payments, and the business benefits from the influx of cash during a traditionally slow period. Sales can increase significantly as a result of satisfied customers telling their friends about the special payment offer.
Boost Customer Retention with a Loyalty Programme
A well-thought-out customer loyalty marketing strategy is the cornerstone of maintaining customer loyalty and boosting customer retention.
Powerful strategies like launching a customer loyalty programme or forming partnerships with relevant brands can help you give your customers an experience they won't forget in a hurry. Customers who have a positive experience with your business will tell others about it and become loyal to your brand.