Gaining loyal customers in any environment is becoming more challenging as the competition gets tighter. There are many alternatives customers can choose if their expectations are not being met, which is why you should always search for new ways to understand your audience’s needs, stand out from your competition and provide an unforgettable brand experience.
And while you may question the need to spend resources retaining customers when you could be inviting new consumers to your brand, studies prove it can be much more costly to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones.
Fig. 1. Retention vs. acquisition costs
Fortunately, developing a loyal customer base to grow your business doesn’t have to be costly. Here are seven tips you can readily apply to retain more customers.
1. Prioritize service and customer experience.
Consumers believe that the quality of customer service they receive reflects how much companies value their patrons. If you want to have loyal customers, engage them and provide a memorable and exceptional customer experience. People are generally willing to pay more if they receive quality service over a cheaper option that serves an unsatisfactory experience.
In the event that a customer does receive poor service or poor product quality from your brand, you can redeem that bad experience by responding and resolving their problems immediately. By quickly attending to their needs, you’ll learn more about your customers and increase their trust in your brand.
2. Understand your customers more.
Understanding customers takes more than listing names, demographics and contact information. You must also consider unstructured information such as opinions, preferences, interests and suggestions to grasp their expectations from your brand.
Once you understand your audience better, you should start including personalization in your customer experience strategy. In fact, people are now more willing to offer some personal information in return for a better customer experience, so gathering interests and preferences from customers shouldn’t be too hard.
One way to learn from your customers is to regularly follow-up with them after a sale. Think long-term and establish your relationship by strengthening brand presence. Ask how they liked their purchase or service received, and what they would like to see change in the future.
Another way you can better understand your customers is through social media monitoring. By accessing instant notifications of any brand mentions and reviews, you can unlock key insights into what your customers really think about your brand and other similar products and services.
3. Maintain consistency.
Would you order from a restaurant knowing their food tastes different every time? Would you buy a detergent knowing every tab in the batch will vary in efficiency? Consistent quality is what keeps loyal customers from turning to other brands.
Customers continue to buy from the same brand because they can rely on their quality. They know that they’ll get the same desired effect every time they make a purchase. If you can provide what customers expect every time, you’ll make their lives easier, and they’ll love you for it.
4. Reward customer loyalty.
Show gratitude to those choosing your brand by offering a rewards program. This is effective in generating loyal customers, as it encourages return visits by offering discounts, freebies, gifts, and other exclusive perks.
5. Ask for customer feedback.
Businesses often dismiss customer feedback and shy away from responding to negative comments. It can be difficult to hear or read a poor review of your brand; however, receiving and responding well to feedback is one of the main ways to grow and improve your brand. Reviews and ratings offer insight into how your brand can better meet customer expectations and show that customers are willing to give your brand another chance to earn their loyalty.
Showing that you value what consumers have to say must be integral to your customer experience strategy. When you take action on reviews and individuals see improvements in your products, services and operations, customers will recognize your dedication to earning their business and will be more likely to return.
6. Increase convenience for customers.
Technology advancements allow business operations to increase convenience for customers, including offering contactless payment options and reducing the need to wait in line. Maximize what automation, mobile payment, social media and other advancements have to offer to streamline customer interactions and improve the customer experience.
Social media is one of the most accessible platforms customers use today. Ensure your brand has team members dedicated to responding to online customer inquiries and mentions of your brand, just as you would have customer service representatives answering telephone calls.
With contactless payments on the rise, your brand should enable mobile payments and other similar payment options, so customers don’t have to present cash or credit/debit cards. Not only does this improve operations and increase convenience, but it also encourages cleanliness and safety procedures for your brand.
Record and make use of conversation histories to better assist customers in future purchases. Use software that allows you to pull up records in an instant or obtain information about the customer in a matter of seconds.
Whatever method you use to increase convenience, always keep in mind transaction speed and simplicity for the consumer.
7. Provide value in any environment.
The value your business provides must exceed the simple use or functionality of the products or services purchased. Consumers factor in customer service, content creation, issue resolution, and the minute details that affect their overall experience in doing business with your brand.
People remain loyal to companies that provide value not only to their customers but also to charitable organizations and causes. Studies show that people offer their business to companies that engage in efforts contributing to society’s welfare over those who keep all profits to themselves.
Fig. 2. Preference of people in choosing a brand to support
Consumers will notice, though, if these charitable efforts are only part of the company’s marketing strategy. Authenticity affects brand recognition and reputation, as people will associate your charitable intentions with your services and product quality. When they see that you’re true to your mission to uplift the community, they will help you achieve it by offering their loyalty.
Increasing customer loyalty is the goal of every customer experience strategy in any environment for any brand. Loyal customers act as a pillar of support for company expansion, as they ensure a constant stream of business that can propel future products and services into the market.
To build a solid customer base, you must first understand the expectations and preferences of your consumers. You can do so through market research services such as social media monitoring and mystery shopping programs through experienced agencies like SeeLevel HX. We have 792,000 contract gig workers ready to help you identify key aspects of your business operations to improve in order to attain brand recognition and increase customer loyalty.
Ready to take action and build a solid customer base? Contact us to learn more.