When was the last time you saw a customer making the efforts to find an alternative for your brand?
Well, that use to be the case ages ago!
One bad experience is what your competitors wait for you to build. That’s because 4 out of 10 consumers end up sharing their experience with others, recommending them to not to buy from your brand. So, you not only lose that one customer but four more!
Now, that being said, this deluge of too many options can also prove to be an exhausting process of exploration at one point. Due to this, a lot of buyers stick around as regular customers happily. That’s because companies are willing to go above and beyond by creating a fantastic experience. Thus, taking care of people who buy from you is the most bankable way to retain customers.
What is Customer Loyalty?
Before thinking about ways to build a pool of loyal customers, it is important to understand what this ‘loyalty’ means in true earnest. It may seem like a no-brainer – customer loyalty means having a pool of buyers who return to your business, time and again, to make new or repeat purchases. But does customer loyalty simply manifest itself on the sales chart?
While sales are an important aspect of this customer-business relationship, true customer loyalty is reflected in the personal connection that people share with a brand. When your buyers turn into self-appointed brand advocates and are willing to stand by you through thick and thin, that’s when a loyal customer base has truly been established.
Why is Customer Loyalty Important?
If the buying options are expanding, so will the customer base in every market vertical. Why is it so important to retain customers who feel a certain loyalty toward your brand? These statistics have the answer-
- Attracting a new customer costs five times more than retaining an existing one.
- Almost 68 percent of customers who leave brands lament about being upset with the way they have been treated.
- Loyal customers are worth at least ten times more as compared to those making their first purchase.
- At least 48 percent of customers tell 10 or more people about a negative shopping experience.
- More than 80 percent of tweets related to customer service are critical of the business in question, and they expect a resolution of their issues within the hour, if not instantaneously.
5 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty
These statistics make this abundantly clear – not being able to cultivate loyal customers can cost businesses dearly and on many different levels. While competitive pricing and high-quality products are essential to a satisfying shopping experience, customer support is integral as a sort of a way to build customer loyalty.
According to Consumer Reports surveys, 91 percent of the customers are unwilling to deal with a brand again if their first shopping experience was botched up by sub-par support services. What’s more, two out of three customers have, at some point, walked out of a store if the customer service was not up to the mark. This willingness to abandon is even higher when customers are connecting with your brand over phone or email.
If you ever feel like your sales team is losing control over the process of guiding customers through a purchase, the underlying reason may well be the quality of customer support. However, you can correct that trend with the right approach and strategies.
Here’s how to achieve customer satisfaction and establish brand loyalty:
Get to Know Your Customers
Communicating with customers helps you get to know them better – what are their needs, demographics, satisfaction levels, and so on. This, in turn, facilitates a more targeted service. It is, therefore, important for brands to find ways to communicate with regular customers.
You can do this by interacting with them on social media platforms, asking questions, responding to their queries, and comments. Doing so creates a connection that paves the path towards brand loyalty consistently.
Focus on Quality Customer Service
Providing good customer service is non-negotiable if you want to build a loyal customer base. Nothing matters more to buyers than the assurance that a business provides when they are buying from them. Adding a human touch to your customer service operations is a great way to achieve that.
More and more online stores and business websites today rely intensively on live chat for customer service for this very reason. That’s because it perfectly blends responsiveness and the element of human touch.
When buyers’ queries or issues get resolved promptly and efficiently, they do not feel the need to look for alternatives.
Little Rewards Go a Long Way
Everyone loves freebies, and that’s why most successful brands invest heavily in loyal customer programs. These can range from
- Special discount on making a repeat purchase within a specified amount of time
- Giving credit points on next purchase,
- Adding rewards for every purchase so that these can be redeemed once accumulated
Such loyal customer programs allow a brand to keep its existing customers engaged and encourages them to keep returning for the next purchase.
When you incentivize purchases, you give your buyers a reason to come back. That is a great way to cultivate customers as brand advocates.
Honesty is the foundation of trust, and trust the foundation of loyalty. To build a credible image, brands must not hesitate when it comes to admitting mistakes. If some inadvertent error has affected your customers in any manner, it is best to be upfront about it. Offer a humble apology and make amends. You don’t have to build yourself up as infallible.
In fact, in admitting your mistakes, you are letting your customers feel the human side of your business, allowing them to empathize with you.
Honesty, trust, empathy – these are the basic tenets on which lasting customer relationships rest.
Don’t Promise What You Cannot Deliver
Be it the quality of products, the results expected of a product, delivery dates, or resolution of issues – do not promise what you cannot deliver. A lot of times, businesses tend to get over-zealous in their promises to appease their buyers. But nothing is damaging your efforts to create a loyal customer base than mismanaged expectancy.
There are many different approaches and ways to build customer loyalty. The effectiveness of your efforts boils down to a consistent commitment to take care of your customers. Your aim should be to build mutually beneficial relationships that make your customer base invested in your brand.
As long as brands are conscious of the fact that the objective of customer loyalty goes beyond spiking up sales, they can cultivate loyal customers who are happy to spend.
This is a guest post by Jason Grills. Jason Grills is a technical writer currently associated with ProProfs Chat. He enjoys writing about emerging customer support products, trends in customer support industry and the financial impacts of using such tools. In his spare time, Jason likes traveling extensively to learn about new cultures and traditions.
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