It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. This is why customer loyalty is a major key to success in every business. Growing businesses tend to spend so much of their time and money acquiring new customers that they often overlook their best source of growth: retaining and growing their existing customer base.
Here are ten ways to build customer loyalty with your existing customer base:
1. Handwritten, personalized thank you cards. New clients will love and appreciate the fact that you took the time to write a heartfelt thank you card, welcoming them as a customer. It is a great gesture and sets a great tone going into a new business relationship. It’s a simple thing to do for 85 cents.
2. First mover advantage. Make yourself stand out by always being the first to follow-up! Many times, customers will request information from several companies that do the same thing you do. Customers will have a very positive impression of your company if you are the first to respond and provide the best information.
3. Be accessible. In 2016, people want things done quickly. With so many ways to get in touch, customers expect to reach somebody in a timely manner. So whether you offer phone, email, chat, social media, or forum support, make sure you have a system in place to stay on top of all of your points of contact and put yourself in a position to respond quickly and efficiently to all inquiries coming from your existing customers.
4. Make it fun. Create a culture where your customers enjoy talking to you while their receiving a great customer service experience. Add in a little humour and communicate with your customer as if they are a friend, family member or teammate. These are great traits for building a great, personal relationship with your customer. Don’t be afraid to publicize you and your employees having fun. One way to do this is to make a holiday video where everyone is dressed up and participating in a fun activity. You can also go on a charity walk, make matching silly shirts and share photos online. People are more likely to be loyal customers when they feel like their dealing with humans instead of robots.
5. Be honest. It’s almost impossible to ensure that every customer has a “wow” experience. The most important thing is how you deal with mistakes or oversights when they happen. Every mistake is an opportunity to solve a problem and turn the situation into a positive outcome. If your company makes a mistake, take full ownership of it, apologize and go above and beyond to make things right. Customer loyalty often comes from the belief that you will always be there for them and do the best you can, even when the situation is not perfect.
6. Under-promise and over-deliver. Set the right expectations from the beginning. Don’t set yourself up for failure or disappointment by promising a customer everything under the sun when you know it’s not realistic to deliver. If you set realistic, achievable expectations, and then you go above and beyond and give the customer more than they were expecting, they will always be super impressed and become more loyal to you and your company.
7. Support a good cause. In today’s landscape, helping nonprofit organizations and giving back to your community is crucial in creating loyal customers. Many people want to support local business and local causes. Giving back doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to contribute to an organization financially. If you offer a service that an organization can use to further their cause, donate your time and services and publicize it on your website and social media platforms.
8. Pay it forward. Helping others get what they want will allow you to get what you want tenfold. Keep your mind open to different ways that you can help your customers. It could be as simple as sharing a service or product page on their website, or retweeting their tweets. You can go even further in some cases by doing business with them if they offer services or products that you can actually use. Also, take any opportunity you can to refer customers to their business when you’re talking to friends, family, colleagues or other clients. Make sure that they know you referred them!
9. Offer a 100% moneyback guarantee. When customers know that they can buy your products or services with a guarantee, they feel more secure and safe when they purchase from you. When they feel safe, they will begin to trust your brand and the products that you’re selling. Trust is a huge factor in developing loyal customers.
10. Embrace innovation. Technology changes quickly as well as peoples’ needs. By constantly soliciting feedback from customers and listening to them in order to develop new features and products, you will show that you are passionate about your business and want to make it even better all the time. This puts a positive spin on your brand and continues to build trust that your company will be there ten years from now with the best service and features.
There are many things you can do to build great customer loyalty. Choose the tactics that work best for you and your company, and can be realistically executed, and get to work!