How can you build customer loyalty?
Every business owner knows that it's not just new customers that will bring the money in, it's also the returning ones. In fact, you may end up finding that loyal customers are the ones bringing in most of the work. So how can you change a customer from a one off to brand loyal?
Make every customer feel special
This is where your customer service needs to shine. As a small business you may feel overwhelmed at the idea of rewarding customers. However, you don't to dive straight into loyalty schemes. In fact there are some simple things that you can do in order to show that you remember your customers, little things like remembering their name and what their interests are, their personality traits and their key purchases. When they come to you to buy something greet them as Mr. or Mrs. Surname and tell them about any special offers you have on for things you know they buy regularly. By talking to them and pointing out offers it can make them feel special that you remembered them, especially if the offers relates to a previous purchase.
When you feel ready, then by all means set up a loyalty scheme. Even something as small as a free gift for their 100th purchase. Or something similar to the Nectar scheme or Tesco Clubcard where they scan a card each time they make a purchase and you can send personalised offers for items that they buy regularly.
Get your customers involved
We don't mean consult on the day-to-day running of your business, we're talking about community events and coffee mornings. A day where you can hear your customer's views about your business and ask if they would like to see any improvement. Also consider having an anonymous suggestion box in your place of work, so that customers who don't want to voice their opinions to your face can still make their ideas heard.
This is also a good way to see what you can do in order to ensure loyalty from customers, whether this is to reduce prices for some of your items or to have a website so that customers can order from home. The more you can do for customers in order to prove you are listening to them, the more likely they are to appreciate your business.
If you haven't already, consider setting up a social media page for your business. Not only will this help share your latest offers, but it allows you to see how people interact with your brand and they could even send you their opinion on there too.
Improving customer experience
Realising what you can do in order to make your customers happy and improve their experience is a great way to build loyalty. But what can you do in order to make sure customers are happy when they visit your company? It can be little things such as making sure you always have crucial items in stock, being reliable with your service (e.g. if you say to a customer that their item will be in by Friday don't call them up on Friday and say that it's been delayed; make sure it is there by Friday at the latest), and make sure that work carried out is of a high quality. But another way of ensuring this that you may not have thought of, is to appear as though you are an expert in your industry.
Appearing as though you're an expert can entail knowing the products inside and out, having experience in your industry and being able to give advice when asked. This shows that you are happy to help your customer at no cost to them. This can make them feel as though you're not just in it for the money, unlike some of your competitors. Think about the most common queries that customers may ask you, and ensure you're clued up on these topics.
When your business is dealing with customers, whether they are individuals or other businesses, you need to keep them happy in order to build loyalty to your brand and keep them coming back to you. Hopefully this post has helped you gain an understanding of how this can be achieved, even when your business is still small and looking to grow.