Customer loyalty can be a fickle thing. As Edgar Bronfman, Jr., U.S. business entrepreneur and billionaire, once said, “You need to look no further than Apple’s iPhone to see how fast brilliantly written software presented on a beautifully designed device with a spectacular user interface will throw all the accepted notions about pricing, billing platforms and brand loyalty right out the window.” It takes just a rival within your field of business to do something simply better than you do, and all the customer loyalty you have built up (and may have been taking for granted a little, even relying on it, in fact) will disappear quicker than ice-cream at a children’s party.
If you’re hoping this article is going to tell you how to stop that happening, how to keep all those valuable customers, it won’t. At least, we’re honest here. What this article will do, however, is enable you to build awesome customer relationships, brimming with loyalty on both sides, that, should a potential rival start flirting with one of you, they’ll politely but firmly be told, “Back off. I’m with him.” Or her. You get my point.
Roll Out the Red Carpet
Online shopping can be a boring chore sometimes. It’s like it’s always been there. These days, we take it for granted. See where we’re going here? Never, ever take your customers for granted. Always try to roll out that red carpet every time they visit your website. The “customer experience” has got to be top-notch, because that flirty rival is just a click away.
And it doesn’t just stop when they confirm their payment. Follow-up contact, an email or even a letter, goes a long way in establishing and building a loyal relationship. In fact, for many businesses, rewarding their repeat customers with a free, custom business journal is a top marketing strategy.
Make Your Reputation Sparkle
Word-of-mouth, one of the most powerful and influential tools in the online marketplace, spreads as quickly as the time it takes to write a tweet, whatsapp a friend or Facebook chat with your Mom. If it’s derisory, your reputation will start to lose its gloss; if it’s positive, that rep will start to sparkle (hopefully, brighter than the whites of your rival’s enticing smile).
Every business needs to look at how they are perceived by their target market, and most need to up their game in that respect. Did you know that a whopping 93% of consumers agree that a company’s rep, how honest and fair they appear, is important to them when making a purchase?
Why Did They Come Back?
It’s a simple question. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t even bother to find out the answer. Some even answer it themselves (and usually get it wrong in the process). You may think it’s because they purchased a discounted item, when it was, in fact, a recommendation from your Mom during one of your weekly Facebook chats together. If you know why your customers are returning, you can guide new customers to do the same.
Entice Them to Return Anyway
If you plan on having a sale, then do it. Not the sale – PLAN. Plan exactly what’s in it for the customer who buys more than one item, visits your site everyday of that sale, or recommends family and friends. Market your upcoming sale too. Master the world of social media. Send out invitations to those in your customer base, offer recommendations, just basically roll out the red carpet again.
Let them feel you’re expecting royalty. Just ensure those marketing social media posts and emails are relevant to your customers, and relevant to their purchasing history with you. You don’t want them thinking, “Oh, not more useless spam.”
What are They Doing?
Always stay in contact with your customers, and always collect data about them through analytics and cookies. Have you ever heard of heat map software? Heat-mapping your customer’s interactions with your website, its pages, and the links or buttons provided, will give you a great insight to their behavior. For example, you have a customer that only buys at weekends. Don’t send them a promo email on a Monday – send it out on the Friday, when they’re getting ready to spend anyway. Giving the customer what they want is important – giving it to them at the right time is more so.
So, there you have them: 5 ways to build customer loyalty and keep it, through rolling out the red carpet, shining up your reputation, knowing why they come back, enticement, and keeping track of them. Remember Junior’s quote at the beginning? It still applies.
So here’s another idea – keep evolving what you sell. That’s a lesson that Nokia learnt to their cost when Apple started giving the odd wink at their mobile customers. What’s your best advice concerning customer loyalty? Feel free to share with a comment below. So, lastly…. as my Mom often says in our Facebook chats, “Never forget what side your bread’s buttered.” As a business, that’s your repeat customers.