Starting your own business is an impressive feat but making it successful is a whole other challenge of its own. One important factor in your business’ success is creating a loyal customer base. However, that might be easier said than done. While it’s not impossible, it does take some effort on your part.
If you’re just starting out, or are struggling with this common issue, here are 4 of the best ways to build customer loyalty for your small business.
Exceptional Customer Service
One thing is undeniable, customer expectations are higher than ever as businesses shift their focus to customer experience. They expect quick responses, positive interactions, and a customer-first attitude. A single bad experience with your website, sales associates, or product could be enough to turn off a customer forever. And, with review sites like Yelp, these experiences are easily shared and could dissuade other potential patrons from spending their money with you.
So, how do you keep your patrons happy and coming back? By giving them what they want, of course. Make sure that high-quality customer service is the standard, not the exception by investing in employee training and establishing this policy as part of the company’s culture. When it comes to shipping times, return policies, and even the shopping experience, make these decisions with your core customers in mind.
Your business’s reputation is more important than ever so make sure to take the time and resources necessary to make it the best it can be.
Make Clients Feel Special
It’s no secret that people like to feel appreciated and your customers are no different. A perfect way to build good relationships with clients is to do something nice for them during the holiday season or after a large purchase.
Sending holiday cards, dropping off goodies, or delivering corporate gifts like high-quality branded gift baskets are a popular way to show clients you appreciate their business. Not only is it a nice gesture that they can share with others, but they’ll remember your brand when it comes time to restock their products or the next time they need your services.
Establish a Rewards Program
Rewards programs are a key part of any customer loyalty strategy. While it might sound counterintuitive to offer discounts or freebies when you’re trying to generate more income for your business, it’s not. Customer loyalty programs encourage patrons to shop with you more frequently in order to cash-in on these incentives.
Most loyalty programs require customers to make a certain number of purchases or gradually earn points towards rewards. So, it can actually boost sales and build a strong recurring customer base. Just make sure that the reward you’re offering is worthwhile.
A final note on establishing a rewards program, if you’re trying to decide between a loyalty card or online tracking, you’re probably better off with the latter. For many consumers, especially younger buyers, cards aren’t ideal because they’re easy to lose and add bulk to their wallet (if they even have one). Instead, tracking purchases by having them enter their email at checkout or having your own app is much more likely to be successful.
Make Your Business Accessible
Social media is an essential tool for any small business that’s trying to boost their customer loyalty. However, it’s not enough to just have social media profiles, you need to be active and responsive. Today, authenticity is everything. If you want your small business to succeed, you need to show your customers that you’re there for them when they need. Whether it’s answering questions on the fly like whether you have space for a reservation that evening, listening to their concerns about a dissatisfying experience, or helping them find the right product for their needs.
On the same note, you should be open to customer feedback. When customers leave reviews or reach out to you with issues about your business, you should be willing to listen and make changes as needed instead of ignoring them or posting defensive responses. If your patrons see that you’re willing to improve your business based on customer needs, they’re more likely to shop with you again.
As you know, choosing how and where to spend your hard-earned money isn’t always an easy decision. But, you can make it easy for your customers by creating a business that caters to them and rewards them for their loyalty. In the end, it’s genuinely a win-win situation. When the customer’s happy, your business grows.