Ensuring you have a long-term plan to earn and reward customer loyalty can make the difference in your small business.
Loyalty might not be the thing that new businesses think of straight away, but the way you handle your relationship with customers should be at the forefront of your business strategy.
Jeff Bezos from Amazon was quoted saying: ‘It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.’ This can be incorporated in huge multinational businesses down to the sole trader – it’s that important.
Loyalty is cost-efficient
One of the things about gaining a new customer is that it sometimes costs six or seven times more that retaining a current one. You also need at least 10 positive reviews of your brand to counteract a single negative. So if you want to focus on your bottom line, implementing a good customer retention strategy is a great way to start.
Rewarding the loyalty
1. Provide excellent customer service
Having an excellent customer service team is key for promoting customer loyalty. If your customers are able to speak to a real person, without being put on hold for hours and their problems can be addressed quickly, you are on to a winner.
2. The loyalty card
Loyalty cards seem to have been overused in recent years, but they do have their own place in a customer loyalty strategy. Whether you are in the B2B or B2C market, you can implement a loyalty scheme quickly and relatively cheaply.
Even though the loyalty cards from the FMCG giants are successful, try to scale it down – maybe look at an incentive after they’ve placed over 15 orders or have been with you for a certain period of time.
3. Email marketing
Targeted email campaigns offering discounts, special offers and other rewards can be a great way to build a relationship with your customers. Nurturing programs for new customers are also important – if they’ve just bought one of your products, subtly let them know about some other related products you sell to hopefully start a new and fruitful relationship.
4. Exclusive services and events
Offering exclusive services and events to your most loyal customer can produce your first group of brand ambassadors.
You could host events showcasing your newest products or even host a brainstorming session and ask them directly what they want as an improvement for your next product or service.
Keep your loyal customers in-the-loop of all new products, website updates and new offers – they will appreciate the opportunity to beat the crowds.
5. Staff rewards
When you are just starting out it’s natural just to focus on building your customer base and relationships. But it’s also important to remember the people who are helping your business to succeed – your staff. Staff loyalty is a valuable asset and can reflect outwardly to your customers.
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