Customer loyalty is when a consumer chooses your business over your competitor’s time after time and it’s absolutely key to your business’ success.
In fact, studies show that once a customer has developed loyalty to a particular company, they won’t break that bond for price or stock availability - look at Apple, for example, 87% of its customer base are brand loyal despite the higher cost of their products. Why? Because they put substantial investment into creating brand advocacy.
If that wasn’t persuasive enough, returning customers spend on average 67% more than first-time visitors, cementing loyalty is something all businesses need to be doing to boost their bottom lines. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this six-step guide.
Ever been to your local pub and the landlady starts making your drink before you’ve even asked for it? It feels great and you feel valued and appreciated. The same principle can be adopted by almost any business - with little effort - by remembering faces (names too if you’re feeling clever) and letting your customers know you’re pleased to see them again.
With time, you’ll get to know typical orders and preferences and you can put this knowledge to good use, sparking feelings of appreciation and loyalty.
Regular customers are a business’s most valuable asset. In fact, did you know, it costs 10 times more to attract a new consumer than it does to keep your existing ones? So, in turn, why not reward their loyalty?
Everyone loves a freebie and we’ve probably all got wallets and purses stuffed full of loyalty stamp cards with the aim of getting something for nothing once they’re full. Put this into practice in your business and you’ll be encouraging repeat visits and at the end of the day, the little freebie you hand out is a small price to pay for a loyal customer.
From the word go you can be building loyalty, it doesn’t just need to be something you do once a customer’s been in a few times already. With the loyalty card idea, for example, pop a couple of cheeky stamps on there the first time you hand it out to get the ball rolling and show what a lovely business you are.
‘Oh, you’re a first time customer? That entitles you to a free biscuit!’ - when customers are treated well, they remember it and they’ll be more likely to come back. There’s also a good chance they’ll tell their friends and family - loyal visitors and a healthier customer base, it’s a win-win.
Tip: If you’re considering implementing this freebie idea order your free items in bulk - the price per item is usually cheaper with a larger quantity which will reduce the cost to your business.
If you want to stay front of mind and keep your customer up-to-date, communication is key and this can be done with a newsletter or using social media.
If you decide to set up social media pages for your business, put your URLs or handles on your menus, loyalty cards or in your shop window so people know where to find you. It’s also important with this one that your pages are up-to-date and used properly - check out our handy guide on making the most out of your business’s social media platforms for more on this.
When it comes to drumming up interest and subscribers to your newsletter, you could offer a small incentive in exchange for their email address, like a bonus loyalty card stamp, for example. Or how about one of those biscuits you ordered in bulk? Once you’ve got them on board they’ll get a regular reminder of the great business they visited, see your latest offers, and be much more likely to come back.
Always remember customer service plays a huge role in building loyalty and engaging in conversation is a great way to provide that service. Of course, no-one wants to feel forced into an awkward conversation when they just wanted a peaceful cup of coffee or to order some office supplies, but, some customers will be up for a chat and with them, you’ll be able to build a rapport and potentially glean useful information while giving them what they want.
Encourage your employees to take the time to talk to your customers and not just pay lip service to the idea, too. Customers can tell when someone’s being disingenuous and 50% will end their relationship with a business as a result of poor customer service.
We’ve saved one of the most important factors until last, and that’s feedback. Without it, you don’t know what your customers actually think of your offering and you can’t give them exactly what they want.
By gathering customer feedback, you can use it to adjust your services accordingly which will make your customers happy and greatly boost the chance they come back for more.
How do you do it? The way you get hold of feedback will depend on the nature of your business, but it could be as simple as asking for it straight away face-to-face (did you enjoy your meal?), or with a follow-up phone call or email.
Tip: In the worst-case scenario that your feedback is negative, it’s important that you get this information straight from the horse’s mouth and act quickly before it’s plastered on social media or online reviews which could be damaging to your business.
Once you’ve put these six steps into action you’ll no doubt be on your way to building a happy and loyal customer base, so be sure you’re able to accept payments however they want to when they come back.
From POS systems and countertop card machines to payment gateways and contactless payments, we’ve got everything you need to keep your customers happy. Get in touch today on 08082 393254 to see what we can do for you.