How to Increase Customer Loyalty

//How to Increase Customer Loyalty

How to Increase Customer Loyalty

How to Increase Customer Loyalty

Brand Loyalty On Laptop Showing Successful Branding And Satisfaction ExpertiseIf you’re a business owner and not thinking about how to increase customer loyalty, you may be missing out on quite a few opportunities. Depending on the statistics you pull, it costs 5-10 times more to gain a new customer than retain a customer.

When I think customer loyalty, cable companies come to mind. Cable companies are great at getting new customers on board, often using sweet deals and contracts to get customers to stay for a fixed duration of time. Unfortunately, once the attractive pricing model which captured customers end, those customers scoot to the next best cable deal.

When it’s so expensive to recruit a new customer compared to retaining current customers, you’d think the telecommunication industry would switch gears.

So let’s talk about ways you can increase customer loyalty.

Value Your Customers

We love our customersHowever you got started in business, you continue to remain a profitable business because of customers. Without customers, you’re really just running a hobby. As such, show customers you value their business. We’ll continue to use the telecommunication industry as an example. Though telecommunication companies are starting to look at new models, their past techniques to retain customers were to “trap” them into contracts, which had costly termination fees. When new deals came about, current customers were often not eligible, even if their contract had expired. As such, meaning customers jumped ship first chance they got.

Let’s examine that strategy for a bit. A new customer gets special deals, but a current (and potential loyal) customer was excluded from the same deals. It’s not exactly a model that says a business values customer business.

So, how do you show you value your customers?

Show Appreciation

Even a simple thank you goes a long way. Ever so often, I’ll have a company send me an email (my preferred method of communication), saying thank you for my patronage. My favorites are the ones that remember anniversary dates. “Did you know you’ve been with us 5 years now?” I may have forgotten, but they remembered, even if it’s an automated response.

Loyalty Programs & Coupons

businessman hand draws target customers diagram on white boardYou might even show appreciate through loyalty programs. I love loyalty programs. To me it says, “You’re a frequent shopper with us. Thank you. Let us take this off your bill.” Those are nice, but my favorite reward are targeted coupons. If you keep track of your customers’ purchases, a targeted coupon can be a great way to get them back in your store. Targeted coupons go something like this:

Customer purchases an item. Let’s say the latest Barbie doll. A little bit down the line, the matching Ken doll comes on the market. So, you send a note, reminding them of their Barbie doll purchase and let them know the matching Ken doll just arrived. You encourage them stop by and use the provided discount coupon to pick up their Ken doll.

Targeted coupons are beneficial in several ways. 1) It shows you notice and care about their spending habits. It’s almost like a personal touch. 2) It creates a sales opportunities for you. Woohoo! 3) It gets them back in your store, possibly looking for new purchase. 4) It may encourage them to spend more, as they know you’ll be looking for coupon opportunities for them.

Offer Quality Service

The Best On Monitor Showing QualityI feel like this goes without saying. However, receiving less than par service seems to be the norm in a lot of industries. In many cases, customers continue to shop with companies because their choices for a particular item are limited to availability. Living in a small community, I see it often. A new company offering the same or similar product can put a established company out of business, simply by providing better service.

As I mentioned time and again, having the lowest price in town, shouldn’t be what set you apart. Yes, some customers may shop with you for your prices. However, even more will pay more money to your competitors if the shopping experience is better.

Listen to Customers

Customer letterI mentioned customer surveys in a past post. Surveying your customers is more than just getting their responses. You also need to do something with those responses to show you actually recognize their feedback. It might even be a follow-up survey. “We noticed in the last survey we sent that you were unhappy with the way we display our products. Will you please elaborate?”

You might even take the opportunity to sell them a product or service. “In the survey we sent out, you mentioned wanting to have more color variety of Product X. Great news! We talked to our suppliers and offer a variety of colors for Product X. We’d love for you to stop by and check out our new selection. We can even custom order for you.”

Your customer feedback may come in the form of an unsolicited complaint. Listen and acknowledge their complaints. Then do what you can to remedy the situation.

Instill a Customer-Driven Attitude

You may not always be around to attend your customers personally. As such, you’ll want to have the right people in the right positions, as they will be the face of your company. Ensure your employees know the importance of superior customer service and are able to deliver. Don’t assume your employees will deliver great service because customers are needed to keep the company running. You may need to take time to train your employees so everyone can perform at the desired expectations.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned, it’s a lot less expensive to keep a customer than to gain a new customer. It brings to mind a training event I attended on pitching a product or service. One of the entrepreneurs at the event had a donut shop. He mentioned it cost him about $25 to gain a new customer. 25 bucks! To me, that’s insane when you think about the cost of a donut. $25 takes quite a few return visits to see a return on your investment. So yes, seek customers, but definitely work on keeping the customers you do gain.

What methods do you employ to increase customer loyalty?



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By | 2017-01-13T19:25:45+00:00 March 24th, 2016|Marketing|6 Comments

About the Author:

Renee Townsend is a Certified Professional Coach and Business Consultant with experience helping Black Women start, grow, and run successful companies.

6 Comments

  1. kathe April 6, 2016 at 6:07 am - Reply

    Hi Renee! This article can be useful with my plan of building a physical business. Customer is the number one life of your success in business, so I agree with you that it would be better to spend more with existing customer than new customer.
    Those pointers you mentioned can apply on making my future business successful. I’ll keep this in mind and will bookmark your page 🙂

    • Renee April 6, 2016 at 11:42 pm - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Kathe! What business are you planning? I know people are often secretive of their business plans before launch, so I won’t hold my breath if you don’t want to share. Either way, I wish you the best in your endeavor!

  2. donald April 10, 2016 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Hi Renée, very pretty website you got there. I used to have restaurant and I get the whole cost of buying customers. There is no doubt that if you can get people who already love you to come just a little bit more often or stay that little bit longer. It is a hell of a lot cheaper. What is more, by taking a customer based marketing plan on board your whole business benefits. Happy regulars make happy owners

    • Renee April 12, 2016 at 3:41 am - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Donald! I like your comment about getting customers to come a little bit more or stay longer. I often tell my clients that they need to continue advertising. If you don’t stay in the forefront of the customers’ eyes, they forget your business exists. However, reading your comment also brings to mind that if the customer is in your place of business, you already have their attention. Many of the things that keep a customer are the things most business should already be doing… quality service and a friendly attitude. Often times it takes just as much time to provide crappy service with a scowl as it does to provide good services with a smile. And how much does a smile cost? 🙂

  3. LSeulu24 April 10, 2016 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Wow
    I’m really glad i came across your article about customer loyalty. I myself am just starting out in a few entrepreneur adventures, so appreciate the advice around how to retain and not have to gain.
    I like the need that you highlight to pay attention to customers and the need to show appreciation. You’ve got me thinking on an appreciation newsletter I can do monthly 🙂
    will definitely be back to get some more tips

    thanks a bunch
    Layne

    • Renee April 12, 2016 at 3:47 am - Reply

      Having an appreciation newsletter is a great idea, Layne. In my last position, we occasionally shared our clients’ successes. On one level, it allows us to promote our clients and what they’re doing. Since we worked with small business owners, it equated to free marketing. On the other end, people love to share news about themselves. Adding our clients into our newsletter created opportunities for them to share not only themselves with friends, family, and acquaintances, but also an opportunity to showcase our services through our clients’ successes.

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