You know you use dishwasher detergent every day, but could you name the brand that’s sitting underneath your sink at home right now?
If you can’t, it’s probably because you always just pick up whatever is on sale.
If you can, there’s a good chance that’s because you’re loyal to that brand, and for specific and personal reasons.
When the time comes to upgrade your phone, will you switch over to an Android (Google) device, or order your sixth consecutive iPhone?
If you moved to a new city, would you check out whatever fitness facilities were closest to your residence, or drive a little further in order to keep the same membership you’ve had for 10 years now?
It may not be the first (or 50th) word we would use to describe ourselves, but we are ALL customers, and we make hundreds, if not thousands, of brand loyalty decisions on a daily basis.
So how do you — as a business — ensure that your brand is one of those select few that people will go out of their way to come back to again, and again, and again… and again?
Here are 5 great ways to build and maintain customer loyalty:
1. Prioritize communication
We’ve all been there; you dial the number of a company you need to get in touch with, and are “greeted” by an automated service. Every option you choose just gets you even more options, and before long it feels like it’s been years since you’ve actually conversed with a living, breathing human being.
The most effective way to achieve customer loyalty is to show your customers that you care about them. And the most effective way to do that, is to be accessible.
Be active on your company’s social media channels, and don’t be afraid to have conversations with people and customers! Consumers appreciate (probably more than you think) being able to see that there is a engaging and relatable person behind the brand they’re supporting.
2. Customer service is king
This one doesn’t need much elaboration.
According to HubSpot Research, 90% of consumers are more likely to purchase more, and 93% are more likely to be repeat customers of companies with excellent customer service.
At the end of the day, nothing is more important for fostering customer loyalty than the way you treat your customers and clients.
3. Follow up
Remember that time you got a follow-up call from an organization you had recently done business with?
You remember it because not only did you appreciate them calling to ensure you were satisfied, but also because so few companies actually do it.
Be one of the ones that does, and creates a positive and lasting impression on your customers.
4. Believe in your product/service
And do not employ anyone who doesn’t feel the same way!
Your brand and its public image really just boil down to the people who are communicating on behalf of the company.
From social media to the way your employees interact with customers, it’s critical that everyone shares your same belief in the product or service, in order to be able to genuinely convey it to others.
5. Incentivize and reward loyalty
Have you ever been watching TV and see an ad from your cell phone provider, offering a great new device for free, with a low-cost monthly plan for new customers? So you call them up, and request to upgrade to the new phone and switch your plan to the one being advertised, just to have them tell you that offer is only for new customers?
Do the opposite of that.
Customers don’t take the decision of where to spend their money lightly, and neither should you.
You might be surprised at just how easy it is to let your customers know that you recognize and appreciate their patronage: a small discount on their next purchase, access to a new product before it goes public, even just a short, personalized thank-you email.
Not only does it accomplish the goal of making your long-time customers feel appreciated, it gives new customers something to strive for, and a reason to stick around.