Customer loyalty can become one of the best assets your business has at its disposal. When you have loyal customers, you get the advantage of persuasive, effective word-of-mouth marketing. People tend to trust what their friends, family, and coworkers tell them when it comes to businesses, including retailers and service providers.
A loyal customer is going to come back more often, and that’s going to be less expensive than marketing and getting new customers.
Your loyal customers can also serve as a focus group where you can go when you want feedback and opinions.
So what are the things that drive customer loyalty? What do customers prioritize when deciding who to consistently give their business to?
Customer service is how you interact with your customers. An estimated 96% of consumers base their loyalty on customer service.
So what makes for good customer service in 2022?
Accessibility is huge. One of the most important things you can do to drive loyalty is to be available when and where your customers need you. If you aren’t able to respond to inquiries in a timely manner, you might need to automate elements of your customer service.
Good customer service includes being understanding and empathetic, including when your customers are upset or even angry.
Responsiveness is also critical, which goes hand-in-hand with accessibility.
Consumers in 2022 are very much interested in working with brands that showcase values that align with their own. For example, if your company takes steps to reduce its carbon footprint, make this part of your marketing and ensure your customers have access to information about the steps you take.
When customers feel like you’re personalizing the experience to them, they’re more likely to reward you with their loyal business.
There are so many ways you can personalize the experience for everyone you work with.
Maybe you send them special offers and deals based on their interests, or you send an email on their birthday.
You can combine the use of technology to personalize your communication and marketing with your customers, and also good old-fashioned methods of getting to know people. Don’t forget, simple things like knowing your customers’ names are also personalization.
If you’re a business that’s only online, you can still be personal in how you communicate with all of your customers and interact with them. For example, you can set up email marketing to address your customers by name when you send something out.
The employees you hire are the face of your brand, and they’re going to be one of the single biggest drivers of customer loyalty. They can also be a deterrent to loyalty.
Along with taking your time to hire correctly at the start, there are other things you can do to make sure you’re fostering a positive culture that’s going to translate to the best possible customer experiences.
For example, you can train and onboard all employees thoroughly. Training shouldn’t end with new hires. An environment where there’s continual training and learning is going to mean your employees offer better service and information.
You also want to recognize employees for a job well done and show them that you care about their future with the company.
When employees are happy, this shows in every interaction they have with customers.
You have to treat your employees well for them to treat your customers well.
If your company culture is negative or toxic, you can be sure this will show in your customer service.
Everyone wants to feel like they’re appreciated, including your customers. To promote loyalty, incentivize your employees for it. You can have a loyalty rewards program, for example, where you offer discounts or free items based on how often a customer shops with you or spends with you.
You can also develop a referral program. You offer incentives when your loyal customers send a friend or family member your way.
Finally, if you want consistent customers, you need to be consistent in your offerings to them. You want to regularly assess your products and services and make sure the quality is as high as it ever was.
Customers are going to quickly notice declining quality, whether that’s in customer service or products.
You never want to be the company with a lot of reviews saying a formula has changed or there’s been a shift in your business for the worse. Consistency is critical to loyalty because your customers want to know what to expect every time they bring their business to you.