Loyalty is one of the strongest words in the English language with deep-seated meaning and every company worth its salt is looking for ways to increase customer loyalty. In fact, in a 2013 survey where Americans aged 16 and above participated, 81 percent of the respondents stated that the most important trait they expected in a good friend was loyalty. A word that even prompted sicarios from the mean mafia moves to kill someone in cold blood. In fact, loyalty is the underlying theme for such movies, including Francis Ford Coppola’s magnum opus, ‘The Godfather’.
What’s so special about loyalty in a customer, you’d ask? A customer becomes loyal when it is evident that you care about improving your customer experience over a period of time. Loyalty is never given on a whim, it is supposed to be earned, which is what makes loyalty an important outcome in a business relationship. Customers being loyal to your business is a proof of you doing a lot of things right. While getting loyal customers can be an organic process, it is imperative that companies work on finding ways to increase customer loyalty.
Here are 9 fool-proof ways to increase customer loyalty without having to try anything out of the ordinary:
Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty #1: Make Customer Service a Priority
The way you respond to a customer is extremely important as the words, tone, and speed with which you solve their query will be observed and judged by the customers and use it to evaluate if you are worth sticking to. A customer evaluates every single interaction they have with your brand and if they don’t feel good after purchasing something from you, the chances of them coming back are as good as zero. Although there are many ways to increase customer loyalty, keeping the basics in mind is important.
You prioritize your customers by concentrating on the simple things. It is as simple as keeping a promise like a callback or even a simple gesture of offering water when someone enters your establishment or being genuinely interested in solving their queries. 24 and 48-hour response times for an email is a thing of the past because customers expect to get their queries solved immediately. If your goal is to find ways to increase customer loyalty, then your customer service representatives should be able to clear the queries immediately. Simple things like being friendly and treating customers kindly is surely a way to increase customer loyalty.
Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty #2: Ask for Customer’s Advice
How many times have we seen a business reply back rudely to a review on a social media platform? Has it ever ended well for a business? No. The scathing replies by business owners become viral and a lot of customers vow to boycott the establishment. It hurts the image of the business permanently and it repels customers, certainly not an act that you would do if you are finding ways to increase customer loyalty. But if businesses were to listen to the voice of customers, not only are they standing to gain their affection, but they would be willing to forgive if you were to goof up. While finding ways to increase customer loyalty, do not hesitate to work on the customer feedback you’ve already collected.
Picking up the phone and listening to what the customer has to say is one of the best ways to increase customer loyalty. You don’t have to wait for an interaction to ask them if they like your service. Even if there are months of zero activity, do reach out to your customer with either an offer to start using your product or just to say a plain hello. Even though there are many ways to increase customer loyalty, you should realize that loyalty is as much a habit as it is an innate trait.
If you end up making a change or add a feature based on the suggestions of the customers, make sure to credit them. Also, send them something to show your appreciation, you can expect them to be loyal for eons, this is one of the best ways to increase customer loyalty. Use online customer feedback surveys and polls and monitoring your performance is a great way of doing it.
Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty #3: Be Reliable
Being reliable is one of the most straightforward ways to increase customer loyalty. Being reliable doesn’t require a marketing budget, but it does involve efforts and a sincere mind to help your customer no matter what. Being reliable is as simple as staying true to what you promised, delivering the product on time, asking if the customer wants refills, clearing the customer query on time and so on which is easily one of the best ways to increase customer loyalty.
While good marketing spends can go a long way in acquiring customers, the only way to increase customer loyalty is to keep the ones who are already customers happy. Respect for your brand grows higher when you take each commitment seriously. The inability to deliver on promises can be forgiven if there are valid reasons and you are empathetic to the customer’s cause. We can’t help but reiterate the fact that being reliable is one of the best ways to increase customer loyalty.
Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty #4: Concentrate on the Little Things
If you care to observe how successful companies retain customers, you will find that they even concentrate on the smallest of activities that make the customers happy. It could be as small as sending a personalized and hand-written thank you letter to a high-ticket client, offering free delivery to regular customers, adding an extra piece of chicken to the order or a second refill of drinks for free and so on. The littlest things are often overlooked but those are the ones which create a huge impact because most businesses do not care about them even though they are one of the best ways to increase customer loyalty. When you are looking for ways to increase customer loyalty, you tend to invest in as many avenues as possible to please and keep the customer satisfied.
While a customer retention strategy is not exactly similar to strategizing ways to increase customer loyalty, the final outcome for both of this is the same. Adding a little extra in your product/service, giving your customers sample products, offering them guarantees on the product and more is a perfectly crafted way to increase customer loyalty.
Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty #5: Use User Generated Content Extensively
There is nothing as gratifying for a customer as seeing their content on their favorite brand’s official social media handle or getting a shout out there. It is a sign of how much you appreciate their support and encouragement, not only can you use their posts where they have mentioned your brand but it also bolsters them to do more. When the customers notice that your brand follows whenever they are mentioned and take an effort to share them, they would go out of their way to make your brand a priority.
Put the limelight on your fans regularly by reposting and sharing what they post. Engage with your fans on the posts with regular contests, create a buzz around your products by giving away a few products to the ones who engage the most. The more you share with your customers, it will spiral into a movement where there is a lot more engagement.
Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty #6: Never Underestimate the Power of Honesty
It should not surprise you that your customers only have the basest of expectations from you. Virtues such as honesty never go out of style. Being honest with your customers is an easy way to increase customer loyalty. If you ever happen to commit a customer experience mistake, then own up to it. Apologize and work on rectifying it, thus increasing the ways to increase customer loyalty.
If being honest means that you will lose a little business that is all right as long as you are doing the right thing and your customers will value and respect your brand for that. The very gesture that you place the customer above improving your bottom-line will go a long way in increasing customer loyalty. If a customer asks you for a particular product and you don’t have that product stocked, don’t hesitate to direct them to your competitor. It will have a huge impact on the customer as such honesty is more an aberration than the norm these days. Only engage in activities which show that you are transparent. While taking the easy route is always ‘easy’, it is fraught with ways that are not entirely honest, do not lose the goodwill of your customer for anything. Always remember this statistic when interacting with your customers, 64% of customers cited that shared values are the primary reason for a strong brand relationship.
Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty #7: Be Grateful. Say ‘Thank you’!
Sometimes, customers don’t know how much you appreciate them and the kind of difference their association and support means for you. It behooves a well-meaning business to show to its customers how important they are to the growth of the company. Send an email after each transaction, or even better, pick up the phone and call them. Showing your gratefulness regularly will remind them about you and keep you in their good books too. Remember that those loyal customers are the lifeline of any business and saying a big fat ‘thank you’ is a sure-shot way to increase customer loyalty.
Finding ways to increase customer loyalty is not much of a dampener when you realize that more than 68% of customers leave brands when they are upset with the treatment they received. Only real appreciation will please your customers and is certainly one of the easiest ways to increase customer loyalty because everyone likes to be appreciated.
Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty #8: Send them Gifts
If you have customers who are a big fan of your products, then isn’t it right that you take an interest in what they like? Check out what your biggest fans like, through their activities on social media, if it is something that you can afford, try gifting them. When you send something they really love, it creates a huge impact on them. Among the many ways to increase customer loyalty that we have suggested, taking note of the likes of your customers and gifting them something that they plan to buy is the most special of gestures as it shows that you care.
Not only will they talk about it amongst their friends and family, but they will also widely share it on their social media accounts, which will help you grab a lot of eyeballs. Do a little research before you plan to gift something. Sending your customers things that they have been wishing to buy is a foolproof way to increase customer loyalty.
Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty #9: Don’t Automate Everything
This needs to be said because a lot of businesses are trying to automate each interaction which happened earlier between a CS executive and the customer. Sure, easy-to-make chatbots are the next biggest creation in the world of customer service, but it has its flaws when communicating with customers. Automate judiciously! People always prefer talking to other people to get their queries solved.
Choose humans for interactions with the customers at junctures which can be a little difficult for the average customer to understand and follow. Human interactions foster loyalty as people understand each other better. Customers are happy to listen to a human voice on the other end instead of having to talk to a bot that has a standard set of responses not specific to the issue at hand.
One more point to note is that most people want to talk to a CS executive only when they have exhausted all sources of information points like FAQs, guides, white papers, etc, where their problems went unsolved. This is why keeping a human being to take care of the needs will help the customer.
These 9 ways to increase customer loyalty are more than enough, but to let no stone be kept unturned, you can still find ways to keep your clients loyal. Some of those ways will come accidentally when you are talking to your customers, collecting customer feedback, and serving them wholeheartedly. Treat every day like a day where you can keep a customer happy. Set yourself apart from your competitors by always giving that extra which will never fail to charm your customers. More than anything else, listen to your customers often. Use customer feedback tools to hear them out, periodically. Gauge their loyalty, take corrective actions wherever needed.
Fred Reichheld, author of ‘The Loyalty Effect’, says in his book that even a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25% to 100% increase in profits for your company. Regardless of the kind of company or business you run, customer retention rate is the best indicator of how happy your customers are and whether they will stick with you or not. This is why you need to find ways to increase customer loyalty and implement them on a war footing.