Encouraging repeat business is crucial to the success of your store. So how do you get your customers to keep coming back? Check out these tips, selected from a post by John Rampton for Entrepeneur.com
It’s one thing to hook customers, another beast completely to retain them. Improving customer loyalty should be a priority, or those customers you worked so hard to get could vanish before you even know what happened.
To avoid that, here are some ways to better your company’s customer loyalty.
- Share your values.
To build a strong relationship with your customers, you have to share their values. According to a study by the Corporate Executive Board of 7,000 U.S. consumers who said they had a brand relationship “64% cited shared values as the primary reason.” In fact, shared values are “far and away the largest driver.” If you want loyal customers, you need to tell them what your brand stands for.
- Provide excellent customer service.
Sounds obvious, right? But, it deserves mention again because excellent service is what creates lifelong customers, avoids negative word-of-mouth and differentiates you from the competition. This is how a company like Zappos has created such a loyal following. But, how can you improve customer service?
For starters, listen to customers and address their concerns a timely manner. Make it easy for customers to get in touch with a representative. Clearly display an email address, phone number and social media account. You have to “wow” them by going above and beyond.
- Create a sense of community.
With so many social media platforms, there is no excuse for not creating a community. Communities are an effective way to start a conversation with your customers and encourage user-generated content. For example, you can ask customers to share pictures of them using your product and sharing it on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
- Get their email addresses.
One of the easiest ways to keep in touch with customers is through email. Ask for addresses after completing purchases so you can keep customers updated on new products or follow-up with them after a sale to ask how was their experience. This information can be used to improve customer satisfaction and keep your current customers happy.
- Use social proof.
Aileen Lee, partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, describes social proof on TechCrunch as “the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something.” It’s a great way for new customers to learn about your product or company.
Typically, brands achieve social proof in the following five ways:
Expert - statistics that are shared by a credible source.
Celebrity - celebrity endorsements, think William Shatner and Priceline.
User - reviews left by customers on sites like Yelp or Amazon.
Wisdom of the crowd - recall McDonald’s famous “Over 1 Million Served” sign.
Wisdom of your friends - inviting friends to play a game on Facebook.
- Exceed expectations.
You’ve probably heard the cliché that businesses should "under promise and over deliver." You can accomplish this by simply exceeding expectations. If you state a customer service rep will get back to the customer within 24 hours, and the rep gets in touch within six hours, that’s exceeding customer expectations. As Noah St. John states perfectly on the Huffington Post, "Do what you say you're going to do."
- Admit when you make a mistake.
Mistakes happen and customers have many platforms to share their experiences with your company. Don’t get defensive or sensitive if you get called out on something that was your fault. Instead, use these platforms to take responsibility and resolve the issue.
Employees are extremely important for improving customer loyalty. Employees who buy into the culture are more likely to share their excitement with friends, family and customers that they’re assisting - like this email from Zappos. Make sure your employees have the proper training and tools to enhance the customer experience.
- Offer incentives.
You want to give customers a reason to keep coming back. And that’s when incentives come into play. It could be something as simple as a discount on their next purchase or giving them a free drink after their 10th purchase.
- Ask for their feedback.
How do you know what customers like or dislike about your products? How do they feel about your customer service? If you aren't aware of this information, then how can you make the appropriate changes to make your customers more satisfied? Whenever a customer completes a sale, ask them for their feedback through an email questionnaire or an online survey on your website.