It is usually cheaper to retain existing customers than to woo new ones. If you want to keep the patrons you have – and the repeat business and great reviews they can generate – making sure they are satisfied is a good start. An even better strategy, though, is to ramp up your efforts to make sure each customer is loyal to your company. This means not only that they are happy with what you have to offer, but also that they would rather do business with you than with anyone else out there.
Loyalty Pays in More Ways than One
Understanding that customer retention strategies can foster loyalty – not just repeat business – is important for a number of reasons:
- Loyal customers will be more likely to make future purchases with you than with your competitors – even when cheaper alternatives may be available.
- When customers are loyal to your business, they recommend you to others – even when it comes to products or services they have not purchased themselves.
- People who are loyal to your brand will keep coming back – even when you expend fewer resources marketing to them.
Loyal customers do not have to be repeatedly convinced to buy your products; their business is based on their relationship with your company more than on the strength of your marketing. Continue to keep that relationship strong, and you can direct more of your advertising budget toward enticing new customers – and turning them into loyal patrons as well.
How to Create Loyal Customers
Fostering consumer loyalty is not something you can do by following a formula, but there are definitely steps you can take to make your company one that customers will feel good about patronizing.
- Act with integrity. Do not just give the impression that your company is trustworthy – make it a reality.
- Remember that part of what you are selling is an experience. Offering free benefits or add-ons can have a big payoff when customers keep coming back to you.
- Design a loyalty program that rewards your most devoted patrons. Letting them know that you notice and value their allegiance can further strengthen their positive feelings toward your brand.
- Get personal with customers. Follow up after sales, send newsletters, mark their birthdays with special discounts or offers – reach out to them in a way that says, “We care about you. We’re working hard for you.”
People may be staunchly loyal to the business they feel offers the best products – but for many, it’s the feeling of directing their hard-earned dollars toward a company they respect and trust that really keeps them coming back.
Your loyal customers tend to be your most profitable ones. Take steps to increase their numbers, and you are likely to see a corresponding increase in yours.