How important is customer loyalty to your small business? Savvy small business owners realize that getting current customers to return is much easier than trying to find new ones. Keeping your client base loyal can be your most cost-effective marketing tool.
Customer loyalty is when customers put your products above all others. They like you and your products because their needs have been repeatedly met and surpassed by your goods or services, and these types of customers are eager to keep doing business with you. You can count on them. They have an attachment to your business and a good feeling from doing business with you.
These current customers will most likely come back to you when they need more of whatever you are selling, which means you can capitalize on their allegiance. They already know you and your products; so as long as the deal is good, your company will be the preferred supplier. This leads to a vibrant repeat customer base, and that’s good for your bottom line. It makes sense that people who use your goods or services will keep using them rather than choose the unproven competition.
Here are several ways to keep your client base loyal and use it for marketing:
- Customer service: Good customer service is the most important thing you can provide. If you don’t stock a product but you can track it down, saving your customer time, you will be their go-to supplier. If a product does not meet their expectations and you can quickly replace it or refund their money, you will be seen as the honest businessperson. Going the extra mile for the customer will serve you well in repeat business.
- Loyalty programs: To encourage clients to purchase more, or to enlist your services on a regular basis, loyalty programs are always effective. Whether you use the “buy-nine-get-the-10th-free” approach or offer volume discounts, you are encouraging people to keep your company top of mind when they need your services.
- Referral incentives: Typically loyal customers will help spread the word about your company. Often they’ll tell others why they prefer you over your competitors. Offer a discount to those who refer a new customer. You can capitalize on these loyal customers to provide favorable ratings, reviews, and testimonials as well as word-of-mouth publicity that will build more business. Your best customers can articulate why your organization deserves their loyalty, and that can foster additional buy-in from prospective customers.
- Feedback: Loyal customers are indeed among your best allies, so you should use their expertise to shore up and even improve your business. Turn to them for advice; more often than not, they will have an opinion, and their feedback can be invaluable. They’ll tell you what they love and what they don’t love. Count on them to have good ideas.
You can build customer loyalty in many ways: rewards, rebates, discounts, special offers, and stellar customer service. But probably the best method is to treat customers as if they are the highest priority. You’ll be rewarded with consumer support that can go a long way in improving your business. In these times, it’s a plus that can give you a leg up on the competition, so don’t overlook how your loyal customers can help you.