Achieving Customer Loyalty

Loyalty is a word that every business associates itself with. The loyalty of the client and customers hold great value and an essential part of brand success. To get more customers into the store or on the website has become very important but retaining them is even more vital. The retailers have recognized the grave significance of creating long-term customers and not just keeping the focus on sales. When you keep customers happy, trade and goodwill automatically increase.

As a result, businessmen started structuring loyalty programs so that they don’t lose their grip on their customers. Even if he/she goes to the competitors, they come back to earn a reward that no one else is offering. When such customers come back (no matter for what reason), you need to nurture them with special attention. The good news is that there are a few old school ways of achieving customer loyalty that a lot of business owners have stopped using. In fact, these tips are the best ways to make all those special customers feel extra special.

Identify What Your Customers Actually Want

There are a lot of ways and theories when it comes to structuring a loyalty program but there are very few strategies that work the right way in an array of situations. So before you get all excited and start putting together a rewards program, sit for a moment and think what it is that your customers really want. What they are looking for when shopping or investing their time as well as money into your brand or business. For this very reason, you need to understand their behavior, recognize their wants when they ask you for something extra or anything in particular. You can also look at how the customers behave in your store to determine what sort of program they need that will make them happy.

For example, you are the owner of a cafe and you notice that one particular customer is coming in every week or twice a week to enjoy a cup of coffee and snacks. Now, you have a loyalty program that rewards only those customers who buy coffee/tea regularly. You pitch her about the rewards program that you have in place but he/she refuses to sign up because he/she is cutting down on their calorie intake, therefore doesn’t buy coffee on a daily basis. Your current loyalty program doesn’t benefit her in any way.

The smart move you need to make in such a scenario is to tweak your current loyalty program to offer some benefit to this particular customer. You can offer her a free salad or diet soda on every third purchase. This way the customer gets the feeling that they are being cared for, thus changing their status to a loyal customer who would love to visit you every week more frequently.

Customer Loyalty Lies In Their Convenience

What’s one thing that we are ready to welcome with open arms? Yes, convenience is a luxury that is loved by all, especially customers. But let’s get smart and give them expediency by making them pay upfront. Love the idea? Before you go and execute this plan, hang on for a minute. Your customers definitely want convenience but they don’t like paying for it in advance. Here, you need to creative and make your loyalty program so lucrative that they happily come forward and pay in advance. Creating a pre-paid program needs careful planning with advantages laid out in front so that the customers can easily understand them. The best way to attract them into paying upfront is by giving a valuable deal or discount.

Lest assume that you own a salon offering a number of indulging services like full body massage, hair spa, manicure-pedicure etc. Now, an existing customer or a new client comes in for one of the before mentioned services. When telling about your loyalty program, you have to understand their needs and make an offer that they can’t refuse. Let them know that if they pay in advance for 4 services, the fifth one will be free. You can also go an extra mile by scheduling all appointments now and tell them they will be reminded for each one of them with an email or text message. This way they won’t have to worry about missing an appointment and if they are busy, it can be easily re-scheduled. You are giving them the convenience that will make them your loyal customer and they also wouldn’t mind paying upfront.

The aftermath, your customers walk out feeling happy and you know they will return for their appointments to make the most of the money that they have already paid.

Exclusive Benefits For The Loyal Few

Every business enjoys the loyalty of certain customers. If your business is lucky in this matter too, it is vital that such customers be rewarded with a special offer. No one wants to leave a chance to enjoy special perks or be a part of something exclusive. This is the reason why offering a members-only discount to your frequent customers is the best way to increase their loyalty.

Wondering how to make your loyal customers feel special? Give them special discounts and other benefits for a nominal monthly or annual fee. The reward should be such that your customers couldn’t find it anywhere else.

But don’t take customers for a fool. They will only be willing to make a purchase where there’s a visible proof that they are at an advantage in this sort of deal. Provide them with some proof that how much they are saving over those who are not a member of your loyalty program. If you are able to pull it nicely, your customers will love you and stay.

Thank Your Customers, The Pampering Way

Customers love when their favorite brands remember them and do something out of the blue. Sometimes a simple thank you is enough but when a personal touch or thoughts are added to it, it becomes a grand gesture that customers cherish for a lifetime. If you are thinking that you always send them a thank you email or text, well, let us break it you, it’s not enough. When you put a little effort in your ways of acknowledging the customers, it starts working towards building a brand that has high goodwill and loved by all.

Take a step towards growing brand visibility and goodwill by creating an excellent customer service program. Show your patrons how much you care about them by sending gifts, special discount coupons, a handwritten ‘thank you’ note. One thing that you keep in mind here is that this kind of special treatment should be an exclusive luxury for a few, especially those who are regular customers.

If you happen to know two people or a group who are your customers, send a gift to one of them (one who’s loyal towards your brand more than their counterparts). This way, the one who receives the gift will feel special and excited that you chose them over their friends or family. They will also tell others about it to make them feel jealous. The others, on the other hand, will feel left out and will show more loyalty towards you in the future in the hope of gaining a gift themselves. In both aspects, you as a brand are in a winning position.

Seek Their Advice And Actually Work On It

How many times this has happened that people advice us on something and instead of taking it seriously, we get offensive or simply ignore it. Sometimes businesses make the same mistake after reading or listening to customer’s feedback. They don’t want to listen to the valuable advice especially if it’s something that they just don’t want to hear.

Next time, when a customer gives you his/her feedback, note it and work towards it. You can also start by sending them feedback forms. If customers complain about something, try and fix it so that they can see that you are taking them seriously. Asking for feedback is not enough, acting on it is vital.

Final Thoughts

Show gratitude, stay humble, keep them pampered and you will never lose a customer. When you will offer such benefits to your customers they will take your brand to a whole new level. Your loyalty program will also have a lot of members and others ready to join in tow. If it ever happens that you make a mistake, take responsibility and be honest with your customers. Trust us, there’s nothing else they will appreciate more.

You might be overwhelmed about how important is customer loyalty. But if you follow above mentioned tips, creating a strong and loyal customer base won’t be much of a task. People will naturally pull towards your brand, making it a household name and giving word of mouth publicity. Well, that doesn’t sound like a bad deal, right? So what are you waiting for? Sweep the customers right of their feet with these old school methods.

The Author

Abhijeet Guha