One of the most powerful tools for building a successful business is a loyal customer base that freely advocates for the services or products you provide. Even the smallest businesses can become a giant when the word gets out that they’ll go the extra mile to build positive relationships with their customers.
But that kind of loyalty isn’t created overnight. In fact, according to research from Yotpo, “37% of consumers say it takes five or more purchases before they consider themselves loyal to a brand.” So, businesses must be willing to put in the work to create a brand that inspires a devoted fanbase. Consider, these five ways companies build customer loyalty as a great place to start.
Make service a priority
According to research from Hubspot, “90% of consumers are more likely to purchase more, and 93% were more likely to be repeat customers at companies with excellent customer service.” In the end, for any business, the most basic building block of die-hard customer loyalty is great service. From how they’re greeted at the door to how quickly and efficiently problems are resolved, companies that put service at the forefront will prosper.
Stand for a noble cause
People like to support products that stand for a noble cause or take a socially responsible stance on certain issues that are meaningful to them. In fact, a recent study conducted by Accenture found that “48% of consumers who are disappointed by a brand’s words or actions on a social issue complain about it.” And 42% will “walk away from the brand in frustration with one in five never coming back.”
Whether it’s to fix a problem, ask for feedback, or simply say “thanks,” a one-on-one conversation with a customer goes much further toward building loyalty than a sweeping blanket statement to no one in particular. According to research from Virtual Incentives, 69% of consumers say they “feel more favorable toward a company that delivers personalized messages or rewards.” For example, consumers don’t want to talk to ABC Company, the want to talk to “Sarah” with ABC Company.
Ask for input
When building a loyal customer base, it only makes sense to include your customer, to some degree, in the planning and development process for your products and services. The best way to discover if you’re hitting the mark is to ask your customers directly. Research from InMoment found that “nearly 50% of customers say they’ve left a brand to which they were loyal to go to a competitor that is better at meeting their needs.”
Loyalty programs are still wildly popular among consumers and, as long as the rewards are real and attainable, are an effective way to ensure repeat business. In a recent Forrester Research study, as reported on Forbes.com, it was found that "72% of adults online belong to at least one loyalty program and those enrolled in loyalty programs report that they belong to nine, on average."
Alyssa Chumbley is owner of Express Employment Professionals.