Customer Loyalty Strategies That Work – Forbes Advisor
In the next section, we discuss various approaches to help companies strengthen their customer retention goals.
1. Build customer loyalty through shared values
Is your company eco-responsible? Do you donate part of your income to a specific charity? Is it associated with wealth and wealth or youth and TikTok trends? Not only should your business have its own easily identifiable values, but you should also aim to share them with your customer base. When customers understand and identify with your values, it helps them identify with you and feel connected.
2. Ask for feedback frequently
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers how you’re doing, even if the answer isn’t as pleasant as you’d hope. Even though positive comments are good, it is often the negative comments that are the most important. If customers aren’t happy, they won’t buy from a business again. If interviewed, these dissatisfied shoppers are questioned about their decision before leaving; their responses should help improve the poor service, which will make it easier to retain customers in the future.
One thing to avoid is having a single survey or poll and using those results forever. Times change and so do the needs and wants of shoppers. Be sure to ask questions periodically and compare the nature of the most recent results to previous feedback requests.
3. Get customers excited about a change or the decision not to
If the percentage of repeat customers is dropping due to boredom with your brand, one way to revitalize your customer base is to change things up. It can be as simple as revamping your store or website. Even if your brand hasn’t changed beyond its appearance, customers may still feel like they’re discovering a new store. Be careful not to change too much or too quickly, otherwise you risk losing customers.
The successful failure of “New Coke” remains a topic of discussion decades later. Coca-Cola hoped to excite consumers enough to buy the new product. Instead, his attempt at a flavor change resulted in a massive backlash, followed by calls not to alter the beloved recipe.
While Coca-Cola’s new product ultimately failed, the publicity generated by the event was its own success. The situation demonstrated that sometimes the best way to influence customers to change is to decide not to change anything.
At a lesser extreme, McDonald’s has allowed the McRib to be an enduring favorite by occasionally changing its menu to bring the sandwich back for a limited time. These limited-time offers rely on the fear of missing out, but promising to bring back a popular product can also mean guaranteeing loyal customers who can’t wait to experience the item again.
4. Treat customers like humans, not data
It’s no secret that customers aren’t fans of AI chatbots, as a common complaint is that these bots don’t understand them. AI typically reacts to specific keywords and scenarios instead of individualized human experience. They can’t offer the empathy a customer might seek and only get by talking to a human. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that customers are people, not data.
Analytics can help you understand things hypothetically, but through direct and empathetic interactions with customers, you gain the most accurate insight into their happiness or dissatisfaction. Customers want to be connected and feel heard. Treating them like people and not just like numbers on a screen can go a long way in encouraging them to become repeat buyers.
5. Be easy to understand
It’s easy to assume that having the best product on the market automatically ensures dominance, but that’s not necessarily true. A competing business may outsell your business with an inferior product because customers find their explanations and marketing materials easier to understand. Ultimately, the more accessible you make the nature of your business, the sooner they can decide if they want to shop with you.
An overly convoluted explanation can drive buyers away, while those who know specifically that your business meets their needs will feel more comfortable buying from you again and again.
6. Provide fast delivery options
While many customers wait a few weeks to receive a product, some may want or need an item as soon as possible. Offering the ability to get something days or weeks earlier can encourage some customers to come back because they know they can get products faster from your business than they could from your competitors.
7. Make returns and refunds easy and reasonable
While mistakes do happen, one way to ensure a customer never buys from you again is to make returns nearly impossible and refuse to offer refunds. The return and refund process is a branch of customer service. Therefore, making the process painless and reasonable is crucial.
If customers know they can count on you to treat them fairly beyond the sale, rather than ignoring them after they receive their money, they will trust you with future purchases.
8. Encourage word of mouth
It’s easy to associate the impact of word-of-mouth advertising with new customer acquisition. However, it is crucial to note that word of mouth customer advertising can be used to build customer loyalty. After all, a good word-of-mouth discussion about your products or services builds consumer trust.
For example, a customer learns from a friend who buys from you repeatedly that he is satisfied. In this case, it not only has the potential to attract new business, but create a domino effect of retained customers by spreading positive word-of-mouth messages about your brand with friends, on social media and more.
You should actively encourage word of mouth as much as possible. Share positive customer feedback via retweets on Twitter or encourage customers to share their thoughts on TikTok and Instagram. The more your loyal customers feel visible and recognized, the more they will use their own online and in-person channels to share their impressions of your business.
9. Make customers feel good about associating with you
Although not openly admitted, there are brands that the public may wish to be associated with, while others would bring them embarrassment. Along with sharing values with customers, another good strategy for retaining customers is to make them feel good about associating with you.
Suppose shoppers know that part of their purchase will go towards the fight against childhood cancer or the reconstruction of the Amazon rainforest. In this case, it can provide a long-term feel-good factor that incentivizes future purchases.
10. Provide direct and empathetic customer service
Some companies are infamous for their terrible customer service. A big part is the difficulty of speaking directly with a representative. For example, this may be due to an overreliance on chatbots and AI phone services, or customers cannot easily access the right service.
Excellent customer service is the cornerstone of customer loyalty. When you offer empathetic, easy-to-navigate, and straightforward customer service, it can go a long way in helping you create a lasting, positive relationship with consumers.
11. Create a customer profile
By building a profile based on your existing long-term customers, rather than focusing on new customers, you can instead attract those who are more likely to be part of your dedicated customer base. Look at all the things your loyal customers have in common. Try to understand what separates them from one-time buyers.
Information such as age, income, gender, and lifestyle can be crucial for more accurate marketing to people most likely to buy from your business more than once.
12. Offer “Buy now, pay later” options
It’s no surprise that the buy now, pay later (BNPL) model has exploded in popularity in recent years. After all, a 2018 survey found that 76% of consumers are more likely to shop where payment plans are available. For example, Delta customers who pay for their airfares through Affirm or retail buyers who make purchases through Klarna or Afterpay.
The BNPL model offers a transparent and cost-effective method of purchase, and its growing popularity suggests that customers may favor purchasing from companies offering such payment options.
13. Use gamification to keep customers engaged
Gamification is a crucial customer retention strategy, harnessing customers’ desire to feel engaged and rewarded beyond a single transaction. Retail spaces use gamification by turning the amount of dollars spent in their stores into points applied to future purchases. This approach provides a good reason for a buyer to become a regular customer; the money they spent yesterday becomes the rebate for tomorrow’s purchase.
Loyal customers can shop repeatedly, earning points for a deep discount on an item they might not otherwise be able to afford. Through fun little rewards or missions, you can turn the shopping experience into a long-lasting adventure for shoppers, using mechanics you’d only expect to find in an online role-playing game. line.
14. Become difficult to replace
Being unique in a positive sense and very hard to replace can be a brilliant strategy for building customer loyalty. After all, retaining customers is easier when they understand that they can’t easily replicate their positive experience with your brand elsewhere in your industry.
Some approaches may work better than others depending on the type of business you have, for example, a physical location versus an online store. What’s important is developing the right customer retention strategies for your business.
Whether you’re building a profile, leaning into gamification, or completely overhauling your customer service, these steps are essential to improving the customer experience. Satisfied customers come back; dissatisfied customers don’t.