If you’re on the fence about whether a customer loyalty plan for your business is worth the hassle, here are three solid reasons you should be implementing a plan asap. First; regular repeat customers help create a baseline of reliable income. By creating a community of regular customers who are loyal to your brand and business, you ensure you can begin to build some consistency in your cash flow.
Second, loyal customers tend to tell their friends and networks about the businesses they trust – don’t underestimate this. Not only is it free advertising, but research has proven time and again that customers are more likely to trust the recommendations of their peers over advertising and reviews.
Last but not least, it’s estimated to cost five times as much to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer. So not only does customer loyalty help build your brand and business, it can also save you money long term. Assuming now you’ve decided to get off the fence and put your plan into action, here are some ways to improve your customer loyalty:
Prioritise your customer service
We have all experienced what it’s like to continue going back to a cafe or restaurant, or to keep using a supplier or agency because we like the people, even if their competitors are offering cheaper or better quality products. It’s the customer service that elevates your customer interactions from transactions to relationships and experiences, and this keeps us coming back for more.
Ensure you extend your customer service focus beyond your bricks and mortar and aim to deliver polite, friendly and informative support across social media, email and phone enquiries to build the best rapport with your customers.
Share your purpose
Make an effort to communicate your purpose and value proposition with your customers. For-purpose businesses and social enterprises are a great example of how purpose and mission anchor customers to a brand, and the principal stands for any business. Whether you’re a small cafe or a midsize construction company, communicating your purpose and living by those values will help attract and retain customers who align with your values.
Build feedback into your customer experience
Incorporating feedback into your customer experience is not only an essential activity to gain customer insights and feedback on your product and service, it also shows you value the opinion and experiences of your customers. Try incorporating ways your customers can give feedback after a service – whether it’s a standard feedback survey via email, social media polls, in-store surveys or Net Promoter Score surveys – give your customers the chance to let you know how their experience was and show them you listen.
Incentivise repeat purchases with rewards
The term Customer Loyalty might instantly bring to mind that flimsy cafe card you diligently pull out and hand over every morning in exchange for a punch hole and your daily coffee. Why does this spring to mind? Because it’s so effective in keeping customers coming back.
Giving your customers a reason to keep purchasing with you is the easiest and most cost-effective way to improve your customer loyalty. For retail enterprises a points system for each dollar spent can work a treat. For services try reducing the cost or include a free add-on for repeat business.
Communicate with your community
Incorporating regular communications with your community not only keeps you top of mind, it provides added value to your business. Ensure you’re capturing your customer details in a database so you can share updates, offers and pass along important information via email or sms.
Where possible try to personalise your communications instead of using generic greetings such as ‘Dear Valued Customer’ or variations of Hi/Hello. Personalising your comms helps create a closer connection with your customers by making them feel valued and acknowledged rather than a faceless customer.
Customers don’t need to use your services or buy your product, so showing your gratitude for their business goes a long way to making sure they come back again. Saying thank you with an email or sms after a service or sending small branded gifts or vouchers can massively boost your customer loyalty and help build better relationships with your customers.
If you think OnDeck can help you achieve your hospitality business goals with a flexible short-term business loan, apply online or call us on 1800 676 652.