9 Ways to Encourage Customer Loyalty and Retention

Published On June 6, 2017

Customer loyalty is crucial to a business’s success. Loyal customers spend more because they keep coming back, and they also provide free word of mouth for your business. Many companies are focused on chasing new customers, but it’s important to take the time to build loyalty with your existing customers. Implementing external marketing programs designed to attract new customers costs more and will often have less return on investment. Here are nine ways you can create meaningful relationships with your customers and keep them coming back for more.

1. Create a community

A key way to keep customers coming back is by creating a community they want to be a part of. This can be anything, from holding events where your customers can come together and mingle over food and drinks, to creating a neighbourhood board where customers can place their business cards and expand their network. Another way to create interaction is use customer service representatives to speak to customers, rather than automated phone systems, and connecting with people over Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. These types of strategies don’t cost much for business and are valued by your customers as they get something in return for their loyalty.

2. Keep customers in the loop

Customers want to know when you have special deals and new products out. You can inform your customers about your business and how you can help them through newsletters and greeting cards, either by post or email. Your website should also have an ‘about us’ page and should be updated frequently with any new information about the business.

3. Use promotional material

Not only can customers spread your message through word of mouth, they can be ambassadors for you brand. Giving out free promotional materials to your customers like shirts, pens, hats or bags, with your business’s branding on it, can make the customer feel valued and like they are getting something out of their loyalty to you, while also creating advertising for your brand. Albury Enviro Bags have a range of promotional materials from shopping bags, and bottle bags, to tote bags, school bags and cosmetic bags, with room for your business’s branding to be printed across the front.

4. Remember important dates

Another way to improve the relationship between your business and customers is to personalise their experience. Use your customer database to remember birthdays and anniversaries of when a customer first purchased from you, or became a member, and send them special messages or discounts on these dates. Make sure to always use their name when contacting them too, so they feel important. The more special the customer feels, the more likely they will be to return to your business.

5. Create pleasant experiences

This can be as simple as saying hello and goodbye when they come in and out of your stores. Customers remember their interactions with the people involved in a business, and are more likely to return for another pleasant experience. Other ways you can go the extra mile for your customers is by offering them free extras. Ask your customers what the purpose of their visit is, and see if you can do anything to help. If they are purchasing an item that is intended to be given as a gift, offer to gift wrap it for them free of charge. The additional value you can add will impress customers and keep your business at the front of their mind the next time they go shopping.

6. Be knowledgeable

It’s one thing to sell products, but it’s another thing to have extensive knowledge about what you’re selling. Having a good understanding of the industry means when a customer asks for your help, you are able to provide them with genuine and helpful advice and give them a sense of security when purchasing from your business. It also creates opportunities for upselling if you truly understand how you can meet a customer’s needs. The next time a customer, or their friends or family, have a problem, they will come straight to the experts to help them.

7. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer

The easiest way to understand how customers want to be treated is to be a customer yourself. Shop around at other stores and see what sort of interactions made you feel good and wanted you to spend more, and take note of what you didn’t like. Jump on competitor’s websites as well to see what sort of information they provide and what customer experiences they promote. You should also consider anticipating the needs of customers. As a consumer of the products of your business, what additions might they appreciate? What sort of deals would make them come back for more? The more your know about your customers, the happier you can make them.

8. Train your employees

It’s important that your employees care as much about your customers as you do. The best way to achieve this is to offer incentives to your employees to work harder. Create competitions for the number of sales, and use secret shoppers to review their buying experience to encourage your employees to focus on customer satisfaction. Again, customers appreciate pleasant experiences and interactions, and the more helpful and knowledgeable your employees are, the more likely customers will return.

9. Invest in the right customers

Build loyalty around loyalty. Say your business sells musical instruments and other related products. Often, you will have students come in to purchase their equipment, however occasionally you may have a music tutor. If you build a strong relationship with this music tutor, then they will recommend your business to all of their music students and their parents, building you a larger community. This is why getting to know your customers is so important.

Retain your customers

Repeat customers are your best customers. While spending time and money on attracting new customers is important, there are plenty of cheap ways you can satisfy your existing customer base and keeping them coming back time and time again. Designing your own personalised promotional material bags with Albury Enviro Bags is both better for the environment (as it discourages the use of plastic bags) and also a great way to keep your business at the forefront of your customer’s minds.