10 Ways to Build and Nurture Customer Loyalty
This article will discuss how to build a customer experience that will make your audience so dedicated to your products that they won’t leave, even if a new competitor appears claiming better or cheaper services, because you’ve become an integral part of their lives.
#1: Manage Customer Expectations to Your Benefit
If you can manage customer expectations, you can manage customer relationships. By overpromising and under delivering, you set your business up to fail.
Overestimate the time it will take to develop and deliver your products. That way, your customers will be pleasantly surprised if it arrives before they thought it would! When managing expectations, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Many delays will happen that are well beyond your control, but your customer may not see it that way. You can prevent this customer dissatisfaction by controlling expectations.
#2: Build a Transparent Reputation
Customers will forgive your business’s mistakes, if you fix them. The faster, the better. A company that is honest and shows their vulnerability will gain a customer’s sympathy. Of course you want to prevent mistakes, especially if it’s dealing with security issues such as private data. If handled correctly, any mistake can actually garner your business more respect.
If your business makes a mistake, be honest, apologize, and find ways you can improve and ensure the issue is never repeated. While loyalty does come from repeated reliable experiences, loyalty can also come from a brand proving that it can be adaptable, responsive, and actionable. Customers will appreciate if your business proves that even if something goes wrong in the consumer’s experience, you will make it right. This will encourage them to take risks despite concerns and fears because they have your reliable support.
#3: Synergize the Earliest Customers
The most valuable customers of your entire business aren’t the millions you’ll have when you’re a seven-figure business; it’s the earliest core customers that will provide you the leverage to grow your audience through word of mouth. If you have strong first customers, your brand can grow exponentially no matter how small your audience is at the beginning. Take advantage of the early birds by giving them advantages and the best customer experience they’ve ever had. Before you know it, they’ll be sharing your brand.
Not only will these customers provide your best reviews, but, without external marketing, other customers will come from them.
#4: Build Trust with 100% Return Guarantees
Trust plays the biggest role in customer loyalty. Having a money-back guarantee pushes a customer on the fence from uncertainty into a buyer willing to take a risk. Mitigating customer fears will increase purchases. If you’ve managed customer expectations by advertising a product honestly, offering a money-back guarantee should be easy. The less anxiety and more confidence a customer has in your user experience, the more likely they are to return.
Keep innovating because no matter how innovative your product is, with technology changing every day, your product will become outdated. If adaptation is integrated into your business strategy, you can build a company that will outlive its products. The biggest mistake you can make is having a short-sighted business plan.
#5: Why Personalized Thank Yous Work
Heartfelt and personal thank-you cards are not only for your friends and family; they can be a powerful source of positive emotion to transfer from your company to customers. Not only will your business stand out as unique in the customer’s mind, but they will also have a card that they won’t know what to do with, so they’ll stick it on top of the fireplace or pin it to the fridge. This will keep your brand in their minds and in their homes. What could be more personal than that?
If you only have their email, send a personalized e-card. Make sure it has an authentic tone and isn’t pushing a sale. Using 1CRM and Lead Guerrilla, you can create campaigns to send automated personalized e-mails or decorative e-cards to your customers at specific times, in an effortless and trackable way. People are responding ever increasingly stronger to videos.
As we mentioned in last week’s article, videos are getting more engagement than regular posts. Send a customized video message to clients so they can see your face. There’s a reason celebrities are so popular. People respond well to characters. Showcase the human team behind your business to connect with customers so they feel like you’re someone they know. Taking the time to connect with customers in this way will pay off in the long run as clients will remember you.
#6: Incorporate Customer Feedback
Customers will appreciate a business that collects feedback, such as through surveys or complaint forms, and implements features and strategies directly based on customer complaints and suggestions.
Your audience is the best and most affordable source of quality assurance, as through reviews and messages they will provide instant reactions to your product and user experience. No matter the planning and testing you do, your customers will find development ideas that you won’t have thought of.
Recurring problems hurt customer retention, so incorporate customer feedback to ensure each time they return their experience only improves. Your business doesn’t have to be perfect for customers to appreciate the improvements you add for them.
Be proactive and solve issues you find before the next customer experiences them. But we have to acknowledge that no business will ever be complaint free, so it’s important to note that 95% of complaining customers are likely to purchase with you again if the problem is solved in their favor.
#7: Make the Experience Fun with a Human Element
If a customer experiences joy with your business experience, their attitude toward your product will increase in positivity. Showing the human side of your business, including humor and, as we’ll discuss further, vulnerability, will help customers see you less like a company behind an unreachable wall and more like a service they feel like is part of their daily life. This will inevitably increase customer trust.
Take opportunities during holidays and especially on less serious social media to join trending conversations and show that your team is more than its product. If a customer can see themselves in your team and understand your language, they will relate to your brand.
Participate in a charity marathon, participate in hashtags, and share team progress. People want to do business with humans, not robots. Your customers will mirror the content and emotion you evoke. By showing your experience, you can create their experience.
#8: Support a Related Charity
Your company giving back to a community or a charity will benefit your business. Find a cause that has a connection to your business or service. Because your audience is connected to the field, they will want to support a related nonprofit.
Especially if millenials are part of your target market, giving back is a large part of a customer’s values. Supporting causes also helps spread your brand and attract customers. You can build relationships with people who care about your field. At the same time you’ll build brand equity and move into new markets.
Pay it forward to causes and customers, and they will return the favor in loyalty, as you’ll be providing more than just a service.
#9: Fast and Specific Customer Service
Customer service can be the biggest use of your company’s budget, and there’s good reason for that. You can quickly lose customers with bad service.
If you ever had an early job in telemarketing, you were probably told to pick up the phone before the fourth ring. You can use similar tactics in your own business today.
Follow up with customer complaints or inquiries within a few hours, making sure to show you’ve understood the problem. Use personable language, mirror their phrases, and get to the point.
Monitor social media by following and replying to accounts that follow or engage with your posts. Especially if your social media following is small. There’s nothing wrong with following all of your customers as you’re gaining traction. In fact, the more you follow, the more accounts you’ll be connected to in your social media platform’s algorithm.
We all know the dread of calling or sending a support ticket to a company that we’ve contacted before and had to jump through hoops to get a long-winded response. Don’t let your customers experience that same dread.
Humans aren’t complicated creatures. We all have the same needs we want fulfilled, and your company is meeting one or more of those needs. One human need is to feel valued. Go one step above that and make customers feel important by responding to their messages quickly and with detailed attention.
Although it depends on your business, like fast food compared to a high-end restaurant, overall the best customer service isn’t exceptional or unique: it’s direct and fast.
#10: Offer Automation for Fast Service
While personalization can help build brand and customer relationships, there will be a large subset of your audience that is open to automation and in fact prefers the fastest albeit automated response to their query. Don’t worry about losing a personal touch, especially if you offer both options for talking to human support staff and using automation.
Chatbots can help you cut costs if your small business can’t afford human representatives available at all times but still wants to have support available to customers 24/7. As reported by Lee Resource Inc, 95% of complaining customers will return to your business if you resolve the complaint instantly.
You will have 2 types of customers reaching out to customer support: self-sufficient and seekers of help, just like people choosing self-checkout versus a grocery clerk. Your business should have options for both of these clients. Chatbots are useful to shorten the contact time for a customer to reach a representative, as a long wait time will certainly reduce customer satisfaction.
Gathering contacts in hopes that they eventually become loyal clients can be a large task for your business. But with enough research into what’s worked in the past for businesses to grow from startups to profitable companies with loyal fans, you can do it, too. You can’t get famous overnight, but by gaining a few dedicated customers in the early days of your business, you are taking the first step to becoming the next big company in your field.