How many times does a customer have to buy from your store for you to consider them to be loyal?
Twice? Thrice? What’s your magic number?
Well, 37% of customers believe that they have to buy from a brand at least five times for them to consider themselves loyal.
And we both know that it takes more than just a great product or service to bring them back more than once after their first purchase, right?
And assuming you’ve got a great product that your customers love, you’ve won half the battle.
Now let’s win the other half by looking at four proven ways to help you increase customer loyalty.
Let’s get started.
1. Meet your potential customers halfway
Selling products with all the features your customers want (and need) is great, but their path to purchase is equally important. 73% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. How well your marketing campaign meets these needs and expectations will determine whether they’ll be loyal or not.
Your potential customers need information about the products they want to buy. And they expect you to deliver this information using channels that are convenient for them to consume it.
The channels they’ve been using to find information about these products are evolving. To meet your customers halfway, revisit their buyer’s journey to know where they get stuck.
Identify the information they need, and the format in which they want to consume it. Then, deliver it to them on their favorite channels. As you do this, you’re improving their experience by reducing the number of obstacles they need to get through to learn about your products, making it easier for them to buy and stay loyal.
Say, for instance, you’re targeting customers who are at the evaluation stage on their buyer’s journey. They’ll want to know what your product offers and how it stands out from other options they’re considering.
Running ads on their favorite social media channels then and sending them to a dedicated landing page is an ideal way to deliver the information they need.
On your landing page, allow your visitors to create a free account and utilize premium features that will help them decide if the product is right for them, just like FreshBooks does below:
Besides, this allows you to gather leads and nurture them by sending personalized emails till they’re ready to buy from you.
Alternatively, if you want to build awareness for your products, then you want to identify channels that your potential customers are using to consume content. In addition to blog posts, podcasts are becoming popular, given that you can tune in to listen as you go about your day, which is a convenient way to consume content.
In 2018, 75 million people tuned in to listen to a podcast show every month and by 2024, this number will grow to 164 million listeners. Two-thirds of these listeners will either visit a store to learn more about the product recommendations they hear on shows or even buy depending on where they are on their buying journey.
2. Improve the quality of customer service
Quality of customer service is relative. What inspires loyalty in one customer might not be what will inspire loyalty in another. For example, 27% of customers attribute their biggest frustration with customer service teams to lack of effectiveness while 12% argue that lack of speed makes them feel frustrated.
In addition to speed, accuracy, and effectiveness, how your team handles customers and the tools you use also matter.
As you serve your customers, you want to make sure that you collect feedback after each interaction to identify their level of satisfaction and what element of customer service made them happy (or unhappy).
Doing this will help you strike a balance between each element and anticipate your customers’ needs then position yourself to meet them.
For example, Joy Organics has different stores. Customers want to know where they’re located, so speed and accuracy are important. A store locator on their website helps customers know where to find the stores near them to go and buy CBD products:
3. Diversify your customer loyalty programs
In an industry where customers can switch from one retailer to another with ease, loyalty programs have come in to help you retain your customers. Depending on the loyalty program you have, it is expensive for them to switch from your brand to another because of what they’re going to lose in the process.
However, the pace at which brands are replicating each other’s loyalty programs makes 78% of millennials eager to buy from brands that have better loyalty programs.
So instead of going with a referral or a point based program, consider diversifying what you’re offering in your loyalty program to align with what your customers want.
Talk to your existing customers to understand what motivates them to stay loyal. Is it a charitable course that you support? The brands you partner with? The relationships they have built with other customers? Whatever it is, make sure you know then use it to show your new customers. For example, Aura has a vibrant Facebook community of wholesale resellers who exchange ideas on how to do better and make more sales.
Here’s an example of what inspires Aura customers’ loyalty:
In their case, they’ll need to include their community as part of their loyalty program. No one can replicate a vibrant community that your customers find valuable.
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4. Embrace transparency
Customers are increasingly identifying themselves with the brands they buy from. 62% of your customers want to know what your brand stands for to help them decide if they’re going to stay loyal or not.
One way to be transparent and connect with your customers at the same time is to share your story. Include where you started, the challenges you faced, your point of no return, and how your journey shaped the values and beliefs you have today.
In his story, LMNT’s cofounder, Robb Wolf does this by explaining how he started. Here’s how he captures each of these elements:
- Where he started: A desire to improve his performance and health.
- Challenges he faced: Trying different carb ratios that did not improve his performance. And products in the market had too much sugar or didn’t have the right electrolytes.
- Point of no return: He discovered that he needed to pay attention to his electrolyte intake. It was all he needed to be successful.
- Values and beliefs: Having a healthy diet with the proper balance of electrolytes is important.
In addition to sharing your story, you need to be consistent with your values, both in word and deed. If your actions are not consistent with what you stand for, 48% of consumers will call you out.
Here’s a classic example:
Another way to embrace transparency is to display your customer reviews, both good and bad. For example, Preply displays the reviews each of their Spanish instructors get to allow potential customers to make an informed decision before working with an instructor.
What your customers say about you reflects how well you’re living up to the promises you’ve made in your story.
Increasing customer loyalty doesn’t need to be hard, nor should you spend a lot of time and money doing it.
If you focus your time and the resources you have on what we’ve talked about above, you’ll improve your retention rates, increase your revenue and spend less on marketing because happy customers are going to talk about you to other customers.
So, out of these four ways, which one stood out for you?
Is it meeting your customers halfway, embracing transparency, diversifying your loyalty programs, or improving the quality of customer service?
If you haven’t picked any yet or you’re still unsure about where to start, go back and identify what resonates with you then start implementing it in your store.
You’ll be glad you did it.