Building Loyalty: Tips for Making and Maintaining Happy Customers
Keeping customers is one of the most challenging things about running a business. However, if you can improve your customer retention, you’ll save time and money.
On average, it costs about five times more to acquire new customers than it does to retain current customers. Focusing your marketing dollars and time to build loyalty is going to pay off much better in the long run.
How do you make happy customers that keep coming back? It starts with you and how you treat your customers in a few critical areas.
Do What You Say
First things first: keep your promises.
Customers can quickly sniff out a company that doesn’t honor its policies. Whatever you promise for a sale, a service, or a return, make sure you follow through exactly as promised.
- On the one hand, you want to demonstrate that you care about your customers. Righting a wrong or working with a customer to make sure they have what they need goes a long way.
- On the other hand, unhappy customers love to tell everyone. Your reputation is always at stake. Customer satisfaction goes a long way toward earning positive reviews and customer referrals.
Offering a steadfast return policy is an excellent way to ensure your customers are happy. No one wants to live with a product that doesn’t work or isn’t what they expected.
Don’t make customers work too hard to return a product. If it’s an easy process for them to communicate with you and receive a satisfactory solution, they’ll keep you in mind for future purchases.
Customers love good communication. Whether it’s an update about tracking for an order or a heads up about special offers, providing consistent communication is part of making customers happy.
Sometimes waiting too long to reach out is enough to lose a customer. Proactive communication keeps you top of mind with customers.
Be careful not to spam email inboxes with too many messages. Communicating too frequently is an easy way to make customers unsubscribe and shop somewhere else.
However, don’t wait until a customer reaches out to you. Follow-up after a sale or service. Send exclusive offers to current customers. Ask for feedback instead of waiting for a customer to come back to you.
When a customer reaches out to you or leaves a comment on your website or social media pages, respond promptly. Don’t wait more than 24 hours to respond to a customer message.
Putting off a response to a complaint or failing to resolve a situation quickly turns customers off. A complaint doesn’t go away if you ignore it. Great companies respond to every legitimate issue with prompt apologies and a resolution.
This goes for good comments, too! Acknowledge a customer who posts a positive review or sends a grateful email.
Listen to Feedback
If you’re communicating regularly with customers, you’ll get plenty of feedback. It’s critical to listen to feedback and react in positive ways.
You don’t have to do everything that every customer suggests. You’ll know when you’re getting useful feedback that can help the customer experience rather than people wanting changes to try and get more out of you.
With the feedback that requires action, make sure your customers feel heard. Tell them you’re considering what they have to say and you’ll get back to them.
When customers feel heard, they feel valued!
Customers love receiving something for nothing! They also love gifts for engaging in social media or other contests.
Be selective and strategic when offering discounts or gifts. The right incentives or thank-you gifts at the right time can help you keep loyal customers longer.
It’s essential to avoid creating a customer base that only purchases when there’s a discount or free offer. You don’t want customers who are solely motivated by what you give them.
However, with genuinely loyal customers and fans, a gift or reward goes a long way if it has perceived value. Rewards don’t have to be expensive. Prioritize thoughtful rewards over expensive gimmicks to keep customers.
Consider things like an exclusive discount, free shipping for VIP customers, or special occasion gifts. Give according to the season. Branded corporate Christmas gifts for your best customers not only makes them feel special, it’s good advertising for your brand.
Say, “Thank You”
If you can’t offer gifts, that’s okay! Start with what you can do.
Thanking your customers might seem obvious, but it’s easy to overlook. You can get caught up in chasing sales, shipping orders, and working on other aspects of your business. You might think you thanked your customers without really doing it.
The words “thank you” go a long way toward happy customers. If you’re wondering how to keep customers in one of the simplest, more cost-effective ways, being thankful for their purchase is simple and meaningful.
They won’t know it if you don’t tell them, but it’s important to do it right. Thanking customers—personally and individually—without asking for another purchase in your thank-you message is a powerful way to engage with customers.
Feeling appreciated helps customers come back for more.
Be the Expert
If you sell something or provide a service, be the expert. Customers are more likely to buy from companies that know what they’re doing.
People don’t always know what they need. When you can provide options or the solution they need, they’ll remember that you’re an expert.
Being the go-to expert can lead to more customer referrals, too.
Happy Customer Keep Coming Back!
If you’re losing customers or your business survives on one-off purchases, try focusing on what you can do to make happy customers.
It might not be about anything you’re doing wrong. It could be a matter of what more you can do right.
The more happy customers you have, the better success you’ll have for your business. Be sure to check out some of our articles about marketing and promoting your business to build your customer base.