build customer loyalty with loyalty programs

7 ways to build customer loyalty

In increasingly competitive markets, it is paramount to have loyal long-term customers. Loyal customers are likely to spend more per transaction, become brand ambassadors and provide valuable feedback.

It can be five times more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. It is just as imperative to invest in retaining existing customers as it is to acquire new ones. The best way to retain customers is through building long-term customer loyalty

In this blog, we will look at seven ways you can build customer loyalty for your company.

Why do you need customer loyalty?

First, it is important to realise why customer loyalty is important and a few reasons why businesses should consider building it.

Repeat business – The obvious one. Loyal customers are most likely to keep coming back to purchase from your business. A loyal customer will choose your brand, even in a competitive market as well as making up a large portion of total revenue.

Brand Ambassadors – The most loyal customers can become brand ambassadors. Often for free. Brand ambassadors can be customers who really enjoy your products may engage in word-of-mouth marketing and endorse your brand for free. This can help your brand reach a wider audience.

Getting feedback – Often the most loyal customer provides the most comprehensive feedback. Constructive feedback is important for businesses looking to improve their services. Loyal customers can help improve products as well as enter new market areas.

Now that you know why you need it, here are seven ways you can build customer loyalty.

1.    Rewards program

Firstly, using loyalty programs can build customer loyalty by encouraging repeat purchases. This method allows you to reward your most loyal and dependable customers, further incentivising customers to keep spending.

Loyalty rewards programs allow customers to accumulate points when they make purchases through your store. After earning a certain number of points, it allows the customer to redeem them for a reward.

Businesses across various industries, from coffee shops and supermarkets to e-commerce stores, have some type of customer loyalty or rewards programs. A rewards programme offers businesses an effective and easy way to build customer loyalty. In addition to this, rewards programs also allow businesses to collect invaluable customer behaviour data for targeted advertising purposes.

Tesco Clubcard is one of the first and most successful reward programmes.

2.    Providing excellent customer service

Secondly, and perhaps the trickiest of all, you can use excellent customer service to build brand loyalty. Customer service is the provision of support to both prospective and existing customers. Excellent customer service can enhance business reputation, provide a competitive advantage and most importantly, build customer loyalty.

Data suggests. 89% of consumers switch to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. This highlights the importance the need for maintaining high levels of customer service.

Amazon is often ranked as the company with the best customer service in the UK. This is one of the few reasons behind its enormous customer loyalty. Customers will inevitably have issues with a product or service, and businesses need to resolve these as effectively as possible.

3.    Exceed expectations

Customer satisfaction should be the bare minimum. It is even more important to achieve levels of customer delight that they will praise enthusiastically. By exceeding customer expectations, your customers will remember how well they were treated, and hopefully become loyal customers.

There are many ways to exceed expectations. For example, creating an attractive website can boost your brand’s appeal and encourage repeat business.

4.    Present your values

Customers are more likely to be loyal to brands that hold similar values. According to a report, 71% of customers prefer buying from companies aligned with their values. This highlights the importance of communicating your company values to your customers.

When a group of customers strongly align themselves with a brand’s values, they are likely to be your most loyal customers, this will help grow your business through word-of-mouth advertising and express their support for the business model.

For example, Nike has expressed equality to be among its core values. This has resonated with consumers around the world and is an example of an effective method of a company building customer loyalty using its values.

build customer loyalty by sharing values
Nike has expressed equality to one of its core values

5.    Ask for reviews

Asking for customer feedback and reviews is often underlooked by businesses. By asking for customer feedback, it shows you care about customer opinions, provides ideas to improve products or service and most importantly, learn what your customers like and dislike.

Customer satisfaction surveys, social media activity and online reviews can all be used as feedback when improving your service. Negative reviews are not great to see, but they can help you identify what areas you need improvement.

6.    Encourage referrals

Refer your friend and you both get £10 off your next ride. This was the secret sauce behind Uber’s rapid growth and expansion.

Referral codes are unique to each customer and users can send these to their friends and families to sign up for a service. Implementing a ‘Refer a Friend’ program is an effective way to reward current customers, gain new customers and reach out to a wider audience. By using the dual-sided reward model, consumers do not have many reasons to not sign-up. It’s a win-win.

However, this does come at a considerable short-term expense as each new user will be provided with a service costing a business a small loss. When executed well, it provides existing customers with value in return for their referral, so they will feel more obligated to stay with your company.

Uber and Lyft used referral programs to grow their business, reach out to new markets and build customer loyalty.

7.    Email Marketing

Who doesn’t love a great deal? Click here if you would like to receive email newsletters with our latest promotions.

Finally, using the simple solution of email marketing, you can easily build customer loyalty. Providing discount codes and special offers through emails is one of the easiest ways to keep customers coming back. Customers are likely to engage with your emails and make repeat purchases, especially if they are happy with the quality of service. The most loyal customers will want to sign up for the newsletter so you should always have this option available.

However, it is important to recognise that customers do not want to be bombarded with junk. Excessive emails could potentially even harm customer loyalty, so it is crucial to find the right balance.

Summary

At the end of the day, high levels of customer loyalty shows that customers like something about your company. As a result, these customers will buy from you repeatedly and help develop your business further. After building a connection with your current customers, they will continue to support your brand and endorse your company to friends and family.

Using each method above, you can slowly build up a loyal customer base. It is a gradual but worthwhile process, benefiting your business in many ways. It can help protect your business against competition which is ever so important in the ever so competitive marketplaces.