7 Tips to Build Real Customer Loyalty
Posted on November 7, 2018 by Danny Leffel
For your business to be effective, sustainable, and recognizable, you must build and maintain customer loyalty. People choose to return to a restaurant, retail store, construction company, or other business because they feel valued. Repeat customers are essentially free advertising, but it takes an effort to build these relationships. By improving your customer retention, even by a small amount, you could significantly increase your profits. If you’re looking to gain customer love and improve customer experience in your business, try implementing the following tips.
1. Know Your Customers
Use all the data available to you to better know your customers’ wants and needs. You can collect this information by providing feedback cards at the dining table or collecting email addresses during check-out. Make it fun by running a business card competition to collect even more information. From behavioral data and web analytics to offline engagements, there is a never-ending supply of data to help you craft customer interactions. Retain as much information about your customers as possible.
Even if your business is a small local coffee shop, try to think like a big business. Create spreadsheets with the information you’ve collected and act on the insights you’ve gained. Such research can drive targeted marketing campaigns and encourage brand loyalty.
2. Personalize Your Interactions
It’s important to know your customer, but it is equally important for your customer to know you. Customers are more likely to transition into regular and loyal customers when they feel valued. To show your customers how much they mean to you, you can develop triggered email campaigns for special events, like birthday messages or sales. This will also help you manage rewards programs, personal messaging, and customer data.
Act on the data you collect about existing customers and incorporate your market research for new customers. Personalizing this information will keep your restaurant or retail shop on the top of their minds. Doing so will also help you build your brand, which is an essential business step.
If you have high-value customers, take time to write personalized notes. Remember names and personal details (keep this in your database) to show how much you care about their loyalty. If you come across something that would interest them, especially if it relates to your field of business, send them a personal email or give them a call. Frequent communication with your clientele to share important information on a regular basis will keep you fresh in their minds.
3. Define Roles and Responsibilities
One of the main reasons people stop returning to a company is because they believe you don’t care about them as a customer. Maintaining positive, encouraging interactions with customers is therefore essential for building customer loyalty. Show customers that you care and train your employees to reflect this attitude. Studies show that having happy employees may lead to happy customers, so be sure to lead by example.
Most customers have short attention spans. Your brand, menu, and any specials should be present daily in a highly visible manner. This could be done with your loyalty programs, through marketing messages, or social media.
4. Maintain Positive Team Morale
First impressions are crucial. When a customer walks into your restaurant, for example, they should always experience the best service you have to offer.
One way to enhance morale, and thus improve productivity, is to focus on team management and team communication. Apps like Crew can help greatly with this. In today’s busy world, it’s important to prioritize communication for effective leadership. Happy employees create positive work environments, which customers can easily recognize. Better communication within the company can help you build customer loyalty and enhance your company’s workspace.
Improved team communication can help set standards for customer interactions, such as expectations for speed and courtesy when employees communicate with customers.
5. Identify Weaknesses Affecting Customer Service
Your employees are the face of your company. A new customer will often base their opinion of your product on their interaction with your staff, so it’s imperative that customer service is given a high priority. Consider training your staff to handle all kinds of difficult situations and to engage in productive customer service techniques.
Do your research to ensure you have reliable suppliers. It’s important to develop strong relationships with suppliers, who may help you out in a crisis. If you work in the restaurant industry, make sure there are several quality checks of your products, during and between the arrival of ingredients, food preparation, and plating. This will prevent small problems from becoming big complications.
Of course, it’s important to not only recognize weaknesses in your business processes. You also need to address the problems and be proactive in preventing future issues. Establish systems that will help you manage and cross-check your business activities.
6. Create a Loyalty Program
Everyone loves to earn rewards. If you sell a product or engage in regular exchanges with repeat customers, consider developing a reward system. A loyalty program could be in the form of a punch card for regular purchases or points for dollar values. When your loyal customers reach a certain level, they could be gifted with a percentage off or a free item or service. Having a reward system is a good way to have customers return to your business instead of going to a café down the street.
Simplify communication and turn up teamwork!
Improve team communication and scheduling all in one place. Manage schedules and shift covers without the hassle, stay organized and informed and save time with Crew.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have enough customer support to run a rewards program, try sending coupons or codes for discounts by mail, social media, text message, or email. Emphasize that the deal you’re providing is exclusive and only for customers receiving that particular coupon.
7. Encourage Feedback
If you’re hoping to boost customer loyalty, you also need to boost customer satisfaction. The best way to understand what makes people happy is to ask! Good reviews on a public forum can also drive new customers and increase existing customer retention.
Ask for reviews in person, through email, or on social media. When appropriate, publicly address any issues a customer has had and how you resolved them. Transparency is key in this process. Collecting feedback is also an excellent way to better know your clientele, which will help drive future marketing and communication campaigns.
By focusing on customer needs, you’ll develop effective customer relationship management. Customers are valuable for many reasons, and return customers should be held in high regard. For one, your business won’t survive without customers. Existing customers provide word-of-mouth advertising and save you money on marketing. They are usually open to trying your new products once they’ve gotten to know your brand. If you’re willing to invest the time and energy to try these tips, you’re likely to gain more loyal customers and improve your business overall.