We all want to know how to build customer loyalty as a small business. There is simply nothing more important for a small business (or indeed any business) than customers, and because there is only a finite number of customers, every business needs their customers to come back again and again. So how does a small business keep their customers and build up loyalty?
Customer loyalty means that you are not spending too much time trying to attract customers but spending that valuable time looking after the customers you already have; building a strong customer base and standing out from your customers.
Build customer loyalty by making your customer feel special
An important way to build loyalty with your customers is to make them feel special, and the way to do this is through your customer service. From the moment they first contact you, they should feel like you’re treating them with respect, in a professional manner at all times.
When you are lucky to have customers who are local to you, you should take the time to get to know them. Understand them, get to know them personally, understand that they can easily go elsewhere.
The largest of businesses look after their customers by rewarding them, offer them a free gift if they spend a certain amount with you or have been with you for some time. Perhaps create a loyalty card scheme; each time they use your business their card is stamped or points are added to it.
The reward could be anything depending on your business; if you’re a coffee shop offer them a coffee, a haircut if you’re a salon, maybe some extra consultation work free of charge. It really is up to you to decide which.
But one thing to remember; no point in giving a reward if your customer service is not up to par. The biggest reward you can give to loyal customers is amazing customer service.
If you don’t look after a customer, someone else will.Every successful business
Getting your customers involved
It’s always a good idea to make your customers feel involved in the evolution of your business. This makes them feel like you put your customers first and aren’t just interested in making money at any cost.
A good way to do this is to hold some sort of event, formal or otherwise, perhaps a coffee morning or even an activity of some kind. Perhaps an open day with a buffet, show them some of the workings of your business, ask them if you could do something in a different way or introduce a new product, etc.
A suggestion box is a great way to get feedback from your customers, if you are online then perhaps have a form where they can leave suggestions, perhaps even a poll. The more regularly you do this the better connected you will be with your customers. All of these show your customers that you are willing to go a long way to listen to them and appreciate their loyalty.
Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.Chip R Bell
Improving the customer experience
Improving the way you interact with your customers; the way you sell or deal with inquiries is essential to building customer loyalty. Some things are a given: all products always in stock, reliable service, whether that is the time taken to answer a query or completing deliveries on time or meeting set deadlines. Maintaining your high quality of service or product and showing yourself to be an expert in your industry are also crucial factors.
An expert understanding of your goods or service means that you are able to help and advise your customers should any question arise. Having knowledge of any service or product you don’t offer but which falls into your industry is seen as the ultimate expertise.
Build a community on social media
Everyone is on social media, your potential customers as well as your current customers. So it makes sense to be where your customers are. Regular posting, answering questions when they arise, and dealing with all posts in a professional and courteous manner are all crucial to building a community of followers on social media, and there is no doubt that a loyal social media following can take your business to unimaginable heights.