Before we begin let us understand what is customer loyalty and why it is important to a business. Customer loyalty refers to the likelihood that existing customers continue to opt for the same brand over a long period of time. Therefore, building customer loyalty is the most important part of online reputation management (ORM).
Why it is important to build customer loyalty?
Customer loyalty not only helps you to retain existing customers but also attract new customers. When people are loyal to your products and service they are more likely to recommend them to their family, friends and relatives. As a result, your customer base expands and your business starts to earn more revenue.
Hence, it is quite important to build customer loyalty in digital marketing. There are many ways to build customer loyalty. In this blog post, we are going to list the top 9 proven methods to build customer loyalty.
1. Know your customers
You want to build customer loyalty. For that to happen you need to know your customers and your customers need to know you. Doing so sets the things right on track. When you know your customer, remember them, next time when you have an interaction, fill in them with the details of the previous conversation.
When you remember the customer’s name and the last conversation, it shows how much you value them. Naturally, customers develop a positive emotion towards your brand. This positive emotion, in the long run, turns into brand loyalty. Here are some tips:
Send them birthday cards
Enquire about their kids taking their names
Show interests in their interests
2. Reward loyal customers
Rewarding a couple of existing loyal customers is a way to gain more loyal customers. Customers by nature love rewards. When they come to know the way you treat your loyal customers, they become more likely to turn into your loyal customers.
Rewards should be in the form of gift cards, coupons or punch cards. It will help you to lock your customers. Let us explain punch cards. You give a stamp on every purchase. When the customer collects five or ten stamps, give them something for free. This keeps the customer in the happy loop and develops loyalty. In the end, your customer gets something for free and you get a loyal customer.
3. Provide excellent customer service
The emotion which your customers have on your business largely depends on the quality of your customer service. Customer service has the capability to turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied customer. In other words, it can eliminate negative Google reviews and brings positive ones.
Do not commit the common mistake of using automated services to save money. Nobody likes to get standard replies from robots. It will spoil the entire customer experience. Hire someone with good communication skills to humanize the entire customer service.
4. Give a head start
In the second point, we have learnt about how giving rewards can build loyal customers. However, you can improve the efficiency of this method by offering the head start. Let us explain with an example.
Instead of giving something for free after the ten purchases, it is good to give on the first purchase and continue doing the same on every tenth purchase. This is called head start. Head start gains instant credibility and improves not only the chances of retaining the customer but also encourages them to buy.
In short, both brand loyalty and sales are improved.
5. Collect customer feedback
You can’t build customer loyalty unless and until you listen to your customers. Here are some ways to gather feedback.
Read online reviews on various review platforms
Track your brand mentions on social media using SMM tools
Give feedback forms
Send follow up emails with a link to feedback forms
Send SMS surveys
These feedbacks are opportunities to make make your customers loyal. Make the list of improvements that you need to make and work on them. With feedback, you will notice the evolution of your business.
6. Build your online reputation
Irrespective of the size of your business, online reputation is as fundamental as search engine optimization. Do not overlook your reputation. Having no reputation is worse than a bad reputation. Here are some tips or best practices to improve your online reputation.
Read online reviews
Identify fake reviews
Delete negative Google reviews
Respond to both negative and positive reviews
Do not get into an argument
Do not defend, and focus on fixing the problem
Do not hesitate to apologize publicly
Start blogging and show your expertise
Encourage your satisfied customer to leave a review
Try to improve the review count
7. Be kind
Now, this is going to look obvious, but still, many business owners ignore this point. Brand loyalty greatly depends on two things.
Quality of your products and services: Here there is no shortcut. If you want to have a great online reputation, if you want to build loyalty, you have to offer quality products and services.
Your behaviour: Behaviour of you and your employees collectively form an emotion in the heart of a customer. The more friendly and kind you are, the better it is for your business. So keep smiling, greeting, and helping your customers.
8. Provide valuable content
Customers are usually filled with queries and doubts. If you can provide content to solve their issues or answer their doubts, you are given them a reason to come back. Now, it is not a good idea to wait for the customer to get stuck in the problem to fill them with content.
You must plan ahead. That is you must make the list of all the probable issues faced by your customers in past and send the content to present customers in advance. By doing so, you are preventing them from committing some common mistakes.
9. Train your employees
So far we have discussed several methods to build customer loyalty. Convey your employees the same message and train them. After all, they are the ones who have more interactions with the customers than you.
Your reputation may not be as important to your employees as it is for you. Hence, it makes sense to make the training session more interesting and absorbing. Boring training sessions are a waste of time and money. Explain how training sessions help them on job and business. Further, give them a bonus for doing well.