5 Factors That Drive Customer Loyalty
By Jane Garfinkel - Review Response Specialist
At Widewail, we understand that running a local business means juggling a lot at once. Employees need to be supervised, budgets need to be calculated, deals need to be closed, and floors need to be swept. Of all the things a business owner has to focus on, earning customer loyalty should be the top priority. Loyal customers form the base of your profits, reduce overall marketing costs, and represent your brand wherever they go. Basically, they keep the lights on and the doors open. But what turns a one-time guest into a longtime patron? Read on below to find out.
1. Consistently Great Products
This may seem obvious, but providing a quality product to your customer is the first step to earning their long-term business. They need to know that when they hand over their hard-earned money they are going to receive something of equal value in return, or else why would they come back? Stocking your store with high-quality products means more than making a second sale: with every positive experience someone has at your store or on your website, their trust in your company will grow. Eventually, they will begin to depend on your business and won’t hesitate before making a purchase.
2. The Little Extras
You’ve got the basics down, now what? It’s time to tackle the small details that aren’t listed under your company’s description, but that modern-day customers have come to expect. Think through your typical guest’s entire visit, from when they reach your property to when they leave, and imagine how their visit could be made more satisfying. This might mean adding additional seating to your facilities, cleaning your restrooms more often, or even offering free snacks. Safe parking and accessible entrances are especially important to folks who are differently-abled. Be sure that people want to spend time at your store, not just go home with their purchase.
3. Personalized Customer Service
We may have said this once or twice before, but customer service is key. Whether you are working with customers in person or communicating online, demonstrate that they are valued as an individual, not just as a sale. Everyone who comes to your store should be welcomed with a smile. For scheduled appointments, make sure that your team is prepared with the guest’s information ready and greets them by name. Similarly, having a chatbot on your website is fine, but an actual human should do the responding. If you use email reminders to alert customers to upcoming sales and new products, take care that they are only sent to customers who have opted in to marketing materials. Another way to extend personalized service beyond the brick-and-mortar is by responding to your online reviews. In fact, your guests have come to expect it.
Customers will return to your store once or twice if they’ve had a great sales experience, but they will come back for life if they feel like they’re part of the brand. Creating a community is a never-ending process and may seem daunting to the busy business owner. The best place to start is with your social media. Posting photos of your staff at birthday celebrations or to commend the Salesperson of the Month invites your customers to be part of the team. Sharing other behind-the-scenes content, like renovation plans or upcoming product launches, allows your customers to feel as excited as you do. User-generated content, such as a five-star review or a photo of them with their brand new car, is another great option for getting your guests involved.
5. Listening to Feedback
We understand that it can be disheartening to receive constructive criticism or a negative review. It’s also one of the best ways to improve. You are trying to impress your customers, after all, so their feedback is what truly matters. Ensure that reported issues are investigated and that steps are taken to prevent similar mistakes from occurring again. Follow-up with the unhappy customers and demonstrate that changes have been made. Responding to them in a timely, professional manner is a great first step to improving the relationship, and might even be enough to earn back their business. Most importantly, taking every unsuccessful service experience as a learning opportunity means your business will only continue to improve, and future guests will be that much more impressed.
As tempting as it is, don’t simply concentrate on the sale in front of you. If you focus on the long game, keep an eye on the details, and make efforts to improve, you will earn your customers’ business for life.