Everyone knows that keeping your customers loyal to your brand is paramount to the success of any business, but not everyone knows how to keep their customers the right way. In many instances, I have seen business owners turn it around to deliberately drive away customers they should be keeping. These mistakes are fairly common.
The processes and ways of keeping your customers loyal to your business or brand are referred to as customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is one of the surest ways to increase your business brand image. First, it helps keep old customers by improving their satisfaction with your business/brand. Next, satisfied customers are more likely to bring in more customers via recommendations and passive referrals.
In this post, I will show you 10 new insightful ways to keep your customers loyal to your business/brand, whether you are at the start-up stage or already getting some significant recognition. I have applied some of these tips in my own personal business ventures, with a good level of success.
Common things occur commonly. So, I will make it as simplified as possible for everyone to understand it. In keeping your customers loyal to you, the first thing you need to know is that it’s all about adding value to your customers as they come in contact with you. There is no other magical way to make your customers stay permanently glued to you than being at your best to them.
Ways to keep your customers loyal to your business/brand
1. Be cheerful and welcoming
If you do not create a welcoming environment for your customers to trade with you, you lose them even before you get the chance to keep them. Your brand environment is not the place where you want to introduce bias and prejudice or act in a way that is judgmental to your customers.
You also need to be cheerful around your customers. Be less suspicious and more trustworthy to allow your customers some freedom when they are around. Trusting your customers can make them extremely loyal to your brand. However, this trust does not equate to a lack of surveillance against theft, don’t get me wrong.
If you don’t deal directly with your customers, ensure to employ agents or workers that are courteous, friendly and kindhearted as this goes a long way to keeping your existing customers and bringing more customers to patronize your brand.
2. Putting their interests first
One of the greatest tips I have applied in keeping my customers in my business is by putting their interests first. They didn’t say the customer is always right for no reason. When there is a conflict of interest between you and the customer, be careful to address it in your customer’s favour even if it costs you some money. Let your customer’s interests come first, that way, you would be able to keep your existing customers glued to your business and even make them drive more customers to you.
3. Be open to their questions and complaints
It is not uncommon for customers to have problems with your products or services. These could be due to poor knowledge about the product or service, or to some unexpected errors with your product. Either way, you need to be open to answering their queries about your products and services. Many companies that provide exclusive customer care services to their customers are some of the largest and fastest-growing companies in existence today.
By making your customers feel like they can get any answer to their questions and complaints about your products and/or services, they are more likely to be loyal to you and your brand than if you don’t. Providing help for your customers with your products and/or services makes it easy for them to work with them, and everyone likes it when it gives them ease.
4. Give them additional value
If the only thing you provide to your customers is your product and/or service, you are better off than nobody else. You definitely are not the only one doing the type of work you do, but you can separate yourself from the crowd by doing more than you are required to do.
Someone once told me, “No one awards you for doing what you are expected to do. They do so when you go beyond and above the job specifications”. This also applies to you and your business. You have to look for additional things you can do to improve your customers’ daily and career life, or any aspect of their lives related to your products or the kind of services you render.
For instance, you can provide your customers with extra information about a related topic in addition to what you have to offer them. Also, by showing them respect, kindness, and love, you make them feel better about their life and self. No one runs away from where they get these, I mean the extras, because not everyone goes this length.
Lastly, promotional offers, bonuses, vouchers, incentives, and others like these are important to reinforce your customers’ relationship with you and your brand. These may seem like small things but when done with a pure conscience, can keep your customers loyal to you and your brand.
5. Encourage feedback
How do you know a brand that is most likely to fail? It does not care what the customers think or say. The customers might seem like the most passive component of your business but they are the most powerful factors that you need to understand and exploit. Your customers might continue to stay with you when there is no alternative, but once there is an alternative or a better one, you can easily lose their loyalty. This is why you need to listen to their needs and feedback.
The best thing a loyal customer can do for your business is by giving you feedbacks about the products or service(s) you are rendering. You should be grateful if your customers give you such feedback, and you should be worried if they don’t.
Create avenues to get feedback from your customers, and when they give their complaints, take them very seriously and make changes based on this feedback. Customers’ feedback represents some of the most important loopholes that can run you out of business if you do nothing about them.
6. Don’t act greedily with your customers
No lies, business is about making profits but sometimes profits can be too much. Typically, making 20% net profit from your sales is considered good profit, 10% is average, and 5% or less is poor profit margin. A net profit margin is the percentage of your cost that you make additionally after removing all expenses from the final profit made.
Oftentimes, to be able to achieve such a net profit margin, you might want to sell a single unit of product or service at 40-50% profit per unit depending on your additional expenses like transport and logistics. This profit margin can also change depending on the demand for the product or service in the market.
However, aiming at too high profits can irritate your customers and make them run away. You, therefore, need to be considerate of what profit margin to target, bearing in mind your expenditures, as well as the prices of your competitors.
Also, avoid increasing prices overnight, or doing so without notice, except when it is absolutely necessary. If you need to increase prices, ensure that there is a general market price increase for the product. You can also increase price when the cost price increases but you must communicate that clearly to your customers, and as early as possible.
7. Be holistic in your approach
Being holistic in your business means that you are not only interested in selling your business products or services to your customers but you are also interested in other aspects of their life. You should be seen to show empathy and concern when your customers are giving off signs that they are going through some other problems, even if it is not related to your products or services.
When you adopt a holistic approach of care, compassion, and empathy for your customers, they feel more satisfied each time they come to patronize you.
8. Be relationship-oriented
To keep your customers loyal to your business, you have to be relationship-conscious. You need to have the mindset of relationship-building when relating with your customers because that helps you to be able to control yourself when they are putting up attitudes that might annoy you or your customers.
One day, a customer of mine tried to under-price one of my products when I told her that I can only reduce the price to a certain limit beyond which I can no longer do so. Almost at about the same time, she stated to me that she could get it at a lower price at another vendor. But after she said so, I just kept quiet and allowed her to think about what she just said. That was when she realized that I couldn’t sell the item at a price that would make me earn a loss.
In contrast to many vendors I have patronized for other products, that is a perfect occasion to strike at such a customer with words that would destroy your relationship with them. One great way to build your customer’s loyalty to your brand is by focusing on building good relationships with them.
9. Be patient with your customers
Sometimes, some customers can be very annoying. They might not have the money to pay but they would come to haggle to extremely low prices. At other times, customers can try to play funny stunts on you, like returning your product and asking for a refund after they have used it for some time. Many of these things are common but they can be very frustrating.
One important lesson I have learnt in business is that business is “give and take”. You don’t always win but you must win enough to allow your wins to overshadow your losses. Some losses can come from annoying customers’ behaviours but you need to stay patient with them to keep them and other people observing you to be loyal to your business and brand.
10. Appreciate your customers
Appreciate your customers for every purchase they make. Appreciate your customers with every opportunity you have. It could be by thanking them wholeheartedly. It could be by giving incentives. It could be at the beginning of the month, their first purchase every month, at the end of the year, and so on. But never take for granted every opportunity to tell your customers “thank you”, as this can go a long way to help build their loyalty to your business.
Benefits of keeping your customer loyal
According to customer loyalty research, the following are the benefits of keeping your customers loyal to your business.
- Loyal customers return to brands and spend 31% more than new customers.
- A 5% increase in customer retention results in a 25% increase in profit.
- 46% of loyal customers are likely to keep purchasing from your brand even after a negative experience.
- Loyal customers can become passive brand advocates that can bring new customers to your brand.
- It can lead to exponential customer growth for your business.
- Loyal customers improve your business’ reputation.
Those are some cogent reasons why you need to keep your customers loyal to your brand. Let’s now look at how to attract customers to your business in the next section.
How to Attract Your Customers
There will be no opportunity to keep your customers if you have not first attracted them to yourself in the first place. That means it will be utmostly necessary to attract your customers in the first place. Here are some of the instruments you can deploy for attracting your customers to your business.
- Price adjustments
- Quality control
- Brand reputation
The price of a commodity or service is one of the most important determinants of customer behaviour around your product or service. The way you regulate your prices can influence your customer loyalty as we have seen above.
Asides from that, lower prices generally attract more buyers, especially those who cannot afford higher-priced products or those who did not budget for them. An important precaution, however, is that you should not lower your prices below your desired profit margin or do so very minimally.
High-priced products are often seen as more valuable than cheaper alternatives, such that some buyers might purchase a product simply because it is more expensive. These are some business concepts you can juggle with. But overall, you must maintain balance in your prices to ensure that prices and quality match as close as possible.
The likelihood of attracting more customers is higher if you add more value to your existing customers than what they are paying for. This is what they would go out to tell other people about, and that can attract new customers to you even when you did not reach out to them directly.
Quality control is the process of ensuring consistency in your products to meet the requirements of your customers as well as being worth their price. Quality control is usually an activity reserved for manufacturers because they are the ones who need to ensure that the product complies with production standards and specifications but as a vendor, you can also ensure quality control by learning well about your products and being realistic with customers about their true value and worth.
If the item is extremely expensive, it needs to prove its worth in their hands, otherwise, your old customers leave and dissuade more people from coming to you.
If there is anything you must focus on the most, it is your brand reputation. Avoid activities that can dent your brand image because a good brand reputation is the cheapest attractant for your customers. It also enhances the loyalty of your existing customers.
In conclusion, keeping your customers loyal to your business requires a conscious effort to satisfy their human needs and wants. These needs reflect people’s innate desire for freedom, respect, justice, and equity. There is no hard and fast rule to keeping your customers loyal to your business, but if you are able to make your customer holistically satisfied, you should not have any problems whatsoever.
Great content,love it