Fostering loyalty: Keep your customers coming back to you

Ian Kirk, marketing expert at Opportunity Marketing, looks at what businesses can do to encourage repeat custom.

Ian Kirk, marketing expert at Opportunity Marketing, looks at what businesses can do to encourage repeat custom.

People just aren’t loyal to brands in the same way they once were.​ If you’re expecting people to get so attached to your brand that they give you lifelong loyalty, think again. They just won’t. 

That does not mean that they won’t give you any loyalty at all. With the internet, big-spending multinationals and big discounts all competing for consumer attention, it can be hard for smaller companies to win new customers, and even harder to keep them coming back. But, it can be done. Like most things in life, it takes some hard work to achieve, but it can be done. 

Here’s how:

Show a human face:

The big advantage that you have over the big multinationals is that you are able to be human. People want to communicate with people. If you can make it easy for them to communicate with you, they’ll like you, and they’ll want to come back. Answer their questions helpfully, deal with complaints quickly, be friendly. Treat them as you’d like to be treated.

Be a little different:

What makes you stand out from the rest? If you can’t think of anything, then you need to do some work to give yourself an edge. Why should consumers keep coming back to you if what you’re offering isn’t any different than your rivals? famously did this with their range of promotional items – plush meerkat toy anyone?

Be the best at what you do:

As well as being different, you need to be good. If people find a product or service that meets their needs, they’ll keep on using it. Give your customers the best you can for the money you charge, and they will keep buying. Why wouldn’t they?

Offer top customer service

There’s little point in having great products if you don’t offer great service. Think of your customer service as part of your offer, not a ‘nice-to-have’ extra. You and your staff need to genuinely value the people that buy your products. Do more for them – give them advice when they need it, order in that extra stock when they ask for it, and smile.

Show your customers they’re appreciated

Reward your customers for giving you their money. If you don’t, they why shouldn’t they choose your rival instead, especially when that rival has just dropped its prices? Loyalty is about building a relationship. Relationships take two. Why expect your customers to appreciate you if you don’t appreciate them? Those customers who stick with you deserve a little more. Offer corporate gifts and other extras to keep them coming back. If it’s raining how about a branded umbrella? It shows the customer you care and they’re left with something that reminds them of you, your business and the great customer orientated experience they had. 

Customer retention and loyalty is vital if you want your business to succeed, by implementing these principles it can be done. It won’t be easy and they’re things that take a while to be properly noticed but eventually they will benefit your business.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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