Attracting loyal customers to your business is vital but how do you do it? We asked Lorna Bladen, Head of Partnerships at award-winning telephone answering service Moneypenny, for her valuable advice.
Four ways to build brand loyalty for your start-up
As a new start-up, the thought of having ‘loyal customers’ can sound like you’re looking far into the future. That it’s something you’ll acquire eventually, once you’ve got a few trading years under your belt.
But in reality, the time to start growing the number of loyal customers is right now.
According to Fred Reichheld’s The Loyalty Effect, building loyalty with as little as 5% of your customers can lead to an average increased profit per customer of between 25% and 100%. In other words – devoted customers will spend more with your business.
Here’s four simple ways you can create a customer service that helps ensure people become loyal customers.
1. Small businesses should take a personal interest in customers
Part of the charm of small businesses is the personal interest they take in their customers. Often becoming so familiar with regulars that they’re on first name terms. Customers increasingly have the luxury of choice, so how can you show them you care more than your competitors? Simply making the effort to know them is a good place to start.
I walk past at least 10 coffee bars to get to my local café of choice. The reason for that is not necessarily because they make the best coffee, but because they wear their heart on their sleeve when they serve it. They remember me and our previous conversations, so I feel like they care about my business more than the other cafés.
Next time you’re talking to your customers, take a vested interest in them. Ask sincere questions. If they mention an upcoming birthday, make a note and surprise them with a special greeting. It may have a profound impact on the way they feel about your brand.
2. Reward repeat custom
Loyal customers are your greatest marketing tool and best chance of growth – so let them know they’re appreciated. It will also help build a relationship with them. According to Forrester Research, 64% of retailers say their rewards programme is the best way to connect with customers.
I’m a new Hello Fresh customer for instance, and on my third food box delivery, they sent me a novelty certificate and a free tote bag to thank me for my custom. I absolutely loved it. And I’m excited about future rewards as I continue with the service.
The bottom line is this – we all like (good) surprises. So think about what your customers may like to receive for being an ambassador of your business. It doesn’t need to cost much.
3. Empower your staff
People buy from people – and the engagement level of your employees can have a huge effect on the rapport they build with your customers. Staff working at the frontline are often closest to clients and can have the best ideas of how to improve your service. But how do you turn ideas into practice?
One way is to empower employees by giving them a platform to directly improve the service they provide. Since introducing ‘MOJO Awards’ at Moneypenny, we’ve implemented entrepreneurial suggestions from countless members of our business – each time making our customer journey that little bit better.
This simple tactic encourages employees to really tune in to the needs of those we do business with. And customers in turn benefit from this high-level engagement.
4. Word of mouse – Use testimonials or reviews
Lots of businesses use online reviews to create transparency about their product or service. Good reviews not only draw in new business, but also help to reassure customers that your company is the best choice for them and will continue to inspire their loyalty to you.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.
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