As discussed in our previous article, relationships are what your business is built on. For a general overview of the topic check out our article on 'Customer Retention and Loyalty'. Without relationships you wouldn’t have a business to begin with. However, all relationships require work; they don’t maintain themselves. This article will go through how to build customer loyalty for your shop and brand. It mainly involves interacting and engaging the customers you’ve already established. Here are some of our top tips:
How to Maintain Your Customer Relationships
Stay Connected & Give Value to Your Customers
Communication is key and cannot be a one-off. Consider asking for e-mail sign ups to send offers and news updates to customers. When someone new signs up, send them a personalised ‘thank you e-mail’ and maybe the most recent copy of your newsletter or a special offer. If you’re short on time, consider using a free CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, or e-mail service like MailChimp. CRM systems allow you to store and organise customer’s contact information; and many CRM systems will also allow you to set up and automate your e-mail communication.
Promote your social media pages throughout your store. These pages are a great way to promote your business. They provide both a way to connect with your customers and to reward your customers by running competitions. If you run a clothes shop, maybe run a competition for people modelling your clothes and posting their photos on social media. By having the prize be a gift voucher, or money off your wares, you are also driving repeat business and encouraging more sales. Encourage customers to tag your business or location in posts, further promoting your business. Use this to your advantage by liking and sharing those posts on your own social media and thanking your customers.
There are many reasons why having an online presence is vital for your shop. We've even created an infographic on some of the statistics surrounding SME's online presence.
You can download it below.
Reward Loyal Customers
Your focus as a business should be to retain customers first and acquire new ones second. You should never underestimate the reach or the value of a loyal, repeat customer, as they are your best promoters. Nothing works better for gaining business than a referral from a happy customer. Research states that repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers; proving it’s crucial to stay in touch with your existing customers. Let them know about special events that are coming up, share your knowledge, and maybe even offer referral incentives. This doesn’t work for all businesses, but it’s worth considering what you can do to reward your loyal customers and consequently promoters.
Another great idea is to introduce a rewards scheme or loyalty card. If you want to know some of the effects of introducing a loyalty card to your business and even some tips for how to make the best use of it; you should check out our blog post on ‘The Value of Loyalty Cards for Your Business’.
Ensure High Product and Service Quality
Having a high quality product or service is important for building trust with your customers. This not only shows customers you care about your products, but that you care about them and their experience. A high quality product or service is the best way to help customers appreciate and believe in what you do as a business.
Word of mouth is essential to any business, no matter how big or small. By having a high quality product or service your customers will spread the word or may even write you a great online review. Remember, the better the quality, the better the feedback!
As stated earlier communication is key; but an often-overlooked aspect of communication is listening. Listen to your customers and get their feedback. This is the best way to improve your business and keep your customers coming back. This can be achieved by sending out surveys, asking for comments on service, and generally just listening to what your customers are saying.
Asking for feedback can be difficult and actually getting it is even harder! That's why we've complied a list of the 'Best Ways to Get Feedback' which you can download below.
Implement A Strategy
There are many ways that you can maintain your customer relationships but implementing some type of strategy is vital to the continued growth and success of your business. Consider investing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, as this is a good idea if you are new to customer retention and could save you money in the long term. The main thing to remember is to stay connected and keep up communications. The same goes for your customer service; if you don’t provide great service, exceed expectations, and listen to your customers feedback, why would they want to remain loyal customers?
If you are concerned about the cost of implementing a customer retention strategy you should check out our article on ‘How to Finance Your Customer Relations’.