Picture yourself at the grocery store. You know you need soda for a barbecue coming up. You always buy Pepsi, so you decide to stick with Pepsi. BUT, there’s a catch - you heard on the news about a Pepsi scandal recently. The CEO of the company supports a cause you don’t agree with, an employee was treated poorly, the list goes on. So, you decide to buy Coca-Cola instead. This is a classic example of brand loyalty gone wrong.
Customer or brand loyalty is considered to be the bread and butter of what keeps business alive. We know it’s important, we know we need it, but how do we obtain it? In today’s world, keeping customers happy should be a top priority as a business or brand. Today, we’ll dive into some tips and tricks to keep ‘em coming back time and time again, courtesy of Entrepreneur.
- First things first, figure out what you stand for as a brand. Maintaining and staying consistent with your values will not only attract the right customers, but will keep them around. Tell the public what you stand for and stick to it. Chances are, consumers who agree with these values will continue to support the business.
- Secondly, ensure stellar customer service is provided at all times. Think about your favorite stores or brands. Do they care about your business? Do they hire respectful, helpful people to give you assistance when you need it ? Chances are, the answer is yes. One way to do this is by listening and implementing change if needed. Most people are happy to provide feedback on a service or brand. Give these comments genuine consideration and figure out if there’s something that isn’t working within the business. Display information where it’s easy to find so that customers can get in touch whenever they need to.
- Honesty is key. Nothing will drive customers away faster than lying or covering up important information. Be honest with your consumers about everything, even if it’s difficult. Communicate, provide updates, and be transparent with your customers when things go wrong.
- With multiple social platforms at your fingertips, there’s no reason to not create a sense of community for your consumers. This is a great way to interact with your customers and get them talking about your brand.
- According to Entrepreneur, brands achieve social proof in five different ways: expertise, celebrity endorsements, user reviews, wisdom of the crowd, and wisdom of your friends. By staying consistent with the ways in which you advertise your brand or business, your consumers will stay consistent as well. TechCrunch describes social proof as “the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something.” Simply put, word of mouth is powerful.
Admit to Errors
- Mistakes are inevitable. If you’re a consumer, chances are you know of multiple brands or businesses you support that have made mistakes. Whether it’s small or big, it’s important to own up to these errors and take responsibility. Nine times out of ten, the customer will feel heard and supported, and will forget about the mistake that happened in the first place. Avoid getting defensive should your company receive negative feedback. Use this as a tool to become more solid as a whole.
- Now, this goes without saying. Hire awesome employees, produce awesome results. In order to maintain customer loyalty, you will need stellar people working at your company. The customer experience is crucial to keeping your consumers loyal and supportive.
- Think about your favorite online store. Do they send you a birthday message every year with a coupon inside? If not, they’re missing out on some serious brand loyalty. Customers are more inclined to stay true to your business if they feel they are recognized on a personal level. Everyone loves a good coupon, discount, or free item. Take advantage of these opportunities and get personal with your customers.
- This is a no-brainer. ALL customers appreciate a discount of some sort. Most of your favorite brands or businesses likely have a yearly sale or provide awesome items at a smaller price. Nobody wants to pay full price at all times. Another way to provide incentives is by offering a “punch card” or provide a free item after the customer has purchased a certain number of products or services.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep. It’s as simple as that. Customers expect reliability, and if you make a promise you can’t follow through on, that will be made apparent. Make sure you’re staying consistent on what you can and can’t provide.
While it would be easy to go on for days about ways to maintain customer loyalty, the basics are fairly self-explanatory. Stay true to the brand, provide excellent customer service, and give the people a quality product they can’t turn down. Whether it’s a brand-new customer or one who’s been around for years, treat them equally. Every consumer is just as important as the last. It is your responsibility as the brand or business to meet their needs.
Though this all might sound difficult, daunting, or time-consuming, it is absolutely worth the investment. Get to know your customers and keep them coming back for more!