In order to get loyal customers, you have to build a customer loyalty strategy. Check out this post for ways to get started with crafting your own.
Based on yesterday’s post, we now know what customer loyalty is, and more importantly, how it can save and earn your business money. But if you don’t have anything in place yet, how do you get started? Remember, a loyal customer is someone who faithfully chooses to buy from you. Customer loyalty is a strategy to achieve that goal.
The first step in turning the wheel was included in last night’s homework – to think about your customers and what loyalty means to you. The finicky thing about creating this particular plan is figuring out how it fits into your business. For example, if you sell high-dollar items, then loyalty might mean one purchase a year. But if you sell apparel, loyalty will probably mean multiple purchases a quarter. Carefully identify why your customers purchase, when they purchase and how they purchase.
This next step is absolutely critical. Get your customer contact information. Just think, how are you going to make customers feel special if you can’t get in touch with them? At minimum, grab an email address. If you can, get a phone number and a physical address. Then, separate your customers into piles of importance. In other words, who deserves red-carpet VIP treatment right away and who starts with a less exclusive offer? As time goes by, the end goal is to increase the number of customers receiving absolute white glove attention. WARNING: If you don’t spend enough time and thought on this step, the foundation of your entire plan is in jeopardy.
Then, begin contacting your customers (we’ll give you some ideas how in a post later this week) so they become accustomed to hearing from you. Contact them in a way they’re receptive to and make sure you provide something of value in your message. Also, be sure to establish a consistent frequency in your communications so they begin expecting it.
In your messaging, make sure you keep the feedback loop open. When you’re not directly sending something to customers, make them know they can contact you with ideas, suggestions and complaints. Once this takes place, be certain to incorporate their feedback into your business efforts for two reasons: 1) your customer is probably right and 2) it will make them feel involved in your decisions.
And finally, make sure you keep it up. One of the worst things you can do is to hit the ground running in communicating with customers and soliciting their feedback, only to drop off the face of the earth. This is all about building relationships and making them feel special, so make sure you’re fully committed to the effort.
A quick recap:
1. Determine who your customers are and what loyalty means to your business
2. Build your customer contact database and identify them based on importance
3. Start contacting your customers on a consistent basis
4. Ask for feedback and suggestions at all times
5. Keep it up with full effort
And stick around! Coming up, we’ll give you more specific and creative ideas on how to really beef up loyalty within your customer base.
– Matt Winn, Marketing Associate
What do you think customer loyalty means for your specific business? Any questions on how to start building your contact list? Have you had any success or missteps in creating a feedback mechanism? Let us know your thoughts so we can help each other grow!