Putting out advertisements, getting website traffic, and getting first-time customers isn’t terribly difficult, if you have a service or products people want. But getting them to keep coming back, that’s the real challenge. Many people think it’s as simple as creating a “loyalty rewards” program, but how do you even get customers to sign up for such a thing in the first place?
In this article, we’re going to highlight some ways you can encourage customer loyalty, and start converting your customers into repeat customers.
Provide little extra perks for your customers
One of the best and most memorable ways to encourage customer loyalty is by doing little extra perks for your customers. This isn’t simply about customer loyalty rewards programs, though that can help. We’re talking more about just going a little above and beyond.
This can be as simple as tossing in a few sampler products with things you ship to first-time customers, or even promotional products that represent your company. Promotional products are a unique way of getting customers’ attention, as they certainly increase your brand awareness. The simplest of promotional products, including pens, ecobags, or even calendars, as those offered by Good Things in Australia, can be packaged in with a customer’s order. This little unexpected ‘gift’ will certainly get customers talking about your brand.
Customer loyalty rewards programs are a solid idea, but just offering one by itself doesn’t automatically guarantee return customers. Providing a memorable experience for your first-time customers is a good start, and may encourage them to sign up for your loyalty rewards program.
Provide excellent customer service
This may seem like an obvious statement, but it’s so important that it must be repeated! This doesn’t simply mean adopting a friendly, business tone in communications. It means doing your best to reply to customers in a timely fashion, anticipating and addressing their concerns, and being open to feedback.
Be mindful of the shipping process. We’ve all heard the horror stories of courier companies flinging boxes around without a care in the world, even items marked as fragile. So take care in the packaging and make sure your customer’s items are securely, safely packed, to not risk any returns. If a customer requests discreet shipping, then make sure it’s truly discreet, with no labels on the package that can give a clue as to what iss inside.
Providing excellent customer service also means providing excellent website design, that is easy to navigate. For example, it’s important to have prominent buttons and menus on your website and make promos like “free shipping” clear. Ultimately this makes it easy for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for. There are a lot of great tips out there for designing a stellar e-commerce website, for example this page may help you.
Customers remember when they’ve been provided with excellent customer service, and this can especially help to cement your reputation as a small business, and encourage customer loyalty.
Acknowledge orders as soon as possible
For online retail business owners, it helps to provide just a small, quick acknowledgement when you’ve received a new order. This can be a simple “Thank you for shopping with us, your order will be packaged soon!” type of email, which you can automatically generate. It seems like a small thing, but it lets customers know that you’re aware of their order.
This also applies to other stages of the delivery process. Sending a little email to let customers know their items have been packaged and shipped. You should also immediately acknowledge when you’ve received any return items. In simple words, keeping your customer updated every step of the way (especially for online retail businesses) can be very effective. And if a package gets lost in delivery, through no fault of your own, don’t blame the courier (even though it may be the courier’s fault), but help the customer locate their package.
Offer multiple methods of communication
Along with giving you multiple avenues of marketing, having several social media accounts allows your customers to reach you on any platform they feel most comfortable with. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, chat support on your website, customers should have several avenues of reaching you.
All of these social media platforms not only allow you to broadcast any of your sales and promos to an entire network, but if you pay attention to comments, you may spot customers who had a bad experience, and decided to complain on social media, instead of sending a personal email. Again, this is an opportunity to publicly sympathize and engage with the customer, and show the rest of the social media users that you’re committed to resolving a dispute.
When customers can easily find various methods of contacting your business on any platform they use, and you’re able to engage with them through these various social media, it creates more personal relationships, which is a significant goal in obtaining customer loyalty.
Invite feedback from your customers
It’s important to invite feedback from your customers, both the positive and the negative. And in fact, you should realize negative feedback as an opportunity to address customer concerns and grow your business. Honest feedback from your customers will make them feel like their voices are heard, and you’ll be able to discover flaws in your business, which you can correct.
You can gather such feedback through polls and surveys, which you can send to your customers through periodic surveys. During check-out time, after a customer has successfully placed an order, perhaps offer a small survey asking for any feedback on how easy it was to use your website. After the customer’s order has been delivered, send a small survey asking how was their experience.
About the Author
Jeremy is the Director of Good Things Australia, a company that builds brand profiles through merchandise and clothing with your logo on it.