How to build customer loyalty in a small business
It’s much easier to retain existing customers in business than it is to replace them, so here’s how to keep you audience loyal to your brand.
Building a strong customer base isn’t just an important part of running a small business, it is arguably the most important part. Encouraging your first-time buyers to return to your business guarantees you a steady profit, while also helping you achieve a strong word-of-mouth status as these loyal customers begin to recommend your services to friends, family and social media followers. This will give your business a better chance of standing out amongst competitors.
Creating a strong following can feel like a daunting task if you aren’t sure how to go about it, but don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are two golden rules for helping your small business build customer loyalty in a big way.
Make your customers feel special
Customers are far more likely to feel loyal to a company if they feel like they’ve formed a more personal connection with the brand and its workers. This can be done in many different ways, coming down to the service you provide. Take the time to get to know your customers, learn their names, their personalities and their preferences. Small businesses often go hand in hand with local businesses and, therefore, local people, so making the effort to be more personal with your customers will make your business feel like a significant part of the community – attracting greater attention from other locals looking for your services.
Seek out ways to reward your customers, be it with a point system or a VIP programme. This actively rewards your clients for their loyalty, greatly increasing their likelihood to choose your services again. On a day-to-day level, you need to show that your business is an expert in its industry. Keep up with the competition and stay in the loop of your wider field so you can always suggest the best solution for the customer and not just for your business.
Get your customers involved
Aside from improving your customer service, you can also work on breaking down those barriers between business and client. Make your customers really feel involved in your business to show that your do care about them on a personal level and aren’t just interested in receiving their custom. There are several ways to do this, such as by spending some time contributing to your local community as a business with a coffee morning, an outdoor event or an open day. Explore local charities and consider sponsoring their events for the dual benefit of giving something back and boosting your business’s reputation.
Another way to get more involved with your customers is to really listen to their views. Social media is a great platform for this. Let your customers know that you want to hear their thoughts on your services by giving them the option of leaving a review, and be sure to respond to these reviews, too, with genuinely helpful and appreciative gratitude or apology – depending on the nature of the feedback. You can even offer your customers a reward for providing feedback, as people are much more likely to spend the time reviewing a business if it’s likely to result in loyalty points or a prize of some kind. By gaining a wealth of genuine feedback, you can work on tailoring your business to really give your customers what they want.