Published on 05/12/19 by Polly Oakes.
We’ve all had those impressive experiences with brands where we want to shout out to the world about how great they are, or at least, I know I have.
Whether it’s to praise the product’s quality, the customer service or even some witty posts on social media, these little things all count towards creating a strong brand image, and make customers, like me, want to return.
Of course, it’s important to reach out to new customers to grow your brand, however, according to Invesp, it’s 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain one.
So let’s get to it… here’s the complete guide on how you too can boost loyalty and retain your customers.
Give Great Customer Service
With the competitive environments that businesses face, giving great customer service can make all the difference when it comes to boosting your customer loyalty.
We’re not just talking about your customers being ‘always right’ but it’s all about treating your customers like family. Knowing that they can talk to your customer services team, and them knowing that their problems will be listened to and solved to the best of your ability.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon said, “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” Though this is extremely positive when you have a happy customer, customers who have had a bad experience with your business needs to be managed as well. Your customer service team reflects the values of your business and can turn a negative into a positive note.
When it comes to getting in contact with a business, customers don’t ask for much. Simply ensure that it is easy, you have accurate information on your website & ensure that you respond in a timely manner.
Having a live chat feature including a human or artificial intelligence, is one way to stand out from the crowd. In a study conducted by Super Office, they found that the average response was 12 hours, which is way above the 1 hour time-frame that customers expect. By integrating your website with a live chat feature, it ensures that your customers can have some form of contact almost immediately, therefore helping you boost your customer satisfaction when it comes to problem solving. With this in mind, let’s swiftly move onto our next point…
Don’t Leave Your Customers Hanging
There’s nothing worse than waiting for what seems like an eternity to receive a response- especially if you’re looking to solve a problem or issue. By investing in a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, you can ensure that all of your customer correspondence is all in one main hub, making it more efficient and easier for you to reply to your customers promptly.
Just a handful of popular CRM systems include:
- Hubspot – Offering a free CRM system, with optional extras for marketing, sales and services and is a great CRM system for any sized business.
- Vybe Commerce Cloud – Vybe Commerce Cloud is perfect for eCommerce retailers who are looking to have their CRM system easy to access in the admin of their eCommerce website. With the Vybe Commerce Cloud, you can access order history, customer data and with a built-in messaging interface, you can respond to any live chat, social media or email queries.
Though it’s nice for businesses to stay in contact with their customers, being bombarded by emails, text messages, post and notifications is not at the top of anyone’s list.
As they say, less is more and in this case, it’s completely true. Before sending out customer communication, ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Is it something my customers will be interested in?
- Do my customers gain value from this?
- How many times have I contacted them this week?
Finding that balance in your communication can not only help you push more promotions in an ‘ethical’ way, but can lower the number of unsubscribes and ultimately increase the amount of loyal customers.
Personalise Your Correspondence
Personalisation is key to boosting customer loyalty and all of the ‘big guys’ do it. Just take a look at Boots, Tesco and Amazon with loyalty programmes and personalisation features on their loyalty schemes and eCommerce websites.
One particular king of personalisation at the moment is Thread, a fashion aggregator and personal stylist. Each week they aim to fill your feed with new styles that you’ll love and you can improve your recommendations by liking and disliking items. And if that’s not enough, every Friday, you receive an email to push you to check the new outfits out of the week.
Not only will this level of personalisation help increase your conversion rates but it will help boost those levels of returning customers. The more they see that your business is taking into account their likes and dislikes, the easier shopping online will become and we all know that everybody looks for the smartest ways when it comes to shopping online.
Listen To Your Customers
The ultimate resource on how you can boost customer loyalty is right at the tips of your finger- your customers. By offering surveys, reviews and listening to what they have to say on social media channels, you can ensure that your business is giving off the right image. After all, if you understand what makes your customers tick based on actual data rather than intuition and guesstimating, you will be able to optimise their journeys throughout your entire website based on facts.
Reward Their Loyalty
Don’t just stop at giving your customers a great experience when shopping with you, but go one step further and reward them for their loyalty. This is a great way to incentivise loyalty and push for returning customers.
According to the Loyalty Report of 2017, 81% of customers said that loyalty programmes make them more likely to return to a brand to do business. And we can see why this is. Not only are reward cards a constant brand remind, but they can provide a reason for customers to shop with you rather than your competitors. For instance, if I needed to purchase a health and beauty product, I will usually go to Boots even if they aren’t the cheapest place, purely because their reward card is the most generous in the UK.
If loyalty programmes aren’t something that is offered in your business model, then there’s one other word that comes to mind, and it’s freebies.
It’s a fact that freebies never get old and by creating a campaign which enables people to get something back from you is not only great publicity, but also helps you show that you value their custom.
This year, Costa decided to reward people with a free hot drink when you go to one of their express stores to celebrate International Coffee Day. Though retailers were divided with whether this was a good idea, most customers seemed to appreciate the fact that they could get a nice hot beverage for nothing.
Fine Tune Your User Experience Online
Though it’s difficult to control customer loyalty, your website can play a huge part in whether people decide to shop with you or not – especially when they’re looking to purchase products online.
There are some simple things that you can do, which will drastically improve your online visitors’ experiences:
- Have white space on your website – Though some people see white space as a negative design aspect, it’s not always bad and is essential for a well-designed website. Not only does it help make your content look clearer and more readable, but it also helps you create a fresh and modern look on your website.
- Make your call-to-actions look appealing – Your call-to-actions (CTAs) are visual cues to push people towards completing your business’s goals. Whether it’s getting in touch, or proceeding to a check out, you want your CTAs to catch their attention. To find out what the best combinations are, you can use A/B testing to see whether different colour variations and messages achieve better results.
- Don’t be afraid to use bullet points – Bullet points enable users to find key information quickly and easily. You can make your bullet points look a little more eye-catching by adding icons or images to break the points up. If you don’t have the resource to create icons by yourself, there are tons of websites that allow you to download free icons such as FlatIcon.
- Make your links stand out – If you decide to add a hyperlink to your website, make sure that they are easily identifiable so that the user knows where they should click. This will ease the customer’s experience when they’re looking to be sent to another page/website for reference.
- Break the page up with images – Before even reading your content, people jump to conclusions based on how your website looks visually. If you’re using generic stock photos to bulk out your website, this can sometimes carry negative connotations with your business. Make your business stand out from the crowd by using unique photography which will inevitably improve your trust, brand image and conversion rates.
- Include headlines – By making short and snappy headlines, you will capture your audience’s attention, or at least, that’s the aim. Ensure that you include keywords in your headings so that not only your visitors can quickly determine your page’s relevance to what they’re looking for, but Google’s search engine will be able to recognise the relevance and rank your pages appropriately for keywords.
- Keep your page layout and design consistent – Whether it’s heading sizes, fonts, colour palettes, button styles, spacing or design elements, you need to ensure that the theme is the same throughout your entire website. This will help your business provide users with a beautiful experience and familiarity whilst they’re browsing which will ultimately boost your trust and loyalty.
- Catch any 404 errors – Broken links notoriously frustrate and pause the customer’s journey. Though you could have the best design in the world, 404 pages can still make your customers rethink their time on your website and make them turn to a competitor as they’re having difficulty in getting from A to B. One of our favourite free tools to crawl and check for any errors is Google Search Console (and here is a useful article on how to use it).
- Turn to a responsive & mobile-friendly design – After ‘Mobilegeddon’, Google decided to penalise websites that weren’t optimised for mobile devices, and we can see why. Though the number of mobile devices on your website varies depending on what industry you’re in, in Google’s eyes, it doesn’t matter as they’re starting to factor in user experiences into the ranking factors.
Be Transparent & Consistent
Transparency is key to build trustworthiness, and with trust comes loyalty. Whether it’s talking about delivery charges, a return policy or even how you will be using data, being an eCommerce retailer who embraces transparency can be a unique factor for your business, and help make you stand out from the crowd.
Though our guide gives you the best tips on how you can boost your customer loyalty, you have to earn customer loyalty, and it doesn’t just happen overnight. You must be consistent and ensure that your customers feel valued throughout their entire process of their journey, whether it’s before, during or after they’ve purchased from you.