If you've been reading our articles for a while, you probably already know that existing customers are more profitable customers. The general assumption is that loyal customers will purchase from you over and over again. Also, if you have a great product or service, customer loyalty will happen on its own. However, this is only partially true.

What you might not have considered is that this level of customer loyalty can also pose as a risk. You might be thinking I'm crazy for considering that, but hear me out. Customers can be loyal purely out of habit. This means their purchasing behavior is most likely a habit as well, and they typically purchase the same things. If you suddenly eliminate the product or service or make a big enough change, you risk permanently losing that customer.

So you're probably wondering what you're supposed to do if customer loyalty can be that fragile. Well, there are a few inexpensive ways to incentivize customers to always stay, even if you start making some changes.

Loyalty Programs

The first and most obvious place to start is having a loyalty program. This is a great way to get customers involved and give them something to be a part of. When customers have a goal to work towards (rewards) then they won't be so worried about you removing their favorite menu item.

Your best bet is to find a loyalty program with great features like special holiday promotions, the ability to share points, and birthday rewards.

Loyalty programs will also end up saving you money in the long run. Loyal customers are cheaper for businesses because they require less advertising and marketing. Think about it this way, your loyal customers will offset the cost of implementing a top-of-the-line loyalty program or prevent you from losing money from unhappy customers.

Personalization

A free way to increase customer loyalty is by providing a personalized experience. Whether you're a large corporation or a newly opened business, being personal with customers keeps them coming back. The goal is to establish a strong relationship and understand them. By doing this, you're showing them that you're more than just a "business". You're someone they can trust and a place worth spending their hard-earned money on.

You can achieve personalization either in person or online. Providing this online means giving customer service via social media. If you look at big and successful companies, they're interacting with their customers on popular platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Whether it's addressing concerns and complaints or simply just starting a conversation, they're being personal. You can even send your customers personalized emails and discounts on their birthdays. This adds a level of human touch that your competitors might not provide.

If you're looking for more ways to add personalization, head to social media to see what the bigger companies are doing and pay attention to customer responses.

Customer Experience

Providing your customers with a great experience should be a no-brainer, but a lot of business owners lose sight of the little things. You can maximize the customer experience in many ways that don't require advanced technology and spending money.

One of the first things you should focus on is having a dedicated team of employees at your business. Everyone should be on the same page when it comes to what the customer experience should look like and the ways to provide it.

Another great way to do this is by providing quality product and service. Think "quality over quantity". Create a reputation for your business that proud of, and that involves being friendly to your customers. If you're still lost, think of treating your customers the way you want to be treated when you go somewhere.

Welcome Feedback

Customers want to feel like their voice is being heard. They also want to feel like they can give you feedback and you take it seriously. You'd be surprised how many business owners don't listen to customer feedback and lose a lot of potential loyal customers.

One of the ways you can do this starting a Yelp page for your business. The platform is easy to use for you and the customer, and also helps validate your reputation. Make sure that you take the time to read the reviews and give personalized responses to both the bad and the good ones.

Some business owners also have suggestion boxes in their stores. The benefit to these is their anonymous. This way you can keep the bad reviews private and give yourself time to fix one of the issues. Take every review seriously and don't let your ego prevent you from making your business better.

Final Thoughts

Increasing customer loyalty doesn't have to be hard or cost you a dime. In the grand scheme of things, customers want to be treated right and get rewarded for spending money at your business. You can achieve both of these things with minimal effort and a small budget.

If you decide to implement a digital loyalty program, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions! We are always happy to help.