How to build a loyal customer base

Whether you’re a business that provides a product or a service, amongst your priorities you’ll have the act of finding, targeting and obtaining new customers at the top of your list. However, once a customer has made that first purchase, there’s still a lot more to be done. A smart business knows that real value lies in retaining those customers and ensuring they come back to make more purchases.

However, maintaining a customer base isn’t easy at all, it’s probably one of the most difficult aspects to strategise. With the current level of competition; it only takes one bad experience for a customer to move on to a competitor. This is why striving to engage with your existing customer base and ensuring they always have a pleasant experience is vital in expanding your loyal customer base.

How to improve your customer retention rate?

Essentially, it all comes down to great customer service, engagement and education. In order to increase your customer retention rates, we’ve compiled a list backed by academic research, case studies and our own experience working with a range of businesses over the last 17 years.

Engaged employees

Considering they spend the most time with your customers, employees are probably one of the most under-utilised assets in your company. An engaged team can be your best brand ambassadors – all it takes is a few simple, creative approaches to boost their morale, inspire and give them a sense of purpose.
More than just a job – Everyone wants to feel like their work is contributing to a higher purpose, which it usually is, but that feeling can get lost in the day-to-day grind.
Celebrate accomplishments – Taking the time to acknowledge good work and appreciate the work that is being done for the business.
Invest in your employees – Professor Andrew Oswald found that companies who invest in employee support and satisfaction succeed in generating happier workers. In fact, employee satisfaction at Google rose to an impressive 37% when a small rewards scheme was put in place.

Utilise reciprocity

In addition to the last point, another tactic you can use is reciprocity. Something as simple as a small gesture, more often than not, can be an effective way to leave a strong, lasting impression on your customers. In fact, a study from the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that waiters and waitresses could increase their tips by 23%, simply by returning to tables with a second set of mints. They concluded that the personalised service (not necessarily the gift itself) builds trust between the customer and brand and generates a greater appreciation for your products or services.

Educate your customers

Don’t just sell a product or service, educate your customers about what makes your brand special and how buying your products makes them special. Give them a reason to stick with your brand as opposed to your competitors. You can create webinars, ebooks or even social media campaigns.

Education is a powerful method for persuading consumers – use your existing customers to share stories about their experiences with your products or services. This is particularly effective because 92% of consumers trust their peers over advertisements or simply people who they associate and relate to.

Quality first, speed second

While speed is definitely important, it’s generally not a customer’s biggest concern. While companies often equate the fastest service with the best service, data from case studies have shown otherwise. The Gallup analysis, for example, found that customers gave higher customer service ratings for tellers who actively engaged with them than for those who were just speedy.

Listen to your customers

Last but not least, listen to what your customers want from you. Use customer satisfaction surveys to get a better idea of what your customers really think about your product or service. Identify problems causing them distress and implement strategies to fix these issues, so they don’t reoccur and before they happen to other customers.

Not only will they feel valued as customers to see your business actively trying to better its practises, it will also increase customer satisfaction and, thereby, increase customer retention.

If your customers are happy they have no reason to want to go elsewhere.

Key Takeaways

As previously mentioned, customer retention comes down to three main points; customer service, engagement and education. By employing the tips mentioned above and tailoring them to your business, you’ll drastically improve the relationship between your brand and its customers. After all, fifteen minutes in heaven is better than five minutes in hell.

And if you need any help in strategising any customer retention techniques, Brave is more than happy to help! So, feel free to get in touch today!

Written by Ryan Keenan

Hi, I'm Ryan, a Google AdWords Certified Digital Marketing Apprentice at Brave Agency. From content marketing to social media, I am addicted to everything Digital and SEO.

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