• Kurt Schmidt

Building customer loyalty for small businesses

Building customer loyalty is an important process for a small business. It helps encourage first-time customers to come back, builds a strong customer base, and can make you stand out from your competitors.

So how should you go about achieving customer loyalty in a small business? We’ve provided several key ways to build customer loyalty and help make your key customers into regulars.

Making customers feel special

A first important way to build loyalty with your customers is to make them feel special. This can come down to the customer service you provide, from the moment they get in touch or walk through your shop door. Small businesses also usually go hand in hand with local business and local customers. So it’s a good idea to make an effort to know and understand your customers – remember their names, their personality traits, and their key purchases to show that you listen and value their custom.

It’s also worth setting up a way to reward your customers. You could offer them a special free gift, if they spend so much with your company. You could also create a loyalty card system, so that each time the customer buys a particular product, their card is stamped or points are added to it. When they have purchased so many products, or collected a set number of points, they could be rewarded with a product or service that you offer at no cost. Depending on your business, this could a cup of coffee, a haircut, or some consultation work, free of charge.

Getting your customers involved

It’s also a good idea to make your customers feel involved in your company. This suggests that you always put your customers first and aren’t just interested and in making your business money. A good way to do this is to hold a community event, like a coffee morning, if you run a cafe, or an outdoor activity day, if you run a fitness club. Alternatively, you could hold an open day, with free food and drinks, if you manage a design or marketing agency, for instance.

You should also show that you like to hear your customers’ views. Consider setting up a suggestion box, where they can put their ideas to improve your business. It’s also a good idea to regularly ask for feedback, like handing out or emailing a questionnaire. You could also create an online forum, such as on your website or social networking channels, where your customers can start discussions with you and each other. Showing that you’re doing all you can you to keep them happy can go a long way in building trust and, in turn, loyalty.

Improving the customer experience

Working to better your customers’ experience is also crucial in building customer loyalty. The obvious factors are all important: making sure you always have stock in; being reliable with your services – whether that’s completing deliveries or meeting deadlines; and being consistent in producing high quality products or work. But another good way to do this is to show yourself as an expert in your business industry.

Really understanding your offerings inside out, and having exceptional experience of your business industry, can serve you well. It allows you to help and advise your customers, even with those products or services you don’t offer. This shows that you’re happy to help your customers in ways that don’t just benefit you. In return, this can encourage them to come back to you for what you do offer in the future.

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written by Heath Reidy

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