Developing personal relationships

The financial instability caused by Covid, and the current war between Russia and Ukraine continues to impact upon the way customers shop. Adapting to the challenge of the cost-of-living crisis requires small business owners to be more inventive and seek new ways to adapt to a changing marketplace.

As a small business owner, you already understand the importance of developing a close, personal connection with your customers, but did you know there are ways to use this to your advantage, to adapt to your customers’ needs and build your business?

This month we are delighted to bring you:

5 key steps to harness the power of Customer Loyalty, to get you More Money; More Customers; More Sales

Did you know that members of a loyalty programme are 78% more likely to make another purchase, just to keep enjoying the programme benefits?

But not all loyalty programmes are the same! When selecting a loyalty programme for your business, first check that it has all the tools you need, by asking yourself:

Is it capable of driving your business Key Performance Indicators? In other words, can it supply the metrics your business needs in order to help determine the effectiveness of your business’s marketing and sales efforts?

Personalising your loyalty programmes to reflect each individual’s purchasing history helps keep your messages relevant. Can the loyalty programme you are looking at support you in driving customer engagement – including personalised reward systems and in-store customer interactions, and more?

1. Check that your loyalty programme can keep track of each customer’s brand preferences – 

making it easy to recommend specific products – and even help you remember customers’ birthdays! For example, can each customer personalise his or her loyalty card by creating his own profile, e.g., details like name, email or phone number, anniversaries etc?

Does the programme enable you to reward customers with points to encourage them to share personal information?

Does the programme enable you to keep track of each customer’s interests, again enabling you to recommend specific products based on what you know about him/her, so that in addition to offering special discounts for customer loyalty, each customer will feel that you are going above and beyond – increasing their perception that they really matter to you.

2. Reach out to customers to thank them for doing business with you, to help you identify problems before an unsatisfactory experience ends with a negative online review.

Is your loyalty programme capable of monitoring all of your customers personal transactions, enabling you to review when and where purchases were made? Follow-up is a great way for you to acknowledge a purchase to make sure they enjoyed it, and is especially important if your customer has purchased a new or unique product.

3. Develop multiple channels for customers to provide feedback – positive as well as negative.

Consider both written and online surveys to gain additional insight into your customers’ needs and preferences, including email, Facebook, SMS and phone calls, as a great way to find out which of your products customers love, which they dislike – and what new products they would like to see in your store. Surveying your customers can help improve your overall product or service offering by catering to what they want. Customers who feel they have input into what you are providing helps build loyalty, which results in higher sales and more money in your pocket!

4. Respond to customer concerns promptly to prove your dedication and help to build trust.

So, your loyalty programme is up-and-running, nevertheless some customers may have a negative experience with your service or one of your products, and it is important to ensure that you remedy this as soon as you become aware, so that it all ends well for your customer. Exceptional customer support will keep them coming back for more.

5. Create social media accounts on the platforms where your customers are engaged, and where you can respond quickly to questions and concerns.

Many shoppers check whether a company has an online presence before they will do business with them so they can browse new products and read/post reviews. Be aware that almost 80% of social media users will expect a response to their posts within the first 24 hours.

Increasingly, companies of all sizes are realising that they need to modify their marketing and sales strategies in order to respond to the uncertain times we are experiencing. Focus your attention on retaining current customers by strengthening their trust in you and establishing more personal connections with them – encouraging them to spread the word about your business, and of course, your amazing loyalty programme!
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