The Importance of Customer Loyalty and How to Encourage It

For anyone working in business, it’s a well-known fact that it costs five times more to acquire new customers than it does to retain the customers you already have.

Likewise, we know that customers who previously bought from you are not only 50 per cent more likely to try one of your new products, but also spend 31 per cent more than new customers.

These numbers are staggering. And therefore it outlines the importance of customer loyalty to any business, regardless of size.

What is customer loyalty?

Customer loyalty is a complex concept and is not something that can be measured with complete accuracy. That said, on a very basic level, it is a demonstration of a customer's desire to return to a company repeatedly to do business.

This is typically as a result of a fantastic previous experience with the brand - one that now means they’re not even thinking about taking their custom elsewhere.

Why is customer loyalty so important for businesses?

When customers are loyal to a company, this has many advantages.

Firstly, it means that pricing (and even availability) are no longer their primary concerns.

In contrast to first-time customers, who are harder to convince because they don’t have any previous experience with your company, loyal customers will be willing to pay more as long as the quality of the product or service continues to match their expectations.

The order value of happy, loyal customers is much higher than first-timers and, with time, this can even increase. They also shop more regularly and will, more often than not, return to you during peak holiday season.

Loyal customers will also not be actively searching for different suppliers, they’ll be much more likely and willing to recommend your company to their family and friends and, quite importantly, they are more likely to be understanding should an issue occur.

How do you ensure that your customers remain loyal?

Ultimately, customer loyalty comes down to the quality of the product you’re selling or the service you’re providing. If their expectations are met or exceeded on a regular basis, they will continue to place their trust in you.

That said, product is not the only factor in customer loyalty. The way in which your company interacts with its customers, especially when things haven’t gone to plan, is also vital.

Be sure to treat your customers like humans

“Humanised experiences” are shown to play an enormous role both at the moment of purchase and when deciding whether to return (or not).

Customers value being able to talk to a human rather than a robot, so offering multiple communication channels through which customers can receive an answer from a real person is highly valuable.

Respond quickly

Response time is also incredibly important with regard to customer loyalty. No one likes to be kept waiting, especially nowadays when everything is immediate.

So be sure to avoid long queues, or set realistic waiting times (and keep to them), to avoid customers looking elsewhere.

Ninety per cent of customers rate an "immediate" response (within 10 minutes) as important or very important when they have a customer service question. And, at the end of the day, customers don’t consider business hours or time differences when they have an urgent query.

Be empathetic

Showing empathy is a vital component of customer service because customers, like all people, appreciate having their concerns or problems taken seriously.

The use of language is incredibly important in order to leave a good impression. Therefore, you should watch your tone, try to be as genuine as possible or you can inadvertently face escalating tensions.

Here are nine phrases that can be used in interactions which show that you understand a customer’s concerns.

Make exceptions

While customer policies are in place for a reason, sometimes it’s worth breaking the rules if it means securing a customer’s future loyalty.

Showing a degree of goodwill, especially during a time of personal difficulty, can go a long way.

Show gratitude to your customers

Showing your gratitude for your customers’ business is a major way to increase brand loyalty. Some companies like to include thank-you notes inside deliveries or as part of purchase confirmation emails; others send special cards around holidays or special occasions. These subtle notes can serve both as a reminder of the good service they received but also as a prompt to repeat the experience.

Offering exclusive discounts or incentives as part of a loyalty programme is another method. The simplest and most popular programmes use a point system whereby customers earn points with every purchase which can, in turn, be used to gain discounts or freebies, etc.

As consumers most trust recommendations that come from friends or family members, referral programmes produce even greater rewards for all concerned: discounts for the sender and the receiver, as well as a new pool of loyal customers for the company.

Superagent can help increase customer loyalty

With Superagent, you can increase customer loyalty in a number of ways.

Bring together SMS, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger (coming soon) and many other channels in one place to respond to your clients quickly and, importantly, on the platform of their choosing.

What’s more, with Conversation Blocks, add speed and a personal touch to your communications.

These will help to ensure that clients have the best possible customer experience and are converted from one-time buyers to repeat customers.

Download the program here - for desktop or mobile - and say hello to increased efficiency and a better all-round experience for both customer and agent.