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How to boost customer loyalty

Do you think that a low price is the be all and end all for customers? Not so according to research which says that consumers are more likely to stay loyal to a brand if they get good service, not just the best price. Here are six ways that you can build loyalty and ensure repeat custom through good customer service.

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Ask customers what they think

By regularly surveying customers and asking for their feedback in person or on social media, you will demonstrate that you care what they think. In a world of big business and poor service, customers appreciate being listened to.

Stay in touch

Use account management techniques to keep in contact with your key customers. If possible, assign a dedicated account manager to your client so that they come to expect consistency and a high level of service from you.

Some companies also use the information they have about clients in their customer relationship management (CRM) system to send out automated emails for occasions like birthdays or buying anniversaries.

Go the extra mile

Doing just that little bit extra can really make a difference to how you're perceived by customers – and it doesn't have to cost the earth. Helping a customer carry their order out to their car or following up a sale with a phone call can make a customer feel good and, most importantly, like they'll want to buy from you again.

Reward loyalty

Offer long-serving and prompt-paying customers a discount to thank them for their custom, or set up a reward scheme for repeat purchases, e.g. 'buy nine coffees and get the tenth free'. Customers are more inclined to keep shopping with you if there is an incentive at the end of it.

Manage expectations

It is important that you don't promise more to your customer than you can deliver. This will only lead to disappointment and a negative perception of your company.

Be realistic about what you can achieve and even err on the side of caution so that you look better when you do deliver ahead of schedule.

Be useful

If you think that a piece of information would be useful to your client pass it on. If you have a lot of customers and you think you have a lot of useful information to impart, you might consider providing them with a free newsletter (also a good way of attracting potential customers).

If you network, you could also make yourself useful by providing clients with referrals. You never know, they may even repay the favour.

Source: Aspect, May 2012