Customer Loyalty and the Humble Yo-Yo, Part 4: Trying out New 'Tricks' to Build Insanely Loyal Customers
Whether you've been focused on improving your customer loyalty metrics for many years or you're just starting to look at how you engage with your clientele, one of the most important steps in improving your loyalty is to test out new strategies to see how your customers respond. In part four of our series Customer Loyalty and the Humble Yo-Yo we'll take a look at how trying out new 'tricks' – outside-the-box strategies for building customer loyalty – can have a major impact on your branding and customer engagement.
Using Mobile Apps to Engage Your Customers on the Go
Given that about 70 percent of mobile subscribers now own a smartphone, if you have been holding off of investing in a mobile app for your business you may want to get the process started. Having an iPhone or Android app allows you to engage with your customers on a 24/7 basis, anywhere in the world. Conversely, your customers will be able to browse through or purchase your products or ask questions without having to set foot in your stores, which may end up driving sales. You can also offer special "mobile only" promotions which will encourage your loyal customers to keep your app on their phone so they can receive a notification of the next great sale or discount.
One important note: while having a great mobile app experience can massively improve your customer loyalty you'll find that having a poor experience can tank your brand's reputation and cause negative feedback to spread throughout the app stores and online. When you're ready to get a mobile app produced be sure to work with a reputable app development shop that understands how to produce an engaging interface and user experience that will keep your customers opening the app again and again.
Using Surveys for Feedback and Suggestions
Do you know what keeps your customers loyal to your business and brand? Is it your product quality, or the variety of choices you offer, or your amazing team of employees? One excellent way to determine where you should be investing time and money to improve your customer loyalty is by conducting surveys on a regular basis. You can survey new customers to see what they liked about your experience and how you can better serve them the next time they shop, and survey your loyal customers to see what they love about your business and what improvements would make shopping easier or more fun.
With services like Google Consumer Surveys you can even survey individuals that have no prior exposure to your business or brand but fall within demographics that you would like to target. This can be very helpful if you're thinking about launching a new customer loyalty program or incentive and would like to get an idea of how it might be received before testing it on your active customer base.
Building Incentives in to Your Business Model
Speaking of incentives, if you're serious about building insanely loyal customers you should be constantly testing and offering incentives to encourage repeat business. Incentives like discounts, points or coupons are the most widely-used customer loyalty strategy and having an incentive program is crucial to building a stable amount of repeat business. While it's true that offering incentives has a bottom-line impact, a well-run incentive program will generate far more in return than it costs to produce. Don't be shy about playing around with your incentive program to test out how your customer base responds, as the collective memory for these types of promotions is generally short. For example, if you already offer regular discounts or email coupons, perhaps try an affiliate strategy where your customers can earn points for sharing posts about your brand on Facebook or Twitter.
Letting Your Employees Have Some Fun
If you operate a retail business, one trick that you might want to try is to encourage your employees to have a bit of fun with your customers. Major retail chains like Apple and Starbucks encourage their staff to be a little playful while still maintaining the professional air that is associated with their brands. Properly executed, this strategy has two major effects; your employees will feel more engaged with your business and your customer loyalty will improve. For example, if your business is retail clothing you could let your employees choose a particular outfit or colour that everyone on the floor wears on a certain day of the week, or you could encourage employees to take photos of customers that are trying on outfits for posting on Instagram or Pinterest.
Being Consistent with Your Communication
While testing new approaches and strategies to increase your customer loyalty it's critical to remember that you need to be consistent in your outreach and communication. If you simply send off a survey to your customer base or blast out a few posts on your Facebook page your communication will appear one-sided and disjointed – especially if local competitors have a more strategic approach. Instead, you could reply with a thank you for filling out the survey, and then in a week or two send out key points from the survey's results that your customers may find interesting. Building consistency in to your communication strategy will help your customers feel like they're part of an active conversation with your brand and will help to improve your customer loyalty.
Also, when you're ready to test a new strategy be sure to build a full communications plan that includes a timeline for when every step will be executed. If you plan on testing a new incentive such as a "Friends and Family Discount" – how and when will it be marketed? Setting your strategy out in advance will ensure that you are consistent in your outreach and follow-up.
Here at Retail Hero it's our goal to help you build a loyalty program that will improve your customer engagement and ultimately lead to increased sales and repeat business. Contact us today at 1-888-RTL-HERO to learn more about our customer loyalty solutions.
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