In our fast-paced and tech-driven world, companies are reeling, wondering if brand loyalty exists any more. And to some degree, they’re right to question it. Today’s customers aren’t loyal to a brand for the same reasons that their parents and grandparents were – they have thousands of other options.Just this morning, I was shopping for a case for my iPad mini. I was looking for one that I could put a pad of paper in because, as a writer, I like to have options in my writing mediums. I started with Apple, but I didn’t find what I wanted. I browsed several different sites and landed on an Etsy shop. You see, I’m loyal to Apple until they don’t have exactly what I’m looking for. Even if you are a large successful company like Apple, you might not be able to offer literally every product or service that your customers can dream up, but with a solid content structure, you can make sure that your products meet their needs.
Here are 5 ways to make sure that your business keeps your customers coming back.
1) Be Relevant
Are you keeping up with your industry and its trends? If there are advances or even anticipated advances in your field, prepare for them.
For example: If you have an email marketing company and you catch wind that Google is revamping how Gmail handles marketing messages, make sure you can adjust for that, or at least speak to it if an especially news-hungry client asks you about it.
2) Be Honest
You can take the concept of honesty in multiple directions and I would argue that you should follow all of them. If your company makes a mistake or something goes wrong (your site gets hacked, your hosting lapses or your app doesn’t work), own it.
Tell your customers what happened and what you’re doing to fix it. If you play dumb, your customers will drop you like a bad habit and will never return. If you are candid about the situation, you will gain their trust. They will see your company’s honesty about the bad things as a sign that you’ll be honest about everything else.
Another aspect of honesty is in the way that you sell your product. You don’t have to list all of the things that it doesn’t do, but make sure you’re not making promises you can’t deliver. If you create correct expectations, your customers will know what to expect from your company and product or service and won’t be let down if you don’t deliver on false promises.
3) Be Solution-oriented
Customer service is an extremely important part of building a successfully loyal customer base. There are a few companies that I strictly give my business to, simply because I know that if anything goes wrong with their product, they’ll treat me with respect, no questions asked.
For example, while REI didn’t give me a refund for the shoes that my dog destroyed, they still heard my story and offered solutions. They have exchanged numerous other items and offer excellent customer service. For that reason, I hesitate to shop for outdoor gear anywhere else.
Similarly, I fly Delta because I know that their customer service line is quick and helpful when I’m in a pinch. Even if my patience level is at -10, theirs is always at +10.
Make sure that your customer service team is fast, friendly and has the tools and resources they need to give customers a resolution. Most complaining customers want to be heard and want something in return for their troubles. If you can give them that, you are much more likely to have a customer for life.
4) Be Accessible
More than 70% of Internet users are accessing websites from a mobile device. Creating a web experience for your customers that translates well, no matter what device they’re using, is paramount for success.
Imagine you post a link on social that directs to your website. Someone using a smart phone clicks on the link and lands on your homepage. However, your page isn’t responsive, so after a few seconds of frustrated pinching and scrolling, that potential customer abandons the experience altogether.
What if, instead, your website was built in a custom, responsive framework? In this case, if one potential customer clicks the link on their iPad, one on their 11-inch laptop and another on their Android phone, they would all have a seamlessly beautiful user experience and greater potential to become loyal customers.
5) Be Quality
Ok, so that’s not technically correct English, but you get my drift: are you offering a quality product or service? If you’re producing poor products and services, it doesn’t matter if you have the best customer service, the most responsive website and the most relevant communication. If your level of quality doesn’t match the price point, you’re toast.
You can’t pick and choose which of these 5 things you need to do in order to create a loyal customer base – you need all 5. You can’t be honest, but have poor quality. You can’t be solution-oriented without being relevant. Build and train your team around these principles and you will have a foolproof recipe for success.