Customer loyalty isn’t something that you deserve as a business owner. But it is something you can earn. The minute you start expecting loyalty is right when you’ll lose your biggest supporters. The good news is that there’s been a revival of support for Main Street. So, if you have a local presence (a brick and mortar location, for example) and you’re in the right city, you might have an edge. The bad news is that encouraging customer loyalty in the digital area can be tougher than ever because of the anonymity that a screen provides.

This doesn’t mean pursuing loyal customers is a lost cause—far from it. It just means you need to tweak your approaches to suit the digital era and give customers what they want. Happy customers are return customers, and eventually habits become second nature. If you want to create conversions for years, not just a one-off sale, here are a few ways to go about it.

5 Approaches to Customer Loyalty

  1. Dish out shareable content – It’s not enough to have a thriving social media presence where you engage with your customers. You also need to provide shareable content, preferably of a viral nature. If customers find your content good enough to share, whether on your blog, YouTube or Facebook, they’ve just joined your free marketing team. It also makes them personally invested in your company because they feel kinship toward your brand.
  2. Consistent quality service – This one seems obvious, right? Then why do so many businesses fail here? Your number one priority at all times should be on a positive customer experience with zero room for slip-ups. It doesn’t matter if you have a physical shop in town or only converse with your customers on email. You can achieve quality service by hiring smart and providing ongoing customer success training for all employees who interact with customers.
  3. Show appreciation – It sometimes takes more than top-of-the-line customer service to really win someone over for life. If you appreciate your customers, then they’re more likely to respond. This might be with a customer appreciation day, handwritten birthday cards, or simply knowing customers by name and remembering their usual order. Personal touches can go a long way.
  4. Outshine the competition  – It’s an art to do better than the competition without showing off or looking competitive. You might not be able to compete with price (especially if you’re a small business up against a corporation), but you can compete with options for customer service, hours you’re open, delivery methods or a host of other ways. Get creative and offer something nobody else in your industry or region does.
  5. Put a face to your business – It’s easy for a customer to say no or ignore a business that seems like an entity, but it’s a lot tougher to cut ties with a person. Your business, regardless of size, should be perceived as warm and inviting. Put a face to your business via your online presence. Let your customers get to know you.

Some of the biggest mistakes that diminish customer loyalty include poor service, making mistakes (and not fessing up and addressing the), or simply acting like each individual customer isn’t special. They are.

Every customer is a piece of your bread and butter.

Additional categories: Customer Experience