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How to Encourage Customer Loyalty in Your Small Business and Why It’s Critical to Your Success!

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How to Encourage Customer Loyalty in Your Small Business and Why It’s Critical to Your Success!

By bridgetwpollack, Guest Blogger
Published: July 9, 2014

You’ve probably heard the adage that “keeping an old customer is cheaper than converting a new one.” But just how much cheaper is it? According to survey data presented in the new SCORE Infographic out this month, securing a new customer is six to seven times more expensive than keeping an existing one. And loyal customers are worth up to 10 times the amount of their first purchase! Given these findings, it becomes obvious that customer loyalty is a worthwhile goal for your business to aspire, not only for marketing and branding reasons, but because of its impact on the bottom line as well.

If you’ve ever wondered how much of an impact customer loyalty really makes to a small business, check out the infographic, “Customer Loyalty: Winning Them Over is the Key to Growth” for the full visual rundown in terms of real dollars and cents.

Since it’s clear that customer loyalty is imperative to your enterprise’s success, let’s further explore the options and techniques others have used to cultivate strong customer devotion. The experts at the SBA recently offered “4 Tips for Customer Loyalty Programs” including:

·         Loyalty Punch Cards

·         Opt-In Programs

·         Digital Days

But, the SBA warns, “there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach for all businesses. Observe customer trends and listen to what they say so you’ll be able to think of ways to make your incentives and rewards as unique as your business.”

Check out the full blog post to learn how to best employ these tactics and how to determine what is really important to and impactful on your specific customer base.

Tips to Employ Everyday

Seasoned SCORE mentor Stephen Engelhardt recently shared his “Expert Tips for Sales and Customer Loyalty” in which he discusses how to embrace the sales process as a small business owner and how to foster a long-term relationship with your clients and customers. Stephen addresses the hard questions such as:

·         How can you turn a problem or complaint into an opportunity to win over or win back a customer?

·         What are some simple ways to build customer loyalty so that they’ll keep coming back and hopefully spread the word about your small business?

·         Should you be up front about wanting to do more for customers, or is a more subtle approach better?

He shares experienced advice like, “I made thousands of dollars in sales from problem clients because I read their mindset and what was needed to make them happy.” Read the interview for all of Stephen’s expert insights gained as a business owner and a SCORE mentor.

Boosting Customer Loyalty with Big Data

Finally, like most aspects of your business, it’s important to periodically take a step back and survey your internal statistics regarding customer loyalty to evaluate trends and see what can be improved.

"Customer data gives businesses, especially smaller ones, a great opportunity to reward customers with loyalty programs that pay attention to their specific purchase preferences," said Tyler Roye, CEO and co-founder of e-gift card retailer eGifter. "[This can] include products purchased, channels viewed and purchased through, and even currencies used to purchase. Drilling down in those specific areas allows businesses to offer the most-enticing deals and programs for customers, not only making them more likely to spend with the business, but also making them feel valued as individuals."

In her article on the topic, Nicole Fallon, Assistant Editor of Business News Daily, suggests two places to focus your data collection relative to customer loyalty: social network analysis and cross-IT integration.

 

You may have noticed that all of these experts have agreed upon the fact that knowing a customer’s needs and catering to them wins you their trust and repeat business. Knowledge is power and having that knowledge specific to your target customer may be the key to generating up to 10 times more revenue in your small business. Worth the investment, no? If you’re getting stuck on new incentives to offer your customers or how to delve deeper into analyzing your current tactics, tap into the knowledge and experience of a SCORE mentor who has been there and done that. Connect with a SCORE mentor online or at a local chapter today!

About the Author:

Bridget Weston Pollack

Guest Blogger

Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at the SCORE Association. She is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR, and communication efforts. She focuses on implementing marketing plans and strategies to facilitate the growth of SCORE’s mentoring and trainings services. She collaborates with SCORE volunteers and develops SCORE’s online marketing strategy.

Comments:

As an attorney I understand that I am in the service industry and must provide excellent customer service. Therefore, to increase customer loyalty, I make sure my clients have several means to contact me. They can contact me via text cell phone or email. I also return calls on the weekends. One of the biggest complaints I hear from clients about other attorneys, is that the attorneys are hard to reach or don't return the client's phone calls.
Loyalty schemes are an excellent way to increase customer loyalty and in the digital way of life today a lot of innovation needs to be achieved regarding this matter. Loyalty cards are a thing of the past so substantial innovative methods must be implemented for attracting customers.
Bridget Weston Pollack your post is very helpful for me because I am also in marketing field since 2007. Its very challenging to encourage when you meet bad customers.
Sure, customer loyalty is important, but remember too that your clients WANT to be loyal to you. It's way too much work for a busy business owner to spend the time and go through the stress of finding someone else to do the tasks you're doing. Know that by proactively encouraging customer loyalty, you're really doing them a big favor too.
Few invest in a simple and enormously logical step of welcoming new clients and letting them know of other potential ways you can be of service. Small actions like this can be the start of the process of building true relationships that is the legitimate basis of long-term loyalty. To execute successful loyalty building requires infrastructure and a commitment to do it consistently. This is not easy but it is arguably the last attainable avenue to long-term competitive edge. We are using company called Enfront to automate loyalty building and it is working quite well.
as a consequence of lack knowledge or information and facts helping consumers to really feel a particular or prominent part of organization, is somewhat missing. Hope right initiative & good understanding would help to erase such gap created.
In this role, Bridget is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR
This Idea about 'How to Encourage Customer Loyalty in Your Small Business and Why It’s Critical to Your Success!' is very useful for my small business . Thanks a lot. Make money online [This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.]
Customer loyalty and word of mouth is one of the most important ways to maintain your businesses inbound revenue!! Treat your customers like family and they will recommend you to their friends and family! If they have a bad experience with your company they will tell anyone and everyone that will listen! Keeping clients loyal is all about the service and experience!!
Well retaining loyal customers has been big ask for most of the businesses, where maximum no. of businesses are struggling, due to lack knowledge or information helping customers to feel a special or prominent part of business, is somewhat missing. Hope correct initiative & good understanding would help to erase such gap created.

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