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How to build customer loyalty: 6 steps to keep your customers coming back

Best Practices
Customer Experiences


Ah, customer loyalty —  the holy grail of business success. It’s like having a group of devoted fans who not only buy from you but also sing your praises to anyone who will listen. And who doesn’t want more of that? Whether you’re a small startup or a well-established brand, building a loyal customer base should always be a top priority.

After all, repeat customers have a purchasing power that’s hard to ignore. Did you know that they generate 40% of a company’s revenue, while only accounting for 8% of its customer base? Plus, they’re more likely to refer their friends and family to your brand, resulting in free marketing and increased sales. So, how do you keep them coming back for more?

We’ve got six actionable steps to help you build long-term advocacy among your customer base. Because let’s face it, retaining your current customers is just as crucial for your success as acquiring new ones. According to Harvard Business Review, acquiring a new customer is five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. So, let’s dive into the importance of customer loyalty and discover how to make your customers fall in love with your brand.

Step 1: Know your customers

Before you can build customer loyalty, you need to (really) understand your customers. This means conducting market research to learn more about your target audience, identifying their needs and pain points and developing buyer personas. According to Clay Christensen’s book, “Milkshake Marketing,” 19 out of every 20 new products fail. You need data backing your product development strategy to retain your existing customers and gain new business.

By understanding your customers, you can tailor your products, services and marketing efforts to better meet their needs and preferences. This will help you build stronger relationships with your customers and keep them coming back.

Step 2: Create a stellar customer experience

One of the best ways to build customer loyalty is by providing a stellar customer experience. This means offering excellent customer service, providing personalized recommendations and solutions and using customer feedback to continuously improve the experience.

In fact, a study by PwC found that 73% of consumers say that customer experience is a key factor in their purchasing decisions. By focusing on creating a positive and memorable experience for your customers, you can differentiate your business from your competitors and build lasting relationships with your customers.

Step 3: Implement a loyalty program

Loyalty programs are a popular way to incentivize customers to keep coming back. By offering rewards, discounts and other benefits to loyal customers, you can increase retention rates and boost customer lifetime value.

There are several types of loyalty programs, including point-based systems, tiered programs and membership programs. When setting up your loyalty program, be sure to consider your customers’ preferences and needs to ensure that the program is effective.

Tip: Online communities are a great way to foster connections with your brand loyalists. ExpertVoice Communities help brands connect with industry professionals who are passionate about their products, and activate them to build brand buzz. 

Step 4: Reward loyalty and engage customers

In addition to implementing a loyalty program, it’s important to reward loyalty and engage customers in other ways. This could include offering special deals and discounts, creating loyalty tiers with escalating rewards and using gamification to increase engagement.

By rewarding and engaging your customers, you can create a sense of community and belonging around your brand. This will help build customer loyalty and increase the likelihood that customers will refer your brand to others.

Step 5: Track and measure customer loyalty

To ensure that your loyalty program and other efforts are effective, it’s important to track and measure customer loyalty. This can be done using metrics like the Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer satisfaction scores and customer lifetime value.

By analyzing these metrics and using data to continuously improve your loyalty program and customer experience, you can increase retention rates and build stronger relationships with your customers.

Step 6: Build customer advocacy

Finally, building customer advocacy is another important step in building customer loyalty. By encouraging customer referrals and positive reviews, using social media and other channels to build brand advocates, and creating customer advocacy programs, you can turn loyal customers into vocal advocates for your brand.

In fact, according to a study by HubSpot, 81% of consumers say that they trust the advice of family and friends over businesses. By building customer advocacy and leveraging the power of word-of-mouth marketing, you can attract new customers and build long-term loyalty.

Building customer loyalty is a continuous process

Think that your brand ticks some of these boxes, but maybe not all of them? Building customer loyalty is a long-term investment that requires effort and commitment. However, the benefits of retaining loyal customers are worth it. By personalizing their experience, providing excellent customer service, maintaining consistent branding, rewarding loyalty, engaging on social media, and continuously improving your products or services — you can keep your customers coming back for more. Remember, building customer loyalty is a continuous process that requires constant attention and effort. Follow these steps to create a loyal customer base that will support your business for years to come.

Connect to your brand’s biggest advocates with ExpertVoice.

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