Customer loyalty is what every business strives for. To have loyal customers who support you, promote your brand, and keep returning with their friends and family is the ideal scenario for any business, no matter what product or service you are selling.

So, how do you win the loyalty of customers? Money can’t buy loyalty. Offering a quality product and excellent service goes a long way. But what does it take to move a customer from being regular to being loyal?

It’s a combination of strategies that build trust, improve interaction, increase engagement, and actively retain the customer after their first purchase.

Why is customer loyalty important?

There are many reasons to invest the time, energy, and resources into creating an effective customer loyalty program. In the current economic climate, it has become more important than ever, especially for small business to win customers over. You need every competitive edge you can get to be noticed and attract new customers while maintaining the loyalty of your current client base.

Here are five reasons why you should seriously consider offering a loyalty program in your business.

1.
Customer loyalty programs increases sales

Every business owner knows word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective (and cost effective) forms of marketing.  One happy customer tells ten friends, or better still gives you a positive review or shout out on social media that reaches thousands and suddenly, your business is booming. You’ve heard of these viral success stories. Many happen by accident, many more happen by clever planning and building customer loyalty.

Once you start establishing your database of loyal customers, you can market specifically to them the products and services they want to buy. When you understand the value of personalising your customer experience, you will find their loyalty comes naturally as they feel you understand their needs. It’s a subtle art, but one that can be mastered if you’re prepared to put in the time. The return on your investment will be more than worth it.

2. Customer loyalty programs build your brand and reputation

Loyal customers become loyal brand ambassadors; unpaid marketers who happily spread the word to their friends, family and following about your business. It’s marketing gold and available to every business that implements a customer loyalty program.

With every message, share, tweet and call, your brand is being built by your customers directly to your target audience. These referrals and recommendations build your brand and reputation in the market and can go a long way to building business success.

3. Customer loyalty programs improve market research

If you want to know what your customers want, ask them! Customer loyalty programs provide the perfect vehicle to find out what makes your customers tick. They don’t mind sharing information with you through profiles or surveys if it means they will in turn receive a more personalised customer experience.

This data helps you build a profile on your customers, allowing you to stay on top of trends and provide the products or services that fit their needs and wants. You can target your marketing with more accuracy when you have accurate data from your loyal customers.

4. Customer loyalty programs ensure your customers feel valued

Happy customers build profitable businesses. One way to keep them happy, apart from continuing to provide the products and services they want, is to make sure they feel valued. Incentives are a great example. From something simple like a free coffee, or birthday meal to more elaborate incentives offered when purchasing a new car or home; if your customer feels you value them, they will continue to support your business.

Valuing customers can also help your business in unexpected ways. When problems arise, a loyal customer who feels valued will be much more understanding than a new customer you have no relationship with. There will be more leeway for resolving problems and when you do, your customers will appreciate and recommend you even more.

5. Customer loyalty programs are cost effective

It is said that attracting a new customer costs your business seven times more than the cost of retaining an existing one. That’s a lot of money that could be spent in other areas of your business. Carefully developing and nurturing customer loyalty is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing and indeed a relatively easy way to grow your business.

It all boils down to creating a simple, affordable, and sustainable rewards program for your business. The initial cost will quickly pay dividends in happy customers, return business and word-of-mouth marketing.

bRewards is a program that rewards your business, your family and you

Created by members for members, bRewards is Bartercard’s referral and loyalty program. It rewards you for introducing new businesses you want to trade with.

The program is designed for your business, your family and you, offering rewards such as reduced trading fees, store cards, petrol vouchers and much more, giving you real cash savings.

As well, you’ll be building the Bartercard community giving you more opportunities to use your trade dollars and offset your cash expenses.

The perfect partner

Find out how bRewards may be the perfect customer loyalty program for your business.

Anna

Author Anna

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