What business is your absolute go-to place? I have some stores like this. I’m happy to make them a monopoly and give them all of my purchasing power. Why? They have a culture of customer loyalty. They completely take care of my needs. I don’t feel a need to shop around because they’re paying attention, and they know how to make my life easier.
Why would a customer want to give a business a monopoly of their attention and money? It takes time and effort to find a business that offers what you are looking for. Once you find the right fit, it’s easier to keep frequenting that business. When they are happy with a decision, most customers will stay with that choice unless given a reason to change.
Establishing a culture of customer loyalty doesn’t happen overnight. It requires the right strategies and incentives in place to create an environment where your customers want to come back again and again. Where to start?
Loyal Customers Consistently Have Their Needs Met
Do you understand what makes your best customers tick? Why they might buy from you, and how often? You can use surveys, phone calls, interviews, focus groups—or just ask your customers in conversation.
It’s important to understand as much about your customers as possible—where they shop now (and why), what are their main needs and wants. What’s their ‘why’ when making decisions (convenience? knowledge? price? vale? relationships?)?
Instead of assuming that your customers will stick with you just because they like your products or services, how can you make their lives easier or better? What more might they want?
For example, if a regular customer says he loves going to your restaurant for dinner because a dish on the menu is his all time favorite, you could offer him an exclusive dinner VIP card where he receives special deals and discounts. In doing so, not only are you creating opportunities for him to buy more from you but you’re also showing him how much his loyalty means to you.
Loyal Customers Feel At Home in Your Space
A culture of customer loyalty begins with making customers feel at home. If you’re not looking for repeat business, chances are you won’t get it. This means that treating your customers as important people should be something done on every single touchpoint – whether they’re first-time customers or regulars who come in every other week.
Make sure that new customers feel welcome, valued, and appreciated by providing them with an experience they can’t find anywhere else. This is also important for established customers; don’t let their business become routine—remember why they started shopping with you in the first place! Show them that you appreciate their business, and they’ll keep coming back again and again.
Building customer loyalty has more to do with building relationships than it does with clever sales techniques. Instead of trying to get customers in and out as quickly as possible, make an effort to know their names and really listen when they’re talking. The more connected you feel, the more likely they’ll be to come back for repeat business.
Empowered Team Members Create Loyal Customers
By now, you know that I’m a huge fan of taking care of your team members. Once you’ve created an emotional connection with your customers, it’s time to ensure that loyalty extends from your brand down to your team members.
Nothing creates loyalty like word-of-mouth recommendations from happy customers. One of the best ways to develop these raving fans is by empowering your team members.
Customers love feeling appreciated and valued. When you treat your team members well, they will reciprocate by spreading good vibes about your brand.
My Example of Customer Loyalty Culture
Farm to Paw Pet Boutique has earned a monopoly on all things pets for many customers. The stores are fun, and they’ve done a great job with their branding. Let’s go beyond their branding and into the experience.
Farm to Paw sells high-end raw food, healthy kibble, dehydrated food, treats and pet toys. They understand that their customers aren’t just pet owners – they are people who are passionate about their animals, view them as family members, and want the best health outcomes for them.
Customers are encouraged to bring their dogs (and sometimes cats!) into the stores. Pictures are taken and posted on social media – “Look who visited us!”. The relationships and connections with their customers and dogs have created a raving fan community that includes me! I live 25 minutes away from the closest store, yet my neighbors and I have no problem making that drive. It’s altogether a different operation compared to your average pet food store.
If you have a successful business, you already have customers who have granted you a monopoly of their attention and spending power. Identify who those customers are. Why do they choose you and why do they keep coming back?
Once identified, how can you expand the powerful, positive experience to other customers and expand your monopoly status?
Your customers have the power of choosing the businesses they buy from. Give them a reason to choose yours!