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5 Easy Ways to Ensure Customer Loyalty

  • Blog
  • 16 October 2015

There's an age-old saying within the business world that it is more cost-effective to retain customers than it is to cultivate some new ones, so it is surprising that a recent report from Barclays revealed that only just over half of SMEs are actually employing client-retention tactics. If you are considering whether your business needs to employ any such techniques, consider another statistic contained in the Barclays study: that a five per cent boost in customer retention can lead to a 75 per cent rise in profitability. If that is enough to convince you, take a look at the top tips from the Federation of Small Businesses to help boost your customer loyalty levels.

5 Easy Ways to Ensure Customer Loyalty

Show Your Appreciation

We at the Federation of Small Businesses have always known that customers appreciate being appreciated, and countless studies have demonstrated that people who feel valued by a business will return time and again. This can be as simple as offering a friendly smile and greeting (almost 60 per cent of people in the Barclays survey said that this was a factor in their making repeated use of SMEs) or it may be a word or note of thanks.

Stay in Touch

The personal touch is what marks many SMEs apart from their larger faceless competitors and encourages customers to return. Make an effort to stay in touch, whether by sending out Christmas cards or chatting on Facebook. This will not only show customers that you care, but can also initiate helpful feedback that can help shape the future of your business.

Also ensure that you hire the right people to build up and maintain this sort of relationship with your customers. Try to combine both professional and personal skills when it comes to choosing employees in a bid to deliver on every aspect of the service that you offer.

Deliver on Service

We believe that delivering the promised level of service is the most important technique in retaining and building customer loyalty. Your customer wants to be certain that they will get the service they require in the manner that they want it every single time they use your business. It is your job to ensure that they receive this if you want to be certain of retaining their loyalty. In the world of journalism, there's a saying about how you are only as good as your last story, and it's the same for owners and managers of SMEs. A customer may have had years of exemplary service, but it can only take one bad experience for them to take their business elsewhere.

In order to ensure that you are always delivering the type of first-class service that your customers expect, we recommend putting yourself in their place. Evaluating your business from the perspective of your clients and customers can be a really enlightening experience, and one that can prompt you to make improvements or simply continue in a similar successful vein. Strive for continual improvement, as this will benefit both your customers and your business.

Be Pro-active

Initiate loyalty schemes to keep your customers coming back, and respond if you hear of any negative feedback. Your customers will appreciate your openness and your willingness to hear their complaints or about any improvements they would like you to make. This also extends to keeping track of your customers' accounts. If a payment is declined, for example, get in touch to ask why and to come up with solutions. Your customers will not complain about attentiveness and your keenness to help with their situation. Give your customers an incentive to come back, both in terms of the service that you offer and the way in which you deliver what they need.

Be Honest

If your business makes a mistake, be honest. Do not try to shift the blame elsewhere if this is not the right thing to do, as being found out can have a severely detrimental impact on your reputation. Your customers are not likely to flee in response to a genuine error that is quickly put right, but they may well decide not to return if they feel that their concerns have been brushed off, they have been left in the dark or they know they have been on the receiving end of a downright lie. Admitting to mistakes can be a vital way of building up a relationship of mutual trust between your business and your customers. It's a vital part of maintaining and gaining the loyalty that you undoubtedly need.

FSB Business Continuity from FSB

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