There are many ways that companies can stand out from their competition and make customers loyal to their brand. Irrespective of how big your business is or what percentage of market share your company has, it’s still crucially important to differentiate yourself and to cultivate customer loyalty. Did you know that repeat customers tend to spend up to 2 thirds more money on your company than first-time customers? Did you also know that from a sales and marketing standpoint, it’s ten times cheaper to retain a customer’s business than it is to attract a new customer? If you are interested in strategies that can help you stand out and cultivate customer loyalty, you can try out the following.
Create better communication channels between you and your customers
If you have great communication channels between you and your customers, and you utilise them frequently, you’ll have an easier time distinguishing yourself from your competitors. Communication channels include mailing lists, contact information databases, and phone numbers. Your objective here will be to pass important information about your brand along to your customers and to ensure that they don’t forget about you. You should send your customers birthday messages and occasional reminders about your promotions. You can also engage with your customers on social media as frequently as you want to, as long as you don’t spam them with too many adverts. Light-hearted and informative messages are always appreciated by customers.
Provide the best possible customer service
This should go without saying, but it’s important to remember that the quality of customer service that your company offers determines whether customers stick around. For most people, a rude or unhelpful customer service representative is a deal breaker. If a customer has a bad experience with your service, the only way she will return is if there are no alternative services out there. Market surveys have shown that half of all customers will immediately end their relationship with a service if they had an interaction that wasn’t fulfilling. Also, remember that customers like to share their experiences with family and friends, and in our interconnected world, news of one bad customer service experience can spread like a wildfire and cost you a lot of business.
Provide loyalty incentives to your customers
Incentives and perks can make your customers feel special and appreciated, and this can make you stand out from your competitors. Depending on the type of business you are running, you can set up reward systems, send out gifts, offer access to exclusive content, or run promotions with grand prizes.
Take up a cause that will endear you to your customers
An increasing number of consumers are indicating their preference for companies and brands that give back to the community and take up causes that make a difference in people’s lives. More than ever, people want to know that their favourite brands share their values (e.g. going green, fair trade etc.). You can take up a cause or support a social program that your customers care about. You will be doing some good, and in the process, you will be distinguishing yourself from your competitors.
Offer alternative payment plans for cash-strapped customers
You can distinguish your business by creating an alternative payment plan that will attract customers who don’t have the means to pay for your product in one large instalment. This works particularly well if your product or service is considered a large one-time purchase (e.g. large appliances, jewellery, home improvement services, etc.). Accepting payments in instalments can help ensure that you have a healthy cash flow all year round if your business is seasonal.
Don’t be overly reliant on modern technology
Companies are rushing to automate most of their services as a cost-cutting measure, but this has a negative effect on customer loyalty. The fact is that people prefer human interactions to automated prompts. If your customers call your support services and all they can find on the other end is a robotic voice that doesn’t offer them much help, they’ll become frustrated and they’ll assume that you are taking them for granted.
Offer the kind of quality that inspires passion and devotion
When all is said and done, the best way to stand out from your competitors is to provide products or services of better quality than everyone else’s. If your product is the absolute best, it will practically sell itself. It’s possible to offer the kind of quality that makes people passionate about your product and devoted to your brand. For example, many Apple customers believe that the company’s products are the best, and they are dedicated to the brand to a similar extent as some people are dedicated to their religions.