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A customer is someone who purchases goods or services from a business. Customer loyalty is the customer’s commitment to the brand or vendor. There are a variety of steps to maintaining customer loyalty.
One of the most obvious areas in which to work on maintaining customer loyalty has to do with the products or services themselves. A continued high quality of services and/or products goes without saying. Beyond this, understanding the customer’s needs sufficiently that you can offer add-ons, enhancements, upgrades, and other ways to add value to purchased items is usually a draw for customers. Having a good sense of a wider range of products that will appeal to your customers is also key in encouraging them to return again and again.
Service plans that help protect a customer’s investment are another feature that can help boost customer loyalty. If the service plan is contracted out, then it’s essential that the company be reliable, because if not, it will reflect not only on them, but on you as well. Service plans with a range of options, like prior replacement — in which the customer receives a substitute before sending in the purchased item &m dash; or on-site servicing, when applicable, allow customization for a variety of customers.
Ease of use is something to look at across the board when considering ways to boost customer loyalty. Websites and store aisles should be easy to navigate, products and services should be easy to find, shopping carts should be easy to use, and products should come in packaging that is easy to open and with clear directions for assembly, if required. In addition, returns should be easy, when they are warranted.
Good communication is a very important element for maintaining customer loyalty. This includes clear policies about shipping, returns, sales, and guarantees, and also well-written and accurate product and service descriptions. Good communication also involves keeping in touch and providing updates that are pertinent, whether about recalls, sales, specials, promotions, or new products that would enhance what the customer has already purchased. There’s a fine line between keeping in touch and being annoying to a customer by too frequent content that has to be walked carefully.
Customer service in the age of social networking puts more on the line than ever before. If something’s not working properly or as advertised and the customer does not receive timely and competent assistance, your business name and perceived failings could be all over Twitter® and Facebook® before you know it. On the other hand, serve a customer well, and that could be broadcast, as well.
Everyone likes a freebie or a little treat. Incentives for first-time customers, repeat customers, and big-spending customers help to maintain customer loyalty. This could take the form of early information about a sale, a discount coupon, a buy-one-get-one-free promotion, or a buy-nine-get-the-tenth-free promotion.
Icecream17- I know that other customer loyalty rewards include free gifts on the customer’s birthday.
Both Aveda and Vera Bradley offer a free product for your birthday. Aveda offers a choice of body lotion or shampoos while Vera Bradley offers a free gift up to $25 value.
This allows you to buy whatever you want. Usually people spend more money than they came in for so these gifts work to the store’s advantage.
This is another form of customer loyalty marketing that looks to differentiate between good customers and great customers.
Other stores offer customer loyalty cards. For example, Publix Supermarkets, Winn-Dixie, and even CVS have customer loyalty cards that offer those customers discounts initially
when they purchase at the store and in addition their accumulated purchases are recorded and when they reach a certain threshold they will receive an additional monetary discount of a few dollars off or even receive a free product.
These incentives can be very motivating and many customers look forward to these savings. The stores also develop a marketing database of all of their customers and can analyze their customers buying habits.
Sunshine31- They usually have a specific two week window in order to redeem these savings. You will be entitled to a discount of $25 on a $50 purchase or more or a discount of $50 on a purchase of $100 or more.
This is really a great deal and among the best retail customer loyalty programs out there. The store also offers a credit card that gives points back for discounts on Gymboree purchases.
The thing to keep in mind is that these customer loyalty schemes expire because you have limited time to take advantage of the promotion. You usually have about a two week period to redeem the discount.
Mutsy- The store might also offer a rewards card that will track your purchases and offer a free pair of shoes after so many transactions.
These customer loyalty cards offer a wealth of information for companies because not only does it offer specific demographics as to who is purchasing their products but now they can reward those active customers with these customer loyalty strategies.
I know Gymboree offers Gym Bucks. If you purchase at least $50 or more they will offer you Gym Bucks that you can redeem on your next purchase.
The best way to measure customer loyalty is to perform a combination of customer loyalty surveys and focus groups.
These customer satisfaction loyalty surveys could include questions regarding what the customer would like to see in the future in terms of customer rewards or discounts.
Some people prefer the initial discount and others love to accumulate the rewards points. Both programs are beneficial.
For example, if you go to a shoe store and at the end of your purchase you are offered a 25% discount or $10 off your next purchase you might consider returning to that store in order to redeem your incentive. This is a customer loyalty marketing program that is great to turn casual customers into regular customers.
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