The importance of customer loyalty and retention is its help in developing a strong customer base, driving sales and reducing costs. Loyal customers not only return for repeat purchases, but also refer family, friends and acquaintances. Having a strong customer base allows businesses to reduce their marketing costs, since it is generally cheaper to invest in customer retention programs than to attract new customers. Popular methods for retaining customers include taking care of customer complaints immediately, offering rewards programs and opening lines of communication.
Benefits of customer loyalty and retention include having reduced costs and a stronger brand name. Costs are reduced because customer retention efforts are generally less expensive than marketing to attract new business. Loyal customers are also more inclined to refer family, friends and acquaintances, further reducing a business's marketing costs. As loyal customers refer others, the business gains publicity and a stronger brand name. When customers recognize a brand, they are more likely to purchase a product by this brand rather than by an unknown company. The odds of making a purchase from this brand further increases if it was recommended by a trusted source.
Repeat business through customer loyalty and retention is essential for most businesses to survive in the long term. By having a strong customer base, the business can grow exponentially instead of continuously replacing today's customers with new customers tomorrow. If the company is continuously finding new customers without retaining previous customers, it will have trouble growing past a certain point. When the business eventually exhausts its ability to find new customers without retaining previous customers, it may have to find new markets or invest in developing new products.
Keeping customers loyal can mean solving customer complaints in a timely fashion, offering a rewards system and keeping lines of communication open. Solving customer complaints promptly can significantly increase satisfaction, resulting in these customers becoming more likely to return for repeat purchases. Rewards programs that are focused on customer loyalty and retention commonly offer customers discounts or free gifts for continual patronage. Communicating with customers by means of using social networking sites, emails and newsletters can help customers remember the company name when it comes time to make a purchase.
Customer loyalty and retention programs ensure that customers leave satisfied. Word of mouth is the cheapest form of advertisement, reducing a business's marketing costs. Ultimately, it's having a positive reputation with a strong customer base from referrals that will help a business strengthen its brand name and image.