Customer loyalty is vital for most businesses but for SMEs, it can be the difference between success or failure. For SMEs looking to grow, strengthening your customer loyalty should be at the forefront of your planning.
Simply put, the customer loyalty meaning is a business's ability to retain customers but it also has a wide range of other benefits. Here we’ll see why it’s so important and what strategies you can deploy to get more loyal customers.
Significance of Customer Loyalty to SMEs
Stable cash flow – Repeat customers can help increase your profits and keep your cash flow steady.
Lower Spending – It is said you need to spend money to make money. While there is plenty of truth to that, customer loyalty can actually cut down on your costs. Without the need to constantly find new customers, you don’t need to spend as much on marketing.
More Money Spent – People are naturally cautious with new businesses. For example, you’d be hesitant to put in a big order with a company you’ve never traded with before. Customer loyalty means you’re more likely to get larger transactions from your returning customers compared with someone using your business for the first time.
Increasing Consumer Confidence – Putting the needs of the customer first will increase their confidence in your business. That will not only have the advantages mentioned above but they’ll also have the confidence to recommend you to others.
5 Strategies SMEs Can Devise to Strengthen Customer Loyalty
Do you want to improve customer loyalty at your SME? If so, then there are plenty of strategies that can help. Here we look at five ways to perfect your customer loyalty strategy.
1. Be Responsive
There are not many bigger turn-offs for customers than slow customer service. Whether it's a general question, a product query, or responding to a complaint, you always need to ensure that your response times are good.
If they are, then customers will feel valued and respected. This in turn will lead to a much more positive experience and increased loyalty. You’ll know from personal experience how frustrating it is to wait longer than you should. Make sure that your customers and clients don’t have this problem.
2. Gather Feedback and Act On It
Another thing that customers love is to feel as though their opinion matters. The first part of this is asking for feedback whether that is face-to-face, suggestion cards, an online questionnaire, or something else.
Gathering this information is important but you also need to act on it. Make improvements based on customer demand and you’ll be rewarded with loyalty.
Collecting data from customers has never been more common but doing it by asking for people’s opinions will get much better results than analysing numbers on a spreadsheet.
3. Manage Expectations
As an SME you want to impress, and you want to be better than the competition. However, if you’re not careful, this can lead to you not being able to deliver on your promises. In business, it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around.
For example, you tell one client that a package will be delivered in two days and another that it’ll be four days. If the package takes three days, the one who expected it after four days would be much happier, even though the result is the same.
4. Have a Loyalty Programme
When people hear loyalty schemes, they'll often think of a stamp card to get a free coffee or something like that. While that's a good example, there are plenty of ways to reward clients for their loyalty.
It can just be as simple as giving them a loyalty discount on future orders or first access to new products. Building a relationship will most likely lead to repeat customers.
Customers and clients love having that connection, and it means they’ll rarely look elsewhere. These loyalty programmes don’t even need to be significant to get a huge buy-in from those who use your company.
5. Be Personable
It seems like in these modern times of outsourcing and automation that being personable is more important than ever. Consumers crave that human contact and an SME that provides it is going to take a giant step towards great customer loyalty.
Whatever business you have, ensure that you are friendly and always try to add a personal touch. This can take many forms whether it is remembering customer's names, knowing their favourite order or simply being polite and friendly over phone calls.
How a Flexible Workspace Can Improve Customer Loyalty
A lot of what we’ve talked about here is making that connection with your customers. One way that a modern SME can do that is with a flexible workspace.
The idea of having your business at a static office in one location is becoming quickly outdated. Utilising a flexible office shows customers that you are a modern and dynamic company who are always ready to meet their needs.
One of the biggest barriers to the growth of SMEs is the cost of scaling up. Instead of committing to an expensive new building, flexible workspaces allow you to immediately scale up at a fraction of the cost. They allow you to grow at a natural rate without any barriers.
For the vast majority of SMEs, customer loyalty is vital to their success. It will ensure that you get repeat customers through the door, but it will also help to improve your brand recognition, increase your profits and help to market your business.
While some customer loyalty will happen organically, there are plenty of strategies that you can use to enhance the bond you have with your customers. Make sure you use the tips above as inspiration for a stronger relationship with those who use your business.
Whether it’s using a flexible workspace, answering phones politely, or creating a loyalty programme, your SME will be rewarded by focusing on customer loyalty. If you do, you’ll be much more likely to thrive and grow as a business.