small business customer loyalty

The Changing Landscape of Customer Loyalty

Landscape

Customer loyalty has always been paramount to a business’s success. Having a customer who believes in your company will not only secure business with that one client, but it will contribute to a positive image for your brand that will attract even more patrons. In the past five years, the nature of customer relations has undergone a rapid change, requiring businesses to take advantage of the new tools available in order to remain competitive. Below we have outlined some of the changes that have affected customer loyalty for businesses and some current methods that you can implement to build a positive relationship with your clients.

**What's changed?

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  • Technology: The increased use of mobile technology has brought many changes to the customer loyalty landscape. Social media, apps, and mobile friendly websites allow customers to connect with businesses even when they are not in stores. For example, some companies offer apps so customers can track their membership perks. Other companies offer virtual services for customer convenience, such as restaurant apps that allow customers to order their food in advance. In addition, businesses can also take advantage of online tools to stay connected with their clients and learn more about their interests. By utilizing online networking platforms, such as email and social media, businesses can communicate with their customers and learn what attracts them.
  • Competition: Consumers can now easily check competitor prices online, making the consumer market more competitive than ever. Further, potential customers can scour online reviews, often basing purchasing decisions on the testimonies of other customers. For these reasons, creating positive relationships with current customers is critical, as word of mouth travels quickly online. Fortunately, businesses can also use the power of technology to their advantage, by staying connected with every customer to inform them of current and upcoming deals.
  • Membership Programs: Many of the old reward programs are no longer effective as the customer loyalty landscape has evolved. Programs that take too long to accumulate points or have complicated structures are typically not successful in retaining customers. Creating simple reward programs that offer instant gratification, or rewards of real value to the customers, have been shown to be much more successful in achieving customer loyalty for businesses. Offering exclusive VIP events for members like special sales or discounts will make your loyal customers feel valued, too.

**What's stayed the same?** * **Competitive prices:** As previously stated, with the use of technology, potential clients can easily compare competitor prices online. Keeping your clients in the loop about special promotions or offers is an excellent way to communicate your business’s competitive rates. * **Personable customer service:** Providing your customers positive in-store experiences starts with your staff and greatly increases the chance of turning every customer into a repeat customers. Maintaining effective virtual customer service is equally important, as it can resolve customer dissatisfaction and build positive connections. Creating an environment where your customers feel valued is the most important factor to cultivating customer loyalty. * **The importance of great quality:** Providing quality service is vital for the reputation of your company, the retention of your loyal customers, and the potential for referrals. As online customer reviews are so important to today’s customer loyalty landscape, providing consistent quality services can flatter your company’s online reputation.

**Modern customer loyalty strategies and tips:** * **Provide loyalty rewards:** Providing your customers with well-timed relevant offers and discounts can help you build your clientele and promote loyal shoppers. Email marketing is a great way to stay connected with members and former customers by sending them promotional offers that will encourage them to return. * **Understand your customers:** In order for your business to prosper, it is important to understand your customers and respond to their interests and concerns. With [Belly’s Campaigns tool](/business/campaigns/) you can better understand your customers by measuring trends in visitor histories and tracking which customers open email promotions. Conducting surveys that provide incentives is also an excellent way to understand how your customers feel about your business. * **Build your online presence:** Technology has opened many doors for businesses to connect with their target audiences. Building an online presence can help potential customers find your business, inform loyal customers of new offers or special deals, and improve your company’s digital marketing. Further, your business can take advantage of social media platforms to receive informal feedback about what your customers like/dislike about your company. It is also important to monitor the online image of your brand by remaining aware of your company’s online ratings, building connections with clients based on positive reviews, and answering any negative reviews in order to resolve customer dissatisfaction and demonstrate your company’s values. Whether you own a large corporation or a mom-and-pop shop, understanding the current state of the customer loyalty landscape, and taking advantage of modern customer relations strategies, can help you secure customer loyalty for your business.