It can be easy to mistake customer satisfaction with customer loyalty, but these two things are very different from one another. Loyal customers not only help your business grow financially, but they are one of the essential backbones of your entire business. A loyal customer often writes reviews, speaks about your products on social media, and can direct potentially soon-to-be new loyal customers your way.

More than half of small business owners have said that having an excellent relationship with customers is what drives loyalty. Many of you probably already know that is true, but there are other ways as well. There are several things you can do whether you are a small business owner or part of a larger corporation that can help increase customer loyalty. Here are our top ten tips to increasing customer loyalty and maintaining it.

Don’t Forget the Customers You Already Have

Make sure that you are dedicating the same amount of energy toward your existing customers as you are to gaining new ones. Current customers should become and remain a priority. Reward and thank your current loyal customers with the best prices and don’t focus all of your marketing just on gaining new customers. You should always be trying to think of ways to improve your customer’s opinion of your brand and work on not alienating existing customers by focusing all your attention on new business.

Be Honest

Loyalty is gained through a good relationship with your customers. And a good relationship is built on trust. People give loyalty to those they trust, so always be honest and as transparent as possible with your customers. If you make a mistake that affects customers, admit that you were wrong and apologize for the error. Don’t oversell or use tricks such as hidden charges and make sure if you have salespeople or customer service representatives that you train them to be honest with your customers. If a product your customer is interested in isn’t a good fit, don’t push the sale, tell the customer. Yes, you might lose that single sale, but you may have also just gained a loyal customer as you’ve earned their trust.

If You Make a Promise, Always Keep It

On every occasion that you can deliver on a promise, you grow a customer’s trust in your brand. So, for example, don’t promise next-day delivery if you know for a fact there’s a large chance that product will not be able to arrive on time. Be honest with what you can promise to your customers. Showing a customer you can keep your promise tells them that you do not take them for granted.

Small Personal Touches Count

You have probably heard the saying quite a lot in life, “the little things count.” Even in business, the little things you do can make a customer feel valued. Just a small example such as turning down the bedsheets and leaving chocolates on the pillow at a hotel, for example. Including a small hand-written thank you as a small business owner. Tossing in something extra with their order and so on. These touches often cost you very little, but they can make a significant difference in how your customers perceive your brand.

Offer More Than Just a Discount

Offering loyalty discounts to your returning customers is indeed a great way to increase loyalty. However, that is not the only way, nor should it be the only way to show you appreciate your clients. Invite them to exclusive events online, send them promotional items, gift them some of your branded merchandise, throw a contest or giveaway. Think about what your target audience might also enjoy and offer them discounts or chances to win something unusual but fun.

Let Them Give Feedback

It is always hard to face negative criticism and often as a business you may feel like you want to focus on the positive. Don’t discourage either. Allow your customers to give both praise or criticism whether it is through reviews, email, social media, telephone, or chatbots. Customers want to be heard and they want you to listen. Knowing that you are listening to their feedback is an excellent means to build loyalty.

Always Offer Top Tier Customer Service

You already know that offering a quality product is one of the cornerstones of any customer-focused business. But special attention that is paid to your quality control of items should also be granted to your customer service. Make sure that their concerns, questions, and inquiries are handled in a polite, prompt, and always respectful manner.

Get to Know and Remember Your Regular Customers

Make it a point no matter how busy your business day is to identify who your loyal customers are that always make regular purchases. Make them a priority for extra care and attention. Loyalty and trust are a two-way street as they say, and it is important to show your gratitude to those customers who have been with you since the beginning. Show them that you are also loyal to them.

Make the Shopping Experience and Process as Easy and Convenient as Possible

The easier a customer can find exactly what they are looking for and can have it in their cart, the better. Make everything you offer front-and-center and easy to go through. On a website especially if a potential customer finds it difficult to find products, they may shop elsewhere.

Omni Channel Support

Hand in hand with offering great customer service is the ability to allow customers to get support in as many ways as possible. An omnichannel customer experience is made up of individual customer touchpoints over a variety of different channels that all seamlessly connect. More accessibility to get the support they need through email, website, phone, social media pages, and more means happier customers.

Customers want to be seen and to be heard. They give businesses their money and loyalty and the best way to build and continue that loyalty is to give that same loyalty back. These 10 tips will help see your client’s loyalty soar.

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