Attracting new customers is difficult at the best of times, and in challenging business conditions it can feel like an uphill task. In fact, stats out on the web will tell you that it’s 7 times more expensive to attract new customers than retaining existing ones!

So, with that in mind, here are a few tips on creating loyal customers online and encouraging those repeat purchases.

1. Create a thank you page /email

Make sure every ounce of automation that is possible with your e-commerce store is utilised and that there is a thank you page and a thank you email, confirming what the customer has just bought and that you’ll let them know when the item is dispatched.

A thank you email also gives your business the opportunity to add extra content such as a discount code for money off the customer’s next purchase, or  to advertise a product or service that compliments the original product.

2. Practice great customer service

There’s nothing worse than having a problem with an online order or delivery and contacting the customer service team whether by phone or email only to find them less than helpful.

We’ve all experienced it before and know the feeling when a company has taken our money but doesn’t seem to fulfil the rest of the service. Dissatisfied customers are more likely to tell their friends and family, or indeed post on social media / give a negative review – so the potential for negative marketing for your brand is immense.

However, Neil Patel suggests businesses should view unhappy customers as an opportunity. A company can learn important details of what has happened or gone wrong in the sales process and may be able to fix them for the future. Once a customer feels they have been heard, it is easier to pose a solution and, in some cases, turn the person into a loyal and happy customer.

Making sure your customer service team are easy to reach, available and have the authority to solve problems can really help your brand go up in a person’s mind even if they were originally getting in contact because they were unhappy.

3. Forming a Relationship Through Social Media

For many customers social media is a key touch point of your business. Your posts, comments and interactions with other users speak volumes to customers and new business alike about your values and how you do business.

Ensuring that you comment on, or like other users’ comments in a timely manner is an important way to engage with your followers and grow loyalty towards your brand.

If appropriate (depending on the size of your business) you may want some posts to be more personal in nature. We have seen this with some of our clients, and it is these posts that often get the most impressions and engagement, because they add a face and personality to the brand.

For more information on using social media read our blog the benefits of social media for SMEs.

4. Respond appropriately to negative comments online

Customer service isn’t just about being at the end of a phone or email – nowadays many people will contact a business via social media or google my business and may make initial contact via a very public post or comment.

Having a team who monitors your social media and is able to respond quickly and politely whilst moving discussions to the private messaging area of social is not only an important part of customer service for that individual, but also demonstrates to other customers and future customers how your company deals with complaints.

Always make sure your responses are polite and factual. Respond in the public forum in a way that shows you will contact the individual privately but shows the public audience you are not ignoring the issue.

5. Communicate regularly with newsletters

Just like advertising reminds us of a brand we had perhaps forgotten about, so too newsletters can pop into your customer’s inbox and remind them that you’re here if they ever need xyz.

Even better, you can entice them to buy again with extra special discounts and offers specially for previous/loyal customers and make them feel warm and fuzzy and loved.

How often is regularly? That really depends on what you are selling and how big your email list is. For some B2B companies it might be once a month, whereas for others such as a B2C business it might as often as once a week.

You can find more ways to use email marketing here.

6. Listen to create loyalty

Every once in a while, we’d recommend you survey your customers and listen to their feedback. Find out what they love and what they really dislike about your brand /customer service /sales etc. and use the information to continually improve your offering.

Don’t forget to feedback to your customers about what you found out. Completing the circle by showing them that you listened, the things you discovered and what you are going to do to improve, helps the customer to feel heard and will also reinforce your brand in their minds as one that is moving in the right direction.

Customer loyalty – Planning a customer’s experience with ATW

Customer Loyalty is won by good service, lots of hard work and continually looking to improve. It requires every touch point with your business to be one that builds your brand in the customer’s mind, whether it’s the ease of using your e-commerce store, the way a sales person speaks to a customer or the promptness with which issues are dealt with. It comes down to creating a good experience.

If you’re an SME owner and need help creating automation with your e-commerce platform, want to set up regular newsletters to your customers or need help with your social – we’d love to help. Call us on 01793 766040 or contact us here.