In this article we’ll look at the value of building customer loyalty for your franchise business and some useful tools to keep customers coming back.
Running your own franchise business would not be possible without your customers. In many sectors, returning customers are the key to seeing your business grow. Once you’ve got them through the door, you need to make sure your customers keep coming back.
Repeat customers spend up to 67 percent more than new customers. Plus, it’s much more expensive to try and attract new customers than it is to keep the ones already doing business with you.
6 ways of building customer loyalty through marketing
1. Loyalty benefits
One of the best ways to reward customer loyalty is by giving extra perks to those who come to you most often. By setting up reward schemes that offer exclusive deals or extras to repeat customers, you create an incentive for customers to keep coming back.
Loyalty cards could be as simple as a paper card and collectable stamps. You can even develop a loyalty app for customers, or make use of your franchise’s existing digital loyalty card service by encouraging customers to download. By making the service as easy as possible for the customer, they’ll feel like you’re on their side and want to reap the benefits of your services.
By offering your customers incentives to return to your franchise business, you can not only ensure continued customer loyalty, but also collect valuable data about your customers and their preferences.
By having them sign up, you can collect data about their preferences, spending habits and your business’ reception. You aren’t just giving away freebies but collating precious information that can lead to more targeted marketing and higher sales rates.
Loyalty and reward programmes provide your customers with a reason to come back. Although the franchisor may run these schemes from above, you can always do more to make your franchise branch the one your customers are loyal to, perhaps with a refer a friend bonus or in store advantages.
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2. Great customer service
It may seem obvious, but the way you treat your customers is the most important thing when it comes to retaining their custom. When they are treated well, customers remember and appreciate something as simple as good manners.
One survey showed that in 2013, 51 percent of customers ended their relationship with a business because they were unhappy with the service they were receiving.
51 percent of customers ended their relationship with a business because they were unhappy with the service they were receiving
When dealing one-to-one with the people supporting your business, its essential to always show appreciation and understanding. Even with the corners modern technology can cut, people appreciate being able to interact with another human being.
Try not to rely too much on technology; although automated phone systems may save money, highly trained customer service can go above and beyond for your customers. Customers also appreciate honesty about your business, so it’s important to be transparent in order to get good feedback.
If you are dealing with customers face to face, never underestimate the power of a smile and friendly service!
3. Communicate online
Communicating with your customers frequently helps keep you fresh in their mind and lets you remind them why they came to you in the first place.
Through emails or social media, you can pass on information about deals, products and offers so that your customers are always in the know. Without pestering or constantly advertising, you can ensure you remain relevant to customers who have opted to provide you with their personal information.
You can even tailor the communications to specific customers by sending them a deal on a service they’ve purchased before or even a birthday greeting.
Having an entertaining social media presence is a great way to stay interesting, and when people are following you, that’s when marketing reaches the target crowd.
Making customers feel special with the magic of the internet is important to keep you in their good books. Customers are more likely to be loyal if they feel valued.
4. Encourage feedback
Customer reviews go hand-in-hand with customer loyalty. Good reviews will drive potential new clients to your business, good service will convert them into potential customers into returners, and satisfied customers will leave good reviews!
Asking customers for feedback not only shows that you value their opinion but also demonstrates your objective to improve your services. When customers feel involved in making their own experience better, they invest time, interest, and ultimately money into businesses that care.
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5. Community involvement
In order to get the people living around your business to support it, you should consider strategies for community involvement. The customers who are most likely to return aren’t going to reside far away.
Offering incentives to generate interest from your local customers is investing in dependable clientele. Perhaps your business’ venue could be used for an event? Depending on the nature of your franchise, maybe you could offer workshops, taster-days, in-store opportunities and offers and perhaps even deals and discounts for the surrounding neighbourhood.
It’s also a great marketing plan to link your franchise business to its location, taking part in local celebrations or occasions and shrinking the barrier between the locality and the brand are great ways to get the community on board. Welcome local customers through your door in every way you can, and your business is more likely to be welcomed and supported in the local community.
6. Provide something they can’t refuse
The most certain way to build customer loyalty is through providing them with the best service or product that their money can buy. Ensuring top quality is our top tip to keep customers coming back to your franchise business.
Although sometimes the quality of the product may be less within your control as a franchisee, you can make sure everything you add to your business is the best it possibly can be. Whether that’s premises’ cleanliness, customer service or community involvement.
If you offer a service or a product that your customers think is the best in the world, they’ll be devoted to your business and encourage all of their friends to come to you first.
Loyal for years to come
In the franchising business, one advantage is that much of the marketing strategy will have already been planned for you. However, it always pays to know what works to get customers returning through your door.
Repeat buyers are your most valuable customers. It is likely that over time, the revenue from them will beat revenue from big one-time buyers. When running your own franchise business as a franchisee, these tips will help you create loyal customers who will be happy to frequent your business for years to come.
For a full list of our franchise opportunities, consult our franchise directory.
The Editorial Team, Point Franchise ©