How To Build Customer Loyalty And Keep It

19/03/2018 17:20 | Start a business

Building customer loyalty to your franchise

Building customer loyalty is an essential process for any franchise business. It helps to attract customers and then encourages them to stay. Getting customer loyalty right enables popular franchises to create a robust customer base and differentiates them from their competitors.

In some ways, choosing to buy a reputable franchise business means that it may be easier to create customer loyalty. As the brand name is likely to be recognisable, theres a higher chance of generating repeat business from customers in comparison to starting an independent business from scratch.

The reason for this is because a positive experience, from the customers viewpoint, leads to positive word-of-mouth, which benefits the entire franchise network. It should be remembered though, that with a franchise model, just as a franchisee can benefit from customers receiving excellent customer service in other outlets if they have a bad experience it can tarnish the customer's reputation of the whole brand. This means that you can't rely on the reputation of the brand alone to create customer loyalty.

The best franchises to invest in are the ones that understand the importance of customer loyalty and support their franchisees to develop a compelling programme. Here are some ideas of how to incorporate customer loyalty into your franchise model to attract and retain quality customers.

Find a franchise that you believe in

The best franchises to invest in are the ones where you feel like you fit and who you share values with. Its the same for customers. A Harvard Business Review study showed that 64% of customers that were loyal to a brand cited shared values as the main reason for their loyalty.

In an era where consumers are increasingly fickle, you can ensure that customers continue to use your brand by developing trust and loyalty. When customers arent loyal to any particular business, they will remain loyal to what a business stands for.

The same reasons that attracted you to invest in the franchise will compel your customers to use your business over and over again. You are then able to create a genuine connection that puts you one step ahead of your competitors.

Offering first class customer service

Customer experience is rated as one of the most significant tools for improving loyalty and advocacy. By providing customers with exceptional customer experience, youll have satisfied customers that want to return again and again.

Research conducted by American Express found that a satisfied and happy customer will tell nine people about their positive experience with a business. However, if a customer receives poor customer service, theyll tell 16 people. When youre trying the build your customer base, word-of-mouth referrals are incredibly important to your success. Make your customers happy and let them promote your business for you.

Its also a well-known fact that it costs significantly more to acquire a customer than to retain them, and research by Marketing Metrics confirms this. In fact, figures show that when it comes to sales, the probability of selling to satisfied existing customers is up to 14 times higher than the likelihood of selling to new customers.

Popular franchises may believe that to grow, they have to find new customers regularly. What is often overlooked is that existing customers usually offer the most effective route to growth. All you have to do is to make them happy and then continue to make them feel valued.

Make your employees happy

If your franchise model is based on your employees interacting with your customer base, then investing in the satisfaction of your staff will result in happier customers too. How your employees feel about their job will have a direct effect on how they treat your customers. In fact, 81% of employees said that theyre driven to work harder when their boss appreciates their efforts.

By developing employee satisfaction techniques, youll boost their morale which positively impacts how they interact with you, their peers and customers. You could consider an incentive programme to reward the level of customer service provided, or you could invest time, money and effort into creating a personal development training package so that employees feel appreciated.

Involve your customers

When you were researching businesses to open, you may have considered that the best franchises to invest in were the ones that formed a central role in the local community. Now that youre a business owner, youre able to take advantage of this fact by making your customers feel involved in your business.

This makes customers feel cherished and makes a statement that youre interested in more than just making money. You can do this very effectively by organising regular events for the community. Getting people together in an open day type of activity where you showcase your services while offering free food and drink can create a real community vibe.

Events such as this can also enable you to hear your customers views. In an informal environment you can hear first-hand what your customers thoughts, opinions and ideas are to improve your business. Popular franchises demonstrate that they act on customer feedback and are prepared to evolve to keep customers happy. This builds trust and, therefore, loyalty.

Develop a customer loyalty programme

You dont have to develop a complex or technical solution but rewarding your customers for their loyalty is a popular and effective way to keep customers satisfied. By rewarding customers for making repeat purchases, not only do they feel valued, but its a good strategy to implement to help you encourage frequent purchases.

ClickFox has found that over half of customers would consider spending more with a company who had a loyalty reward programme, and 46% already do. These stats prove that loyalty programmes are a great way to foster customer relationships and can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

So, with it costing five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, it makes sense to develop a customer loyalty programme and avoid expensive marketing costs at the same time.

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