Combatting Customer Disloyalty in The Digital Age

Improve customer loyalty at your SMB and increase sales by providing a positive experience at every touch point.

In today's world of online shopping and almost instantaneous delivery, consumers have choices…lots of them. And many will test their options to find the best quality, price and customer service. Even if you’ve got a steady stream of regular patrons, don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll have them as customers for life. A recent study showed that only 8% of customers consider themselves to be firmly committed loyalists. And while this means you may gain a new customer as quickly as you lose one, it is almost always easier to sell to a return shopper. In fact, repeat customers are nine times more likely to convert than a first-time guest, so ensuring you have a retention strategy is a smart move for every small business.

If you are providing a service or product of the highest quality at a competitive price, a low retention rate is likely related to inconsistencies in your overall customer experience or a missed opportunity to create an emotional attachment to your brand. Here are three ways you can foster a connection based on something more than price point.

1. Ask For, Listen To and Implement Customer Feedback

If you notice something isn’t working or you want to make a change that will affect the shopping experience, try getting input from your customer base before doing so. For instance, if you’ve noticed sales have been slow in the prepared foods area in your gourmet grocery and you’re thinking of revamping the menu, try using a free survey tool like SurveyMonkey to ask your customers what types of food they would like to see. Then, use your email list or social media channels to tell your customers you heard them and are trying some new things and invite them to come experience the changes for themselves. If someone takes the time to give you their opinion, they’re likely to have a more vested interest in your success. They’ll feel like part of the team instead of just another customer. Even someone who had a less than perfect experience in the past may be willing to give you another try.

2. Offer Efficient Customer Service Every Time Someone Visits Your Small Business

As a small business owner, you probably place a lot of value on your time. You should be giving that same level of strategic thought to making your guests’ shopping experiences as efficient as possible. Whether your customer is a young professional or a retired grandmother, people appreciate it when you value their time. In fact, the majority of shoppers say they are less likely to return to a store if they have to wait a long time in line. A couple of ways to improve customer experience include adding in-store pick-up services for online purchases, offering free Wi-Fi or even live entertainment such as music or kids coloring stations for guests to pass the time while they wait in line.

3. Strive for Consistent Customer Encounters

The rise of digital marketing and e-commerce, coupled with more traditional methods of communication and sales, has created almost endless ways to connect with your customer base. This can be an exciting opportunity to foster brand loyalty at every touchpoint. However, in order to capitalize on that opportunity, it is essential to provide your customers with a consistent experience with your brand. You can proofread every social media post or piece of marketing collateral, but because you can’t be there for each customer/employee exchange, start with a solid training program. For phone training, you can use CallJoy’s recording feature to find good examples of positive customer interactions. Transcripts can also be reviewed often in order to get ahead of any customer service issues and give specific feedback to individual employees.

To increase customer retention, steering them away from turning to digital-only alternatives, it’s essential that you give them a positive experience at every turn. Affordable small business phone technology like CallJoy can help improve service and increase customer loyalty - sign up for a 14-day trial here.