Turning Small Business Customers into Loyal, Repeat Buyers

Improve customer loyalty by making sure every touchpoint is just as good as the first.

It’s a commonly held belief that consistently attracting new customers is the best way to grow a small business. But while increasing customer numbers does matter, repeat customers are nine times more likely to convert than a first-time guest.

We can all relate to that repeat customer, right? When you find your perfect lunch spot, oftentimes you’ll choose that same option every day of the week. Why? Because you trust that the diner’s quality and customer service will meet your expectations. Well, it turns out, that diner may love you even more. Repeat customers are a consistent source of revenue, often have higher average order values, and-- because they keep coming back--are more likely to spread the word to friends and colleagues about a business they love. 

But, restaurants aren’t the only small business that can successfully drive customer retention. Read on as we address the top 4 customer loyalty questions we see time and time again from small business owners.

How can I possibly gain loyal customers at my brick-and-mortar store with so much e-commerce competition?

You can compete with the Amazons and chain restaurants of the world by joining the competition in your own way. Consumers are searching online for "local" or "near me" options 350 times more than they were 10 years ago. Therefore, a digital presence is now a growing factor to gain success.

Building a branded website or creating a Google My Business account are two great places to start. There are many free or low-priced solutions that small business owners can use to develop and manage an online presence. This will ensure you’re prepared for your next soon-to-be loyal customer searching Google for ‘clothing boutiques near me.’

How do I create a memorable experience for in-store customers?

Whether it’s offering a discount coupon, free gift-wrapping or a loyalty punch card, finding a way to give your customers something special to brighten their experience can ultimately improve your customer retention rate. Offering incentives, for example, is a great way to keep your customers coming back for more. For instance, 57% of shoppers say they wouldn’t have made a purchase without being incentivized by a coupon.

How do I turn a one-time shopper into a forever customer?

Considering that loyalty program members spend between 12-18% more per year than non-loyalty members, these programs are an easy and effective way to increase customer retention. At check out, make it a priority to ask customers if they would like to join your loyalty program and opt in to communications from your small business. This will not only help keep your business top of mind but also ties back to our point above about offering incentives to loyal customers.

How do I gather positive customer reviews online?

When a consumer is in need of an oil change, they often turn to the Internet to find a nearby mechanic that’s well respected. Are they more likely to choose a business with mediocre reviews or a mechanic with a five-star rating and positive customer testimonials? The answer is obvious!

In order to gain positive customer reviews, you’ll want to start by providing excellent customer service. The next step? Create an email campaign that is triggered by customer purchases or add in-store signage to remind buyers that reviews are important to your business. Consumers are usually willing to help local small businesses in their neighborhood thrive, so with a gentle reminder, you can create brand advocates to spread the word about why they enjoy your services.

Ultimately, the most important way to build a loyal customer base is to provide consistent, top-notch customer service - especially at the first touchpoint over the phone. Download our 5 Keys to Better Phone Calls playbook to make sure your business is set up for success.