Can improving customer service positively impact brand loyalty?
Having a core band of dedicated customers is key to making a success of an online store – but how do you get them?
Chelsea Ellsworth, an experienced freelance writer, gives you some great insights on how to improve customer experience in this guest article.
This sense of brand loyalty, in which customers come to you first when they need a product or service, is seriously important. Typically, loyal customers account for a roughly 20% of a business’s entire customer base, but that 20% actually drives 80% of a business’s revenue. These are the people you rely on for a steady source of income.
As a result, it’s critical you understand how to improve brand loyalty for your online store.
But, is customer service something that positively impacts brand loyalty? Done well, yes. However, do this badly and you could have the opposite effect, turning people against your brand and pushing them to rival stores.
In fact, a study by Ipsos Loyalty found that 24% of consumers who had a negative experience used a brandless, or stopped using it altogether.
But that’s hardly surprising – good customer service only reinforces the feeling that our money has been well spent, and poor customer service will make us think twice about spending our money with them again. So, what else impacts loyalty?
Show that you share the same values as your customer
A business that appears to reflect our values as a customer is one that we’re likely to be loyal to. For example, if you’re passionate about environmentally friendly behaviour, tackling climate change, reducing over-consumption and waste, a brand that makes decisions to address these concerns is one you’re likely to keep shopping with – particularly in favour of a business which doesn’t consider these values. Speak to your customers regularly to find out what matters to them and show them how your online store chimes with their beliefs.
Good deals can boost brand loyalty
There’s no denying we all like a good deal – a reduced price for an item we’ve been hankering after, or a special offer that means we spent a third less than we expected will convince us we should spend our money with a particular brand. Giving customers offers that are relevant to their tastes also shows you understand them and deserve a little loyalty.
Give customers a good user experience
There are many ways to give off a good impression. Whether it’s the customer’s experience on a website, the social media posts they read or the newsletters they receive, all of this is a chance for a brand to talk directly to their customer and win them over. Use the right tone of voice, pick the right times to send your marketing messages and use smart web design so that you offer customers a positive user experience for your online store.
Customer service still important
However, customer service is certainly a decisive factor in ensuring you establish a sense of brand loyalty. So, do ensure that you’re constantly working to improve it while bearing the above considerations in mind. You can improve customer service by:
- Making the process seamless – whether your customers are checking out online or buying over the counter, make sure you have a point of sale software so that you have full visibility of their balance, their credit availability, their loyalty scheme status and special offers that are applicable to them.
- Delivering on time – it’s critical that you deliver when you say you’re going to, especially when your customer can easily buy online from a competitor. So, under-promise and over-deliver, or change your shipping providers to ensure you’re beating the competition
- Making it personal – customers are human beings, and you’re going to do a better job of retaining them if you treat them as such. Send handwritten notes where possible, prepare a special birthday discount newsletter to be emailed to them, and thank them for their loyalty in the form of exclusive special offers… they’ll appreciate it.
- Being professional –negative feedback can send your heart racing, but it’s important to view it as a useful thing. And, more importantly, you should view this as something to respond to with professionalism – not by being defensive. It gives you the chance to retain the customer by resolving their problem – and win them back round with a swift and decisive response. It also ensures that they vent to you directly rather than expressing their frustration publically all over the internet…
Pay particular attention to customer service feedback as, while it might feel uncomfortable, confrontational or tiring to hear complaints, your customers are actually telling you valuable information that could improve your business.
As you can see, brand loyalty is essential for any business to be as profitable as it can be – and with a bit of work, you can foster this among your customers.
Find out more about how customer experience is key to your long-term business success by reading our interview with Dennis Otto.
Chelsea specialises in business and finance, to create unique and engaging content for a variety of online publications and magazines.