Business Advice

5 ways to build customer loyalty when times are tough

- September 28, 2022 3 MIN READ

It’s tough out there for small businesses right now, so keeping every customer happy is more important than ever. Tamara Oppen, Managing Director at GoDaddy Australia shares her excellent strategy to build ongoing customer loyalty that will see you through.

From rising power prices to interest rates and supply chain snafus, trading conditions are challenging for Aussie small businesses.

During the June quarter, the increasing cost of doing business led to the largest rise in retail prices since the introduction of the GST in 2000, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics recording a 1.8 per cent lift in March and 1.7 per cent rise in June.

Raising prices while at the same time attracting customers during a cost-of-living crunch may seem like a herculean effort. However, there are a number of cost-effective solutions that can help you achieve both.

Here are five ways to build customer loyalty when times are tough.

1. Surprise them

Everyone loves a nice surprise and offering a little extra something to your customers during tough times can help interest them to come back or recommend you to friends.

You could to tuck a small gift in with their online purchase, something simple like a product sample. Or write a personal thank you note and start building an ongoing customer relationship.

Perhaps you can offer free gift wrapping, or add a small greeting card to their purchase.  You could also partner with another small business and offer special discount codes to each other’s customers.

2. Make them feel special

If you’ve ever shopped online, chances are you are now on an email marketing list.

Unless you are a brand super fan, you’re probably more likely to open those emails if there’s a reward within.

By staying connected with your customers via email marketing, you can offer discount codes, free shipping or unique experience offerings, like the chance to preview or purchase new stock or services early. These are all ways to make your customers feel special.

You could also use email marketing channels to give customers a chance to hear about sales or preview sales stock ahead of time. This reinforces the value of remaining on the subscription list and in turn builds customer loyalty.

3. Inspire them

Keep your customers coming back and improve your chances of attracting new customers through regular website updates. If regular customers know there’s likely to be new stock or content added to your website, it can boost the chance of regular check ins.

You should also do a thorough website review to make sure all of your details are correct and your social channels are linked. Consider if it’s time for a little makeover to freshen up your lookto ensure your offering is appealing to your audience.

4. Value them

Small businesses can get an edge over their big business competitors by offering a more personalised service experience.

For many customers, knowing they are talking to a real person and not a bot is a great advantage. Then if you can help them or solve a problem for them, it gives you the opportunity to build a personal rapport and reinforce your brand values.

Part of giving great service can be seeking, responding to and acknowledging feedback.

Can you send your customers an email or text after purchase asking for a review and linking to your website, social channel or Google reviews?

Replying to or thanking customers who have left reviews or feedback on Google, your website or social channels, is another way to remind them they are valued.

If the feedback is less than positive, consider whether to respond by offering to take the discussion offline to see if it can be resolved.

5. Help them

One way to provide customers with additional value is to help them make the best of their purchase or investment after they have left the check out.

A great tactic is to create dedicated content to share with your customers that shows you care about their product or service experience.

Maybe you can follow their purchase with an email offering tips for installation, maintenance, styling or relevant content related to the product.

Landscapers might offer tips on how to maintain the lawn during winter. A boutique might offer suggestions on how to style the latest fashion week looks on a budget. Or a vet could advise on the leftovers not to give your dog at Christmas. These helpful tips can also make content for your social channels.

Whether you’re raising costs to keep up with economic trading conditions or simply refreshing the pricing strategy for your business, following these tactics can help to keep your customers loyal to your business.

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