Customer loyalty for business is the lifeblood of driving a business towards success. Every loyal customer is a stamp of approval that makes your business believable, trustworthy. Everybody is working so hard towards acquiring new customers, but the difference between novices and experts lies in how well they manage to keep the customers they do acquire. A vote of confidence from customers goes a long way in earning more customers and sales. No wonder market leaders go out of their way to please customers. Customer-centric businesses always stand out from the crowd, as highlighted in this incident mentioned in One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com –
One day at Square Books, Richard Howorth was called on to handle a difficult customer. The young woman was angry because “a kid on the second floor had knocked some dirt down on her car,” Howorth recalled. “She was saying, ‘My husband is a lawyer.'”
He went outside, saw the dirt on her car and blew off the dust, he said. “It is nothing.”
But she remained unsatisfied, he said. “I asked her, ‘Can I wash your car for you?'”
She said yes, and Howorth drove with her and her friend to the local car wash — only to find it closed.
“Can we just go to my house and wash it?” he asked.
She replied yes, and so at Howorth’s house, he washed, rinsed and buffed her car.
He asked her if that was good. She replied yes.
She dropped him back off at Square Books, and Howorth didn’t think much more about it.
The next morning, he said someone overheard the young woman talking “about the nice man who washed her car, confessing, ‘I wasn’t that nice.'”
Later that day, the young woman returned to the store, this time with all her friends, and they all bought books.
Howorth shared his experience with Jeff Bezos, who was among 50 or so in 1994 that attended the several-day American Booksellers Association school, learning the financial aspects of a operating bookstore and the best ways to provide customer service.
“That’s good and all,” you say, “but what does my website have to do with any of it?”
Well, your website is the first and foremost aspect of customer experience. Customer loyalty often begins, and ends, at a website. This is true whether you own a brick and mortar store or a completely digital merchant space. Done right, a website can easily become a strong tool to help your business develop a loyal customer base.
So, these are our picks for 8 Ways To Make Your Website Loyalty-Ready:
1. Design To Impress- You have a very small window of time in order to impress a visitor. Good website design goes a long way in achieving just that. Most medium to large sized businesses are investing in optimising or modernising their website for the same reason. Getting visitors to your website again and again vastly improves the odds of them making a purchase, sticks your brand name inside their heads, warms them up to the prospect of using your products or services. If your website is user-friendly, visitors are led to believe that your business is too. After all, your website is a reflection of who you are as a brand.
2. Keep It Simple- The simpler your website is, the easier it becomes to get through to a customer. A website’s sole purpose is to ensure that the customer understands what your business offers and walks them through the process. This starts right from the point of time when they land on your homepage to the time when they finish shopping or call you for a quote. Large tile-like buttons, easily navigated pages, helpful imagery and infographics, on-point textual or audio-visual content. Make sure these all are boxes that your website checks.
3. Relevant Information- This is probably the most quoted principle of website planning, but also the most flouted one. That big banner that is extremely artistic and eye-catchy but doesn’t quite explain what your business is and what your website does? Probably best that you don’t put it up as the very first thing that unwary users see when they land on your website. And, please don’t do what these guys did. You want your website to be thematic and relevant, but not too much.
4. Be Helpful- Don’t you just love websites that greet you with a 24×7 live-chat option that automatically opens up and asks “How can we help you today, precious prospective customer”? Some of them turn out to be dumb old chatbots which we end up hating instead. But we all like websites that bring us closer to a solid human-to-human customer service experience. Relax, not every business can have a full-time customer support all the time. The customer understands. It is okay to have a website that “typically responds within 24 hours”. It is the gesture that counts.
5. FAQs- It is surprising how much time and energy can be saved simply by having robust support documentation on a website. Frequently Asked Questions, Shipping and Returns Policy, they are often overlooked by designers and developers alike. Customers, however, pay a lot of attention to the little things. A website that explains common doubts is always preferred over one that is vague. Nobody likes websites that leave out key information that customers might want to know.
6. Newsletters- Customers like to feel included. A business that makes customers feel like they are a part of the family automatically attracts more sales. Newsletters are a great way to reach out to customers and to give them key information about what’s new with your business. The more personalised they are, the better. Don’t be pushy, however. Moderation is the keyword.
7. Testimonials- There is nobody a customer trusts more than another customer. Customer reviews and testimonials go miles in improving a website’s customer loyalty. Why? Because customer-generated content is the most genuine content on the internet. What your customers say about you gives other customers a clear idea about what to expect from your business.
8. Go Mobile- A humungous amount of customers view websites on their mobile devices. This could be a bane for businesses who don’t invest in a mobile-responsive website. It also brings endless possibilities for smart businesses. Let’s say you are a local cafe and you invested in a loyalty software app for cafes. This gives your business an edge over your competitors. A loyalty software app can fully utilise native mobile features like push notifications to bring customers your latest offers and discounts. This will keep them coming back to you.
So those were our picks for the top 8 ways to make your website a customer loyalty engine.