Even the strongest companies must prepare for possible downturns — whether in their specific sectors or the economy at large. The COVID-19 pandemic reminded people of just how fast circumstances can shift, making them rethink how they carry out daily activities and spend money.
The good thing is that even when people have different priorities in challenging times, it’s still possible to grow customer loyalty. Here are five strategies to try.
1. Keep Quality Levels High
Difficult times give you perfect opportunities to explore what you could do to ensure the quality of your offerings is as high as possible. A KPMG survey looked at worldwide indicators of loyalty. The results showed that product quality and value for money were the top two things that spark customer commitment, mentioned by 74% and 66% of respondents, respectively.
Notice the connection between those factors, too. If a customer perceives your product as being high quality, they’re more likely to conclude that purchasing it is money well spent. If your quality levels are not consistent, or they’re lower than people expect, they’ll look elsewhere to have their needs met. This is especially true when they’re more mindful of budgets.
2. Become Dedicated to a Larger Cause
Difficult times can give companies more opportunities than ever to give back to the community or the world, whether by donating to a food bank or supporting a charity that helps people with emergency medical needs. Statistics show that taking action to help others could boost your bottom line, too. A 2018 study found that 79% of those polled felt more loyal to purpose-driven brands than traditional ones.
Giving back could increase customer loyalty in several ways, such as through repeat purchases, recommendations to friends, and more willingness to forgive your brand for mistakes. Another interesting statistic from the research was that 73% of respondents were more likely to defend purposeful brands. That could mean happy customers become your brand ambassadors by helping to clarify misconceptions.
3. Help Customers Feel Confident and Reassured in Their Decisions
Clear communications are essential for building customer loyalty, especially when trying to sell products. If a salesperson knows how to discuss an item’s best features in relevant ways, the likelihood of purchases goes up. It’s also crucial to set accurate expectations. For example, if you know that current circumstances may cause slight delivery delays, tell your customers upfront so they won’t assume otherwise and feel you let them down.
Research from Gartner found that 44% of customers worry about missing better opportunities every time they buy things. You can grow customer loyalty by being transparent and honest. Alleviate the doubts customers feel by clearly describing what you offer, then standing behind the expectations set.
4. Remain Empathetic and Understanding When Customers’ Needs Change
When people face uncertain circumstances, they often have to make tough choices. Consider a long-time customer that used to buy large orders every week, but has now cut down to purchasing about once a month. If you sell subscription-based items, there may be an increase in people signing up for short-term obligations when they once preferred year-long plans.
You’ll likely find that many customers agonize over making choices like those and that some go to great lengths to assure you the change is not because your company failed in some way. When they discuss their reasons for cutting costs, listen closely to show you want to understand their perspective.
Resist the urge to go into a hard-sell sales pitch that might make the customer reconsider. Tune into their needs by meeting them where they are. Assess what your company could do to retain their loyalty — even if they temporarily don’t spend as much money as they once did.
5. Focus on the Little Things
While your company should certainly put effort into the major parts of your business that could increase customer loyalty, it’s also worthwhile investigating how you could make a memorable impression with the smaller things. Showing such attention to detail could pay off.
For example, maybe you own a health food store and notice that a customer comes in approximately every month to buy a supplement that’s ordinarily in short supply. Offering to put a bottle aside for that person in anticipation of their arrival could help them feel you care — plus make them realize the value of continuing to do business with you.
Grow Customer Loyalty and Gain Resilience
These five strategies show why committing to customer loyalty can help your company stay strong through tough times. Applying them consistently could bring excellent results.