Every business starts out small. In the beginning, they often make very little money or even none at all. They trudge through the larval stages, hoping and dreaming for the day when it all finally pays off. Sometimes it does, but sometimes it doesn’t. So, what separates one from the other? In the beginning stages, the single greatest factor is customer loyalty.
Customer loyalty is what enables you to get established in the community wherein you do business. As more people find out about your services, they tend to tell their friends and family about that experience whether it was good or bad. A satisfied customer will thus create other satisfied customers through word of mouth.
But how important is customer loyalty? Some might think that a good product will sell regardless of how people feel about the company. However, the statistics don’t seem to reflect that. According to the statistics I can find, the vast majority of people do feel loyalty towards certain brands. 82% of those polled said that they had loyalty to a certain brand and 84% said they had loyalty to a certain retailer. 92% of those polled said that price and value were the main factors driving their support for companies that they feel loyal to. So, here we can see some proof for the old idea that people appreciate a good deal. When it comes to money, The value is quite simply the bottom line, and everyone goes where they believe the best value is.
But, the data also shows that this loyalty is not unconditional. 58% of those polled said that they had recently switched brands. 50% of all American respondents said that they had switched brands in the last year due to poor customer service. So here we can see the limits of that loyalty. It is conditional upon them continuing to receive a good deal. If you would like to see some more statistics of this kind, here they are.
A good customer rewards program is a time-tested and effective way to increase customer loyalty and keep them coming back. Before going any further, I should mention that there are companies you can hire to create a program for you. These customer loyalty program companies are a good option if you can afford them. They can save you a lot of time and a lot of guesswork in the creation of a good customer rewards system. The long and costly process of trial and error can thus be avoided with the payment of a small fee.
Perhaps one of the absolute best customer rewards is a sale or other discount. What you lose in individual sales you can often make up in volume. Either way though, it will help to create more satisfied customers. Contests and sweepstakes are a great way to stimulate sales by giving people a bigger incentive to buy from you. Rebate programs can go a long way towards creating customer loyalty, as no one really expects to get back money that they have spent. Either way, customer rewards should be structured in a way that only rewards your loyal returning customers.