New startups, this is what you need to know about gaining and retaining customer loyalty

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Cultivating loyalty today is harder than ever because the average online consumer is more knowledgeable and more demanding than ever

As a new startup, one of the biggest challenges you have to navigate is generating a customer base. It is a challenge, because it hinges heavily on your ability to trigger loyalty in as many leads as possible. Cultivating loyalty today is harder than ever because the average online consumer is more knowledgeable and more demanding than ever. Only businesses that can satisfy their curiosity can stand a chance.

Losing consumer trust, on the other hand, is also hard to remedy even for established brands. How can you gain and retain customer loyalty for your new brand?

Go big on testimonials in the early days

The average consumer looks at businesses with some degree of scepticism. That means all your sweet sounding marketing speak bounces off them like water on rock. However, they do believe what other people think about your service. You should pay attention to what people think about your business in the early days. Highlight positive comments on as many channels as possible and take action towards resolving negative comments. Encourage happy customers to leave comprehensive testimonials on your website or your social media pages for prospective clients to see.

Also read: User generated content is king, and product reviews can bring your e-commerce business to the next level

Similarly, you need to ensure you have positive reviews on standard review sites. Create a profile for your business and share testimonials on these sites. Also, encourage customers to share what they think about your business on these sites to help build credibility for your brand.

Use social media heavily (depending on your target demographic)

If your target demographic falls within the groups that spend time on social media, you should commit to enhancing visibility for your brand. You cannot afford to create and abandon social media pages. Social media is a vital tool for building customer trust because apart from ensuring visibility, it gives you a platform to constantly drum up your brand values for your target audience.

Over a period, this equates to building up a social media following that trusts your brand and what it is about. Additionally, prospective customers that run a search on social media as part of their background checks will see an active business with a happy and healthy followership.

Show your professional affiliations

If you are a brand new startup, it is unlikely that you have high profile awards to show off on your website. However, you can still show off important details like your membership to a professional body, your regulations compliance certificate, and other similar affiliations. Such affiliations can be highly beneficial in ensuring customer trust.

Use money back guarantees effectively

One of the main reasons for wariness amongst consumers dealing with new businesses is the reluctance to part with money. Offering a money back guarantee immediately alleviates this fear and makes the consumer more welcoming towards your brand message.

Address problems quickly

When something negative happens, don’t ignore it. Your prospective clients will be watching. If not now, a search on your brand in the future could throw them off if they find a few negative situations that were handled poorly or ignored altogether. For example, if a customer complains about your service or product on social media or other online platforms it is your duty to address the issue to the best of your ability. Even when the customer is overly difficult, any potential clients can read the steps you took to discuss the problem and show your brand as trustworthy.

Never deliver below expectations

Consumers hate being lied to. One lie is usually enough to taint your brand forever in the eyes of the average consumer, and you may never regain the trust of any customer you lose because you failed on your part. Instead of delivering below par, set your brand up to always deliver above expectations. If it takes 4 hours to fulfill a transaction, for example, claim it will take 1-3 business days. This will ensure you don’t break your promises to the bulk of your customers while positioning your brand as fast and efficient.

Also read: Good data protection policies enhance trust in HR consultancy

Enhance security on your website

“Website security is not for e-commerce stores alone,” says Brendan Wilde, Marketing Manager at Freeparking. “Customers visiting your website will be more inclined to trust your brand if your website exudes some level of safety. This is why you should improve your website security with SSL protection.”

Don’t hesitate to show off trust badges and seals as they play a pivotal role in increasing customer trust and loyalty.

Adopt a personalised approach with your brand message

In your marketing and advertising, it is beneficial to use a personalised approach. This should also be the case in general everyday interactions with your target audience. Ensure all communication with your target audience is natural and not scripted or generic. When you engage with customers in an ordinary, everyday manner, you can begin to change their perception of your brand as corporate and aloof.

Be reachable at all times

Your brand should be available at all times for people who need some level of communication. This is why you should have reachable phone numbers and chat boxes in addition to standard email channels. When people know they can talk to someone at any time, they feel better about choosing your brand overall. If your business is global, invest in a round the clock customer service desk. It could be the difference between success and failure in the long run for your brand.

Gaining and retaining consumer loyalty is not easy, but with these tips, you can start to steer your brand in the right direction. When you have earned customer loyalty, endeavour to remain consistent in doing the things that attracted them to your brand. This is the only way to ensure happy customers and a glowing reputation.

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The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your post here.

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