Getting a new customer into your business is hard.
Each one is hard fought. But it’s totally worth all the blood, sweat and tears you put into it.
So it would be crazy to put out all that effort to get your customers, only to take them for granted once they give you a shot. Unfortunately, that happens far too often in businesses.
Many entrepreneurs have a leaky bucket. Many of the new customers they earn, leave soon after, never to return.
Smart business owners know it’s best to work just as hard to create loyal customers, as they do in trying to find new ones.
That’s because it costs a whole lot more to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Research shows loyal customers buy more, and they cost less to maintain.
Also, loyal customers tell their friends about you, and they stick around on those days when you’re not quite at your best.
In short, the smart way to grow your business is to love the customers you’ve already got. And you’ll do that, by giving them numerous reasons to be loyal to you.
In other words, you need to get your customers to love you.
So without further ado, here are 23 ideas to help you create delighted, loyal customers:
23 Ways to get your customers to love you
Build a relationship
On the road to creating loyal customers, a great way to kickstart the process is to build relationships with them. This will move you beyond fragile, purely transactional relationships to having deeper, more emotional connections.
1. Get to know your customers
Instead of the customer at table number 18, or subscriber number 336, get to know your customers on a personal level. Then instead of faceless “customers” you’ll interact with Jack, Angie, and Emma.
And as you listen, you’ll learn that Jack loves Bruno Mars, Angie is learning Spanish, and that Emma is expecting her third child next month.
This information isn’t about selling, it’s about connecting on a human level. About caring for the people who’ve allowed you to serve them. And the better you get to know them, the deeper your relationship will be.
2. Don’t let your customers hear the sound of crickets
When a customer communicates with you via email, social media, blog comments, or something else, that’s a win. But don’t just stop and celebrate. Show your customers you appreciate that they took the time to connect with you, by responding to them.
Here’s what best-selling author Chris Brogan had to say about this approach.
“I do this weird thing called actually respond to people and talk back to them. And when they ask me things, I reply and when they send me email, I try to reply as soon as I humanly can. And I can say it’s astounding how many times I get a response like ‘gasp! You wrote back!” And I feel like if that’s the entry level, if that’s how you win, then I can crush anybody all day, because all my colleagues evidently don’t do that.”
3. Remember special occasions
People you have a relationship with know and remember special occasions in your life. It’s always nice when those in your world remember birthdays, anniversaries, or other business milestones.
This is a great thing to do with your customers. Acknowledge happenings in their world with a note, email, coupon, or special gift.
My favorite bakery gave me a free cupcake for my birthday. And of course, I made sure to cash it in for a delicioso gluten-free one on my big day. It was so good, I bought another :).
4. Fix it when you mess up
Sometimes you mess up. It happens to the best of us. But if you fix things with your clients as soon as possible, you put yourself in a great position to delight them.
Besides, data shows that customers who have had a complaint handled to their satisfaction are even more loyal than those who’ve never had a problem.
Bottom line: a mess up is a great opportunity to show your customers just how valuable you think they are.
5. Write your customers a love letter
Noted philosopher and psychologist William James expressed it well:
“The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated.”
Don’t you love it when someone expresses their love and appreciation for you? Your customers are the same.
So let them know you care with a personal message. Express gratitude that they’ve allowed you the opportunity to serve them. Your customers have many options for how to get their needs met. And yet, they chose you.
Let them know how much that means to you.
6. Let your customers into your world (behind the scenes)
People like to know what goes on behind the scenes. It makes them feel connected to you. It helps them feel like they are getting an insider’s view of how you work and how you produce all the awesome that comes their way. So why not let them in at least a little?
Give them a peek. Give them some access.
Check out the social share numbers for behind-the-scenes footage for these musicians and movies.
Make your customers’ lives better
There are lots of things competing for your customers’ time and resources. And the businesses that will win the battle for customers’ attention will be those that make their lives better in some way. It’ll be those businesses that are able to solve their problem like none other.
7. Always be one or two steps ahead
When trying to solve a problem or learn something new, most of the time you can only see as far as your existing knowledge will take you.
But since you have expertise that is useful for your customers, you know what they are going to encounter as they progress farther in their journey. You know what roadblocks are ahead and how to navigate around them.
So since you know what’s coming, make sure you get your customers prepared. Give them what they need to know, when they need to know it, so they don’t get derailed.
Wistia does an excellent job of being a few steps ahead of their clients. They know that when people are starting out with video, eventually, they’ll have lots of questions. And many of those questions will be about lighting, backgrounds, and sound.
So in their knowledge base, they have video tutorials and other FAQs on these topics and more. Their clients can find what they need whenever they reach that part of their journey.
If you’re an expert in what you do, go ahead and take the time to educate your customers on the specific problem they have. Go beyond what they can find through a simple Google search, and give them the information they need to move forward.
Give them tools, tips, or summarize research in a simple and organized fashion. Connecting the dots for them will help them to solve their burning pains.
9. Let your customers customize their experience
Your customers are unique. So if it’s possible for them to build something that suits their needs exactly, why not let them? Your customers will love the product they designed the way they wanted. And of course, they’ll be thankful to you for allowing them to have it their way.
Brands like Mini Cooper, Chipotle, and Build-A-Bear do it. They let customers choose from their selection to create exactly what they want.
10. Create a community
There’s strength in numbers. So if your customers want to join a movement, or just find support and accountability, a community can benefit them.
By creating a space for your audience to connect with like-minded individuals, you’ll give them a powerful tool to help them reach their goals.
Reward your customers
Rewards are cool because they provide your customers with a “cookie” so to speak for taking certain actions. And it also gives them added reasons to keep coming back while making them feel extra special along the way.
11. Make your customers feel exclusive
Make your customers feel like they are part of an elite group of people who get to be a part of your crew. Give them access to something that only a select few get to see and experience.
Citi Private Pass credit card holders are able to get early access and preferred pricing to concerts, that other would-be concert goers can’t get.
12. Introduce a loyalty program
Give your customers an added incentive to come back to you again, and again by rewarding them for their loyalty. Hotels and airlines do this often with their loyalty programs. Members can earn free rooms, upgrades, and flights.
I just cashed in miles that I had with Virgin Atlantic to book a flight to my beloved Buenos Aires for $93. I already loved Virgin Atlantic, but I’m totally on cloud nine with them now as a result.
13. Make your customers the star
A great way to win your customers hearts is to take the focus off of you by shining the spotlight on them. Make your audience the star, by highlighting the wonderful things they’re doing.
GoPro makes their customers the star on their website. They showcase photos and videos of them doing cool stuff with their cameras.
14. Let your customers be a part of you
Customers like to be a part of something. When you let them be part of your business it’ll enable them to connect to you at a deeper level.
You could let your customers take part in market research, or let them vote on the name of one of your new products for instance. Even the smallest ways of including your customers can make a big impact in making them feel more invested in what you’re doing.
15. Start a challenge
Engage your customers to move closer to their goal by giving them a challenge. Then guide them every step of the way during the pre-determined challenge period to help them reach their goal.
ProBlogger Darren Rowse did the 31-Days to a Better Blog. Absolute Yoga Academy did a 10-day hollow back challenge. And every year in November, NaNoWriMo does a challenge to get people to complete a 50,000 world novel in thirty days.
Be awesome, do awesome
Break from the status quo, and do cool things. It’ll enable you to stand out from other available options your customers have to choose from.
16. Be cool (code for be yourself)
Remember when all the companies were trying to sound big, and corporate, and devoid of personality?
Thankfully, those days are long gone. Now companies of all sizes work super hard to inject personality into their communications.
Embrace those qualities about you and your brand that make you unique. Then incorporate them into your business.
The customers you are best suited to reach, will love that you’re embracing your authentic self, rather than stripping your business of all personality.
17. Have awesome people
When you have the right people on your team, it can make all the difference in your business’ success. Your people are able to connect with and delight your customers.
Your people also help you behind the scenes. They implement ideas that improve the experiences your customers have with your business.
18. Take care of your awesome people
Your clients will take note when you do right by the people that work for you.
Employees that are well cared for, tend to be happier in their work. As a result, they are much more likely to treat your customers better.
From your customers’ point of view, companies that do right by their team are much more likely to do right by customers. Especially in a world where many companies don’t treat their employees so well.
Ikea recently increased the minimum wage of workers across their stores. The benefits they received from this were so valuable, the company is set to raise wages again.
19. Do mundane things in new, different, and unexpected ways
Break up the monotony and do things differently than the way everyone expects you to.
The W Hotel in Westwood made riding an elevator super fun. The hotel has cameras in the elevator that shows you several images of yourself during your ride. I couldn't get in that elevator without striking a pose (ok, maybe three). That's one elevator I always loved being in, and one I'll never forget.
20. Sing a song or rap
Have a little fun, and sing your customers a song. Captivate them with your voice. And if you’re not the best singer, don’t worry. You don’t even need to be any good. Your audience will simply love the fact that you didn’t take yourself too seriously to do a little something to put a smile on their face.
The Copyblogger podcast The Lede celebrated their 101st episode with song. Hosts Jerod Morris and Demian Farnworth recorded epic versions of an original song, When the Vest Comes Off (Ooh La La). And their listeners loved it.
21. Take a stand
Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t cave in to doing something contrary to your values when pressure comes your way. Not only will you be sticking with your convictions, but you’ll please the customers who stand for what you believe in as well.
Cheerios stood by their ad featuring an interracial family, even after getting lots of backlash. They didn’t give in to those who took issue with their portrayal of a family. Instead, they ran a second ad with the family during the 2014 SuperBowl.
Frequent advice from successful business owners, is to be generous. Your business will benefit a great deal when you approach it with an attitude of abundance, rather than scarcity.
22. Make your customers feel like what they gave you was worth way more than they paid
The more your customers feel like the winner when buying from you, the better they’ll feel about buying from you again. Add so much value to what you give your customers, that buying from you feels like a no brainer.
And of course, your customers should benefit so much, they would have had no problem paying a higher price.
23. Give back
Show you care about the people and communities that share the world with you by giving back. Donate some of your profits. Donate your time. Find some ways to show you care more than just about your bottom line.
For every pair of shoes purchased at TOMS, they provide a pair of shoes to a child in need. One for one. Since launching in 2006, TOMS has given more than 10 million pair of shoes to children in need.
It’s time for you to get some love
A leaky bucket doesn’t do anyone much good.
So you’ve got to make sure you do what’s necessary to keep the customers you’ve got blissfully happy.
The best way to get your customers to love you, is to love them first.
So don’t be afraid to woo them. Delight them. And give them a long list of reasons of why they should choose you.
Pick one of the options above and start implementing it in your business.
Once you make customer loyalty a priority, your business will get lots of love too.