Imagine this scenario. You own a successful yoga studio in your town. Your customers flock to your studio for your upbeat teachers, the variety of classes you host and your interesting workshops. You know most of your customers by their first names, and have them checked in even before they’ve made it to your front desk.
Then, one day, another studio opens a mile away. Your business is still going great six months after they open. Gradually, though, you notice fewer and fewer of your regular clients coming through your doors. You're seeing some new customers but they don't seem to be buying memberships – mainly just drop-in classes or retail.
You take a trip down to your competition to see what they have to offer that you don't. The front of the studio is full of smiling, happy yogis getting ready for class or chatting with their teacher about some new alignment tweaks they made during class.
You decide to try a class. It's good, but not anything you don’t have at your studio. Actually, nothing you see there seems quite as good as your offerings, your teachers and your classes.
What’s missing from our yoga studio owner’s story is a clear way of engaging with her customers and keeping them coming back to her studio instead of her competition's.
The established yoga studio may have had great offerings and atmosphere, but it also took for granted that customers would keep coming back. In this day and age of increased competition for the hearts, minds and dollars of potential customers, you need to go the extra mile to keep people interested in your business.
According to customer retention expert Jerry Jao, “Customer choice has reached an all-time high while attention spans have dipped to an all-time low.”
The other studio in this scenario wasn’t popular just because it was new – they took the time to get to know their customers, interact with them outside of the four walls of their business and incentivized them to keep coming back through a rewards program. They weren’t just working to bring new customers through the door; they were focused on turning those customers into loyal advocates of their business.
So, you’ve decide to focus on the customer loyalty aspect of your business. What can you do today to start retaining your customers and growing your business at the same time?
The first and most important thing you can do to increase customer loyalty is to begin developing real relationships with your customers. Whether that’s by talking about their goals and needs when they’re in your business or focusing on social media interactions while they’re at home, taking the time to really exchange valuable information with your customers will go a long way in helping them make the decision to come back to your business.
Gamification works because it taps into human psychology and basic needs. Using gamification techniques to get your customers coming back into your business (and interacting with you online) can help make your business a habit for your customers. Consider hosting contests (in person and on social), offering points in a rewards program or discounts on products or services.
The single best way to increase customer loyalty is to work with a program that is specifically designed to use gamification, retention techniques and referrals to keep your customers coming back. Points-based programs work well because they put the freedom of rewards in the hands of the customer. By using points and making it easy for your customers to see how far away they are from receiving a reward that they actually want, they’re much more likely to keep working toward that goal – and ultimately, doing more business with you.
Try a few of these tips to boost customer loyalty in your business, especially during the holiday season, or watch our customer loyalty webinar recording for even more tips.