– by Ainsley Lawrence
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer with an interest in the way business, technology, and education intersect with the personal. She loves traveling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a good book.
Loyalty is essential to the success of any business. If you only focused on bringing in new customers, eventually your audience would “run out” and you wouldn’t have enough consistent business to stay afloat. The more customers who want to come back and support your business, the more security you’ll have. You’ll also create more brand ambassadors who are happy to tell their friends and family members about you.
Sales are also often easier with loyal customers. So much so, that there’s a 60 to 70% probability of closing a sale with an existing customer, compared to just 5 to 20% with a new prospect.
Employee loyalty is just as important. Loyal employees are dedicated to their work. They’re willing to overcome challenges, find creative ways to move forward, and always do what’s best for the business.
If you’re in a leadership position, one of your primary priorities should be to inspire loyalty in both employees and customers. But, how can you do that? What can you do to create a company culture that creates consistency and dedication?
Let’s look at a few ideas that can help.
Put Empathy First
Every business knows the importance of understanding its target audience. However, if you want to build a loyal following, it’s not enough to look at your audience in numbers and figures. Instead, try putting yourself in their shoes. The same goes for your employees. Showing empathy is a fantastic way to learn more about people’s needs, and how you can help.
For example, many people have experienced an increase in mental health issues over the last few years, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From a business standpoint, that has caused a shift in how consumers want to do business. They want to view brands as relationships. They want to see the “human” side of your business and engage with real people, rather than relying on traditional advertisements.
Your brand can make the most of those desires by connecting and communicating with your audience through avenues like social media. Listen carefully to what they’re saying. Stay positive and respectful. Thank them for bringing issues to your attention, and work with them to come up with positive solutions.
Empathy in the workplace will not only build loyalty but will create a better business environment. If you want to be a more empathetic leader, try some of the following strategies:
- Understand and look out for signs of burnout
- Take a genuine interest in the needs, wants, and dreams of your employees
- Help employees who are struggling with personal issues
- Be compassionate
When employees feel truly cared for and understood, they’re more likely to put their best foot forward in the workplace and stay with a business for a long time. No matter how big or small your company is, do whatever it takes to create a familial environment where it’s clear everyone is cared for.
Loyalty is built on trust. The more a customer trusts your brand, the more likely they are to keep coming back. The best way to build trust with your audience is to be as transparent as possible while maintaining consistency. Your goal should be to cultivate relationships, and showcasing your company character is a big part of that. You can’t expect your customers to trust you and remain loyal if you aren’t willing to “let them in” and stand by the values of your business.
A workplace built on trust is just as crucial. Not only should your employees trust each other, but they should trust your brand at large. High-trust companies are less stressful to work for, create less burnout, and have greater productivity.
As a leader, when you cultivate an environment of trust, you’ll also promote inclusivity within the workplace. Every employee will feel like they’re an important part of the team, and they won’t have any issues sharing their thoughts, opinions, or ideas.
Building trust takes time, but some of the best strategies to start cultivating more of it right away (for customers and employees) include:
- Genuinely listening
- Asking for feedback
- Acting on feedback
- Showing appreciation
- Being honest and transparent
The more trust your employees and customers have for your business, the greater your longevity will be.
If you really want your employees and customers to feel like they matter, let them know how much they matter. In the past, many businesses have used customer appreciation events as little more than sales gimmicks, offering special discounts to people as a way to sell more products. While that isn’t inherently a bad thing, it’s not necessarily the best way to let your audience know you appreciate their business.
Sometimes, small tokens of appreciation can go a long way. A handwritten note, a feature on your social media platforms, or even a meaningful gift can show your most loyal customers how valued they are. Customer loyalty programs are another great way to say “thanks” to the people who frequent your business.
The same rules apply to employee appreciation. In-office and remote perks like free food, collective meals, and work parties are small things that can leave a big impact. Thank you notes, public recognition, and positive feedback are also extremely effective. Of course, backing everything up with financial rewards is never a bad idea, either. Giving out company bonuses, distributing gift cards, or using paid time off as an incentive are all fantastic ways to show your employees you appreciate their hard work and dedication. That kind of appreciation will build loyalty within your workplace very quickly.
As you can see, inspiring loyalty in both employees and customers doesn’t have to be complicated. Use your position to put some of these ideas into practice, and you’ll create a more positive, productive work environment, and customers that will serve as your brand ambassadors for years.
If you’re ready to foster a business built on loyalty and you’re still looking for the best team, come to us for your staffing and career needs. We can help with the recruiting process, so you can create a positive company culture with the right people from the start.