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Cultivate Long-Lasting Customer Relationships with These Effective Strategies

Making your customers feel valued and appreciated is essential for customer retention and conversion. These strategies will help bolster your business's success by cultivating long-lasting relationships and strong brand loyalty.
Jon Cogan
September 10, 2021

Cultivating and developing long-lasting customer relationships today in the omnichannel digital landscape can be challenging for businesses of all sizes in all industries. Online customers can be fickle. They might make a purchase today only to make a future purchase from a competitor later who sells similar products for less.

Rather than focusing on the traditional path to drive customers from discovery to conversion, business owners need to be aware the path is no longer linear. Shoppers frequently jump between businesses, online marketplaces, and even the devices they use to make purchases.

Businesses that do not realize this are leaving potential leads and money on the table. Today’s consumers demand next-gen customer shopping experiences. Businesses that focus on providing these experiences across multiple user devices are obtaining significantly higher conversion rates.

The new path businesses need to follow to help drive conversions and build long-lasting customer relationships requires using three key strategies:

1. Collect – You need to be collecting data on your customers whether they make a purchase or not. You want to know their likes and dislikes. You want to solicit their feedback about your business including product reviews, customer service reviews, etc.

2. Curate – You need to develop your online content across multiple digital channels in such a manner that it is consistent, high-quality, and delivers similar experiences regardless of how consumers access the content.

3. Cultivate – Using the data you collect and your curated content you need to start building relationships with your customers to encourage long-lasting relationships and strong brand loyalty.

Most business owners already have methods and techniques in place to address the first two strategies. Yet, they often struggle when it comes to cultivating relationships with their customers. To help you further cultivate stronger and deeper relationships with your customers, we invite you to review these effective strategies.

Strategy #1: Create a customer loyalty program.

Customer loyalty programs are an efficient and quick way to gain insights about your consumers and collect data at the same time. When they sign up, you get access to their email, phone number, birthday, and more. This information helps you personalize your customer experiences and tailor them to specific customers for more meaningful one-on-one interactions.

You could even create a special group on a social media platform for customers that are part of your customer loyalty program. When like-minded people chat about your products or services, they often discover something new, which could lead to additional purchases.

Your customer loyalty program should offer reward points or other incentives based on purchase amounts, as well.

Strategy #2: Make your most active customers feel like VIPs.

You can build on your customer loyalty program and create different tiers based on purchase amounts, purchase frequency, etc. Your goal is to create a sense of community among your most active customers. You want to offer them exclusive customer experiences by rewarding them with different VIP tiered levels.

As shoppers reach higher tier levels, they gain additional perks, such as access to sales earlier than other customers, early access to pre-order new products before they are offered to everyone else, free shipping, higher reward point earning per dollar spent, and personalized recommendations and offers.

With tired VIP programs, you want to make sure just your VIPs have access to specific perks to make them feel truly appreciated and valued. Doing so also shows them that their loyalty to your brand matters just as much to you.

You could even offer a paid loyalty subscription with its own set of perks. Paid programs often result in customers spending more on your products to take advantage of the special subscription perks, increasing your average order values.

Strategy #3: Solicit user-generated content (UGC) from your loyal customers.

Customer reviews, pictures, and videos are a given on your website and social media platforms these days. By going a step further and finding creative ways to solicit UGC from your loyal customer communities, you can generate more interest in your brands and customer experiences.

For instance, you could share posts of customers’ reviews or photos from your customer loyalty program social media group. You could ask loyal customers to write guest blogs about your products and post those on your website. The possibilities and endless.

When potential customers see you celebrating your customers’ content, they are more likely to want to learn more about your brands and be enticed to reshare the content over and over through multiple social media platforms.

Strategy #4: Take time to respond to your customers.

When a customer leaves a product review, good or bad, take time to acknowledge it. Thank them for taking the time to leave the review. If the review was positive, ask them if there are any other related products they would like to see you sell.

If the review is negative, reach out to the customer by inviting them to contact you directly. After resolving the issue, make sure to reply to the post summarizing what you did. If you offered a discount or a refund, leave this out, as you do not want to set off a chain of negative reviews just so customers can get a discount.

When customers see you are responding to their posts, it lets them know you are taking time to listen to them, their wants, and their needs.

Strategy #5: Make it easier for your loyal customers to make referrals.

When loyal customers make referrals, there is a higher probability the lead will convert into a customer. Invest in a smart referral app where your customers can make referrals through social media, text messaging, or email.  

You could even roll out a customer referral program where your loyal customers earn some type of perk when the customer they refer makes a purchase. For the referral, offer some incentive as well to entice a sale.

Strategy #6: Offer subscription options on your products.

You most likely have customers that purchase the same products from you over and over. Give them the option to subscribe with shipments based on how frequently they want the product, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Offer a small discount and free standard shipping for any products your customers add to a subscription plan. You could even offer double or triple reward points for subscription plan products.

Subscriptions are a great way to engage with your customers by sending them reminder emails or text messages before their next shipment ships, suggesting upsells to their upcoming shipment, etc.

Strategy #7: Get your customers involved in new product development.

If you develop and sell new products, make the process more collaborative by getting your customer involved. Your loyal customers are more than willing to share their opinions, wants, and desires. You just have to ask.

For example, you are planning to release new colours of a top-selling product. Before deciding what colours to announce, take the time to solicit input from your customers. You might discover the colours they want are completely different from what you were planning.

By finding out now, you can avoid releasing products your customers may not be interested in purchasing. Not to mention, releasing the colours your customers said they wanted shows them you care about their wants and needs, which further cultivates stronger customer relationships and brand loyalty.

Final Thoughts

Customers today want more from businesses when it comes to developing customer relationships. They want exceptional customer experiences. They like being rewarded for their loyalty. They also like it when businesses engage in conversations with them and listen to their wants and needs.

By implementing these seven strategies, you can start to cultivate long-lasting relationships with your most loyal customer, as well as new customers.

If you need help implementing these seven strategies and which tools, apps, and techniques would be best, or want to assemble an all-star team focused on cultivating customer relationships, please feel free to contact The eCommerce Quarterback for further information and to request a free consultation today!

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