How well do you think your small business delivers customer experience? Around 80% of business leaders believe they do it exceptionally – but only 8% of customers agree. 

But nailing the customer experience is essential to long-term business success. If you gett this right, you can foster customer loyalty so strong, it warrants a cult following. 

Here’s how to optimise the customer experience and solidify small business customer loyalty for decades to come.

What is customer loyalty?

Customer loyalty is when a customer repeatedly returns to buy from your business because of the exceptional customer experience your brand has created. It costs six to seven times more to acquire new customers than it does to retain existing ones. So, investing in strategies to create loyal brand fans can save you money in the long run.

Why do customer loyalty strategies matter?

You can foster small business customer loyalty in lots of different ways. Business owners often use loyalty programmes to spearhead their strategies but some prefer to create loyalty without one. 

In this article, we’ll cover: 

  • Creating a personalised programme
  • Why being community-driven matters
  • Best-in-class customer experience
  • How brand storytelling can bring customers back

Create a generous, personalised programme

In 2024, those that put generosity and personalisation at their core will stand out and stand the test of time. Offer perks so good, nobody can turn them down. And get utterly obsessed with tailoring the customer experience to individuals. You can use technology to drive relevant product recommendations. Or use purchase journeys to tailor your marketing to specific groups of customers. 

So how deep do you go? That’s up to you and the amount of time, data and person-power you have. But any investment can pay dividends. The reward is an increase in trust, engagement and revenue. After all, 71% of consumers already expect companies to deliver personalisation.

Add the community into everything

Community-driven strategies are successful because they make consumers feel part of the business. It strengthens their connection to the brand. For small business customer loyalty, this means encouraging regular feedback on the shop floor, on the phones or online. But it also means using this feedback to improve. 

Whether it’s creating a product your customers have been asking about for months or fixing an issue many complain about, use your community to steer your business forward. When a customer feels listened to, it fosters a deeper loyalty to the brand. That’s because the product becomes hyper-relevant to them the more it serves their needs.

Offer proactive customer support

Generating small business customer loyalty is as much about customer experience as it is about your product or service – or any one small business loyalty programme. Surpassing expectations for customer support or similarly falling short can often leave a lasting impression. Use a call answering service to keep customers connected with real humans 24/7, leverage analytics and AI-powered tools to anticipate customer needs, blockers or bottlenecks and go above and beyond when solving resolutions. Not only do these things solve issues proactively, but they keep your customers connected with your business directly, anytime, anywhere.

Invest in brand storytelling

When 92% of consumers want ads to feel more like stories and 55% say they’re more likely to buy a product after reading a brand story, it’s hard to argue with the numbers. Telling stories is about giving consumers a reason to feel an emotion before connecting it with your brand. It’s content intrinsically linked to your brand values but resonates on a deeper level with their own. 

Consider what your audience needs, and generate stories that resonate with their world. On the other hand, product-led content tends to only think about what your brand needs. Whether part of a small business loyalty programme or not, it can help to drive sales from loyal brand fans. After all, 84% of consumers say they buy from brands they feel an emotional connection to.

Summing it all up

Small business loyalty programmes can take many forms. However, generating small business customer loyalty can be done with or without a big, flashy loyalty app. If you focus on delivering a highly personalised customer experience centred on the community, with both brand storytelling and exceptional customer service included, you increase loyalty. 

More importantly, once you’ve got it, it’s crucial to maintain it. Never miss an opportunity by using a 24/7 virtual reception that can take calls and schedule appointments, day and night. As a result, you create loyal customers that know they can trust you.