How many of you are members of customer loyalty programs? I know I am! I’m all about collecting airline miles, rewards points and the occasional free drink from my favorite coffee chain based on my spending habits. (I’ll take one large, extra hot, non-fat, Chai tea latte, please!)

How many of you offer them to your own customers? Nearly 1 in 4 small and medium-sized businesses offer a loyalty program, according to Wave 20 of our Local Commerce Monitor™ survey of small businesses. Still, building customer loyalty has equally as much to do with how you treat customers both in person and online as it does customer loyalty programs and advanced software. (But those things are still important.)

Since our company helps local businesses gain new customers and keep current ones coming back, we get a lot of questions about the factors affecting customer loyalty. This is also because you know it’s much costlier and more difficult to gain a new customer than it is to keep a current one. We took the time to compile some of the most common customer loyalty questions and answer them here.

A Customer Loyalty FAQ

Q: What is the most direct cause of customer loyalty?
A: There’s no one cause that is most likely to indicate customer loyalty, since all customers are different. There are trends however. Trust, regular communication, discounts and special offers top most online lists for indicators of customer loyalty.

Q: What is a customer loyalty app? How can I use it?
A: Multiple service providers out there offer streamlined, automated ways to manage your customer loyalty program. Nowadays, an app is arguably the easiest way for customers to manage their participation in your loyalty program. UpCity does a great job overviewing the various apps out there and how they’re applicable to different types of businesses.

Q: Are customer loyalty programs worth the hassle?
A: In short, yes. 75% of companies that have customer loyalty programs generate a return on their investment from their program. Learn more from a recent Dex blog.

Q: What are the best ways to handle complaining customers?
A: Complaining customers come in all shapes and sizes. In one of our most popular blog posts, we detailed 5 types of complainers and exactly how to handle them. Regardless of the specific type of complaint, general consensus says complainers want some of the same things: to be listened to, to have their feelings acknowledged and to receive something (even something small) in return for their trouble.

Q: How can I protect my online reputation?
A: You can’t ensure a 100% approval rating online. At some point or another, you are likely to come up short and take a hit for it. What’s more important than burying those negative reviews is how you respond to them. The first step in owning your online reputation is grabbing all your social profiles and keeping up with them. Then, it’s crucial you’re notified right away when someone posts a negative review. So monitor, monitor, monitor. From there, respond to all reviews openly and with respect. And if you can offer a solution to address a negative comment, do.

Something we didn’t cover?

We handle customer loyalty for local businesses via a powerful customer relationship management system, paired with targeted email marketing campaigns, text message appointment reminders and more.

Want to see how we could help your business? Get a consultation today.