How to Maintain Customer Relationships and Build Loyalty

business owner with young customer

According to a recent Square study, 63 percent of customers said the number one thing that keeps them loyal to a business is great customer service. Since customers are your greatest asset, it’s important to ensure they’re happy.

A five percent increase in customer retention can boost profits up to 95 percent, according to a study by Bain & Company. So, satisfied, loyal customers equal a healthy business.

One of the best ways to do this is to use a customer directory that keeps track of customer data, notes, and feedback (good or bad). If you integrate this with customer engagement tools, you can provide customers with a more personalized service and communication.

Of course, it’s not enough just to have the right tools. You also need solid strategies and tactics.

Square’s study included conversations with consumers nationwide, and focused on their experiences with the businesses in their community. This resulted in powerful customer service practice insights that can be used to keep you in your customers’ good graces and help you to grow as a company.

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Provide great service.

Your employees interact with customers on a regular basis. To ensure everyone has a positive experience, employees should be encouraged and empowered to treat customers well. (And, in turn, your team should be happy and motivated.)

The customers we spoke with listed customer service as the most important reason why they’re loyal to a business. “They treat each customer as if they were family,” one customer said. And another: “You are not paying for a product, you are paying for an experience.”

Make it personal.

Remembering details like a customer’s favorite bottle of wine or a hard-to-find snack can mean a lot, and it ensures that customers feel valued, known and understood. With Square’s Customer Directory notes and reminders, you and all of your employees can easily manage relationships with each customer. This comes in handy for prompt follow-ups, like when a product is back in stock.

Stay in touch.

Everyone wants to feel like they’re being kept in the loop. This means that it’s important to send newsletters, event invitations, and specialty emails. With the right email marketing tools, you should be able to segment customers by behavior and provide more personalized offers that get them in the door more often.

Offer rewards.

Reward your customers for coming back with a loyalty program, be it a with a digital software program or an old-school punch card. Loyalty programs serve as encouragement to return, and are especially helpful to differentiate your business from similar ones in your area, respondents said.

Celebrate your customers.

Honor loyal customers with special events, like an evening with private shopping and discounts, or a preview party of a menu or new cocktails you’re testing. It’s an easy way to make your loyal customers feel appreciated and special. You might even start a friends and family day with discounted shopping for loyal customers, so they can bring someone special and spread the word.

Give back to your community.

Getting involved in your community gives you a chance to form beneficial relationships with nearby businesses. Support your neighbors and consider having a block party with stores and restaurants in your area, offering special discounts or samples. You can even create a punch card program that offers discounts or loyalty incentives with other businesses.

“It’s a mutually beneficial relationship and I like that,” a customer said of the local businesses that work together.

Don’t forget the little things.

While big gestures are nice, it’s the little touches that stand out and keep customers returning. A special holiday treat, an extra dessert, or a simple thank you card at the end of the year takes a small amount of effort but has a lot of impact.

One customer recounted, “Sometimes we’ll get an extra soup or extra fortune cookies. They’re little things, but they keeps us loyal.”

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