A delightful customer experience is one of the leading aspects to gaining and maintaining long-term brand loyalty.  A positive customer experience is a proven strategy to ensure your customers shop with you and not your competitors.  Training your staff to engage with customers is key to building your loyal customer base.

Loyal customers are going to be your biggest spenders and most recurring customers. The hardest thing to do is to gain their loyalty. Gaining loyalty starts with you, the owner or manager. The way your employees are trained is critical. Your employees will follow your behavior and expressions. When training, it is important to train them with a positive expression and outlook. You must show your employees that you are excited to be here and they will follow. The employees are your customers first look at your brand and it is important to keep that in mind when training.

If your employees look happy when a customer walks through the door, it will make the customer feel welcomed and likely put a smile on their face as well. An exceptional first customer experience is critical. It is basically life or death on the loyalty scale for that customer. There is a very limited amount of times where a customer will come back after a bad experience.

It is important to make each customer feel unique. Welcoming a customer with a “Hi, how are you?” can make a customer feel special. They will feel as if the staff actually want to talk to them and help them find what they need. Simply saying “Hi” and then turning your back can show that the staff are clearly uninterested. As well, customer personalization is another key factor. Personalization relates very closely to uniqueness in the sense that you want the customer to feel special. You don’t want to make them feel as if they are just another customer. Take the extra step to do something different for this customer. It can go a long way in gaining loyalty.

Customers can be your biggest ambassadors and form of advertisement. If these customers leave your store or restaurant happy, it is likely they will tell their friends and family about it. This can lead to more customers walking through your door and then the cycle repeats. Give these new customers the experience they heard about and they too will go home and tell their friends and family. Advertisements can make people aware of your business but it is word of mouth that is most effective.

Consequently, all of this relates back to you and the experience you give your customers. Customer loyalty starts with you and finishes with their in store experience.