In today’s highly competitive business environment, customer loyalty gives companies a competitive edge and helps them thrive. Why is building loyalty so crucial?

Naturally, loyal customers shop regularly. Also, 36.5% of them will spend more on a product even when they can find it at a lower price elsewhere. Also, 59.3% of loyal shoppers will strongly recommend the brands they love to friends and family.

Winning a first-time customer requires investing 5 times more than keeping a loyal one.

Therefore, many businesses recognize that keeping their repeat clients is a top priority in their marketing strategy. We’ll share three effective ways to build relationships of trust and loyalty with your customers.

Let’s start by discussing the very concept.

What is customer loyalty?

Customer loyalty is the emotional attachment customers have to a brand, making them return again and again long after they’ve made their first purchase. Loyalty results from positive experiences with a brand that build engagement and trust.

Customer loyalty can be seen as five stages, each one increasing the level of commitment a client manifests to your brand:

  1. Awareness: The customer knows about your brand and your product.
  2. Research: They have visited your company website, studied your resources, and started considering buying from you.
  3. Purchase and use: The first-time purchase is completed, and the customer is actually using your product or service.
  4. Retention: They return to you and purchase repeatedly.
  5. Advocacy: The customer becomes your brand ambassador.

Your goal is to guide your customer from the Awareness stage to the Advocacy stage. This means increasing loyalty and requires understanding where your customer is along their journey and what they need.

Types of loyal customers

Meet the following six types of your loyal customers:

  1. Happy customers: They like your products and have repeatedly bought from you. However, such clients are likely to change brands for a better deal and form a new relationship with another company.
  2. Price-loyal customers: They stay with your brand only because of low prices and will leave if they see an opportunity to save elsewhere.
  3. Loyalty program-loyal customers: They’re only loyal to your loyalty program.
  4. Convenience-loyal customers: They’re loyal only because of the convenience of location, communication, and purchase your offer.
  5. Loyal-to-freebies customers: Attracted by the different perks you offer, they aren’t engaged by your brand and products.
  6. Truly loyal customers: These are your true brand advocates.

Thus, segmenting customers will enable you to address them effectively in your loyalty marketing. To develop effective strategies to increase your client’s engagement and commitment, you also need to quantify loyalty.

How can you measure brand loyalty?

You can gain valuable and actionable insights by combining operation metrics and experience data. Let’s go through the metrics that can help you measure customer loyalty:

Net promoter score (NPS)

NPS determines how many customers are satisfied with their experience and will promote your products or services to others.

To measure NPS, create a simple customer satisfaction survey. Ask your clients to mark their level of satisfaction or willingness to recommend your business on a zero to ten scale. Then, send the survey out, and use the Touchpoint NPS Calculator to determine your NPS based on the survey results.

Net Promoter Score (NPS) Calculator

NPS determines how many customers are satisfied with their experience and will promote your products or services to others.

To measure NPS, create a simple customer satisfaction survey. Ask your clients to mark their level of satisfaction or willingness to recommend your business on a zero to ten scale. Then, send the survey out, and use the Touchpoint NPS Calculator to determine your NPS based on the survey results.

Customer churn rate

This is the percentage of customers that have stopped using your service or purchasing your product.

The Touchpoint Churn Rate Calculator allows you to determine the churn rate of your SaaS and gain an understanding of your customers’ level of loyalty.

Touchpoint Churn Rate Calculator

Customer loyalty index (CLI)

CLI helps track loyalty over time. A CLI survey is like an NPS survey but collects additional data about repeated purchases. It uses a one (“Definitely Yes”) to six (“Definitely No”) scale and is based on questions, such as:

A CLI survey repeated from time to time helps you follow changes and better tailor your loyalty strategy.

Repeat purchase rate

It shows the average number of returning customers.

To calculate the repeat purchase rate, divide the number of customers who made a repeat purchase over a given period by the total number of customers for the same period.

This figure helps you track retention and loyalty over time and predicts the future purchases of your current customers.

Customer lifetime value (CLV)

CLV measures the total average profit margin one customer generates over their entire lifetime or business relationship with your company. This is one of the key indicators of loyalty for businesses.

Calculating CLV is based on the following figures:

To simplify the process, you can use the Touchpoint Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) Calculator, which does the tedious calculations for you.

How to build customer trust and loyalty

Inspiring customer loyalty and trust is an ongoing process that a business should be focused on. The most effective approach is considering both operational and emotional factors and using a combination of strategies.

Here are three valuable ideas you can implement to boost loyalty and retention:

1. Deliver excellent customer service

Going the extra mile or even two for your customers correlates to increased satisfaction and loyalty.

Providing unparalleled customer service positions your company as a valued and preferred partner.

2. Build an emotional connection and trust

Our purchase decisions are driven by emotion, and getting your customers emotionally attached to your brand is essential.

To do so:

Prioritizing your customer needs will help build trust and connect with your clients emotionally.

3. Launch your loyalty program

Once you’ve built an emotional connection with your customers, you can start loyalty programs to nurture loyalty further.

This marketing approach focuses on offering benefits, such as rewards, access to limited collections, coupons, or other perks, to clients who regularly engage with a company.

However, you have to know that your customer loyalty will probably fall when your loyalty program offers rewards that don’t bring value to clients. So, selecting the type of program and benefit to offer is crucial.

For your inspiration, we’ve collected eight loyalty program ideas:

8 Types of loyalty programs

1. Point-based programs

These are the most popular and come with rewards, such as cash, free products, or gifts like company swag.

Example: Blume enables buyers to earn points (Blume Bucks) that can be redeemed for gifts.

Get ready to get rewarded Blumetopia

Image source: blume.com

2. ‘Refer a friend’ programs

Customers are rewarded for bringing in a new client.

Example: With Wise, users get a reward as soon as the three new subscribers they have invited make a qualifying payment.

Wise refer a friend program

Image source: wise.com

3. ‘Make the switch’ programs

Customers get special offers and discounts when adding to the services they use.

Example: Alliant gives customers that open a new account or switch banks a cash reward if they meet some eligibility requirements.

get your bonus Alliantcreditunion

Image source: alliantcreditunion.org

4. Tiered programs

The rewards offered to customers depend on their tier level, which is achieved by buying from a company.

Example: Sephora offers a three-tier point-based loyalty program. Customers are grouped into three Beauty Insider tiers based on their average purchase threshold.

2022 Beauty insider benefits sephora

Image source: sephora.com

5. Paid programs

Customers pay a fee and get benefits from a company.

Example: At $119/year (plus tax) or $12.99/month (plus tax), users of Amazon Prime get free, two-day shipping on products with no minimum purchase threshold.

Amazon Prime

Image source: amazon.com

6. ‘Join our community’ programs

Customers receive benefits for becoming members of a company community.

Example: Outdoor merchandiser REI offers membership benefits (an Annual Dividend) as a share of the company’s annual profit. The more they spend, the greater the reward.

The benefits of membership are the best way to experience REI Co-op

Image source: rei.com

7. Value programs

They offer non-financial rewards to customers, such as enabling customers to contribute to social causes and charities.

Example: The Love Your Body Club of The Body Shop offers members the chance to make monetary donations to charities using their loyalty points.

8. ‘Shop at our partners’ programs

As the name suggests, clients get discounts when buying products and services offered by the company’s partners.

Example: AAA offers fringe benefits to members that use their automobile insurance services.

Aaa Discounts & Rewards Partners

Image source: discounts.aaa.com

You can combine these types to come up with a loyalty program that will best work for your brand.

Build customer loyalty to let your brand flourish

While acquiring new customers is important, keeping your repeat clients means you can rely on higher profits, loyal brand ambassadors, and company growth. With the right metrics at your fingertips, you’ll be able to understand your customer base and build an effective loyalty marketing strategy.

Inspiring customer loyalty is based on outstanding customer experience, building trust, and creating a sense of belonging.

All you need to do is put the customer in the center of your marketing model and go through the steps we’ve just discussed.

Many businesses don’t know how to answer negative reviews or even address positive Google reviews. Poor ratings, a lack of trust, and reluctance to buy soon follow. You can easily increase Google reviews using the tips and strategies we are about to list.

When people want to make a purchase, they rely on other people’s opinions, which are reflected in online reviews. It is no secret that Google factors the quantity and quality of reviews into its local ranking algorithm.

This article will show you how to make the most of those reviews and boost your company’s reputation and local Google rankings. We will also share examples of how to interact with customers and their feedback.

Benefits of increasing Google reviews

To provide a smooth customer journey and excellent customer support, you need to understand how customer reviews work.

Google is the go-to platform for brand research, and ten is the average number of reviews that customers check before buying a product.

Let’s see why Google reviews are so important, how you can manage them, and how they help grow your business.

Boosting brand trust and credibility

Brands that address every type of review, including negative ones, are considered more trustworthy.

An increasing number of reviews not only boosts credibility but also makes it 92% more likely that customers buy from you.

Google my business logo on phone

Increasing online exposure

Whenever you answer a review, you can achieve higher Google rankings and boost your brand’s online visibility. Google’s algorithm is partly based on signals issued by Google Reviews.

This has a major impact on both SEO and online visibility and what will set you apart from your competition is a higher number of reviews. Ideally, a company should have 40+ Google Reviews to stand out.

Improving SEO rankings and CTR

Google rewards companies that fulfill or even exceed client expectations. As the trust in your brand increases, so does your SERP (search engine result page) ranking.

Organic local searches are especially impacted by this fact, and, the higher you rank, the more likely you are to attract new customers.

When it comes to reviews, it’s all about:

How to get more Google reviews

Let’s tap into the countless ways you can get more Google reviews and see how each one benefits your business.

1. Create your Google Business account and review page

It only takes a couple of clicks to get started with Google Business. The reviews section is included on the page, which acts as a virtual business card.

After you finish creating your profile, you have to verify it by entering the code sent by Google to your physical address.

To optimize your profile and make sure clients get the info they need, do the following:

2. Use Google’s free marketing materials

A very good way to increase Google reviews is by using the marketing materials they provide. Not sure how to incentivize clients to leave reviews?

Google offers free stickers, posters, and even content for companies that are looking to increase their review numbers but are unsure how to proceed.

You can customize your messages, images, etc., to increase your chances of getting a bigger review number. And the best part is that all of this is free.

Example of Google My Business marketing kit

3. Create a feedback loop

Create a process to constantly request reviews and address issues. Closing the feedback loop leads to lower churn rates and higher customer satisfaction. Here are the main stages of a feedback loop:

You can easily collect feedback using survey tools, review platforms, live chat, and social media. Every customer touchpoint is a potential source of information you haven’t tapped into.

4. Make it easy for customers to leave reviews

You’d be surprised how many customers would leave reviews if the process was easier. The good news is that you can simplify Google review submission using the following effective strategies:

Before asking for reviews, create an account yourself and go through all the review steps. See how long it takes to answer questions, how fast the pages load, and if the links work properly. Do this periodically to spot potential issues early on.

To make it easier for clients to leave a review, place link shortcuts across your social media platforms. Also, include them on your site, in newsletters, or in any other type of written communication that you send.

QR codes are highly interactive and engaging. They allow clients to instantly access the info they want from any device. This saves them time and effort while also promoting engagement with your brand.

Anything that works as fast as QR codes is bound to trigger the desired response from your target audience. So, make sure to incorporate them into your marketing strategy.

Example of Google review us code for local business

5. Interact with customers at your location

Your store or company headquarters is not just a place of business. It’s the first and most important customer touchpoint. Whenever you give clients insight into how you conduct your business, they are more inclined to offer feedback and reviews.

This is the easiest way to interact with and engage clients. They will surely appreciate that you personally asked for a review, especially if the request comes directly from the business owner. This works especially well for small businesses.

Sometimes, setting yourself apart from the competition means going back to what worked in the past. Our increasingly digitized environment lacks genuine human connection.

Unlike emails, which can be intrusive, receiving a card from someone is a choice most clients are happy to make.

Sometimes simpler is better: every time a client leaves your location, remind them to join your subscriber lists or leave a review. You can include a sign or QR code on the door to make it more interactive.

This code can lead directly to your Google reviews page and link to your SMS opt-in pages or social profiles.

Nurture your lists and send truly valuable and personalized content to instill a feeling of loyalty and anticipation.

When customers feel valued, they want to give back. The best and easiest way to do that is by leaving reviews or testimonials.

Example of Google Review sticker local business

Another way to incentivize reviews is by sharing a digital business card in your email campaigns or as your email signature. Include clickable links to the review page by using a digital card software to create a virtual card.

Reviews that come from staff and partners are seen as more genuine. There’s nothing like inside tips to get clients curious about a company’s products or services.

Placing a review link at the bottom of a menu or even on a receipt can be quite effective, especially if it includes a QR code for quick access.

6. Promote your Google reviews page

You can easily promote your Google Business page, including the reviews section, with tools that are within everyone’s reach. Here are some effective ways to achieve that without going over budget:

Synchronizing email with SMS is very powerful. These channels provide valuable insight into customer behavior, have endless automation potential, and are incredibly cost-effective.

Insert a review link in your automated SMS and email campaigns to encourage happy customers to review your product.

Textmagic review request example

Social media is great for company-customer interaction, especially since it’s a less formal medium. Clients are often excited to leave reviews. They need that extra incentive to interact with your company’s page. You can ask for reviews directly in a post or even include existing ones on your page.

Try not to offer financial incentives for client reviews. This is a frowned-upon practice that can lead to low-quality reviews and poor Google ranking. Remember that reviews help customers make informed decisions. They serve customers, not your best interest.

Detailed reviews deserve some form of compensation. When people make time to evaluate a product, they expect something in return. If you combine a simple “thank you” with early bird access to your next product line, for instance, you get a customer who is pleased with how you conduct your business and who is likely to become a loyal client.

A well-placed link is a very effective way to gather the needed info. Clients don’t have to look for links themselves. Plus it sends the message that your company is professional and cares about its clients’ points of view.

Customer feedback flow creation in the Textmagic app

Surveys are great for boosting customer engagement because they register high response rates. Asking clients for feedback shows that you value their opinions and appreciate the relationship they established with your brand.

How do surveys help increase Google reviews? If you keep your surveys short and to the point, chances are your customers will also leave feedback at the end.

You can create a Google reviews page (there are platforms and plugins that aggregate your Google reviews) on your website or place the review link on your homepage or footer (if you want to be more subtle).

Examples of how to ask customers for reviews

If you don’t know how to get started with Google reviews, we thought you might appreciate some content examples of what works best for different platforms. We also have included real-life examples of how best to approach customers when asking for reviews:

1. SMS review request template

Hey, {Name}. We’d love to get your feedback on [Product]. We’d also appreciate a Google review if you have the time {Link}, and would like to invite you on an exclusive tour of our new store in [City].

Send now

2. Email review request template

Subject line: How was your experience with Textmagic?

Hey, [Name],

We’re always looking for ways to improve your customer experience, so we thought you’d like to drop a few lines about your latest purchase: [link to product].

As a token of appreciation, we’d like to throw in an invitation to our next product launch.

Happy shopping,

[Company name]

3. Social media post example

We want to welcome 2024 with a product that exceeds expectations. Your opinion means the world to us, and it will help us build better software. Review us today and be among the first to discover the new Textmagic interface.

How to increase google reviews example of social post
Textmagic social media ads

4. Conversational examples (for real-life situations)

Company rep: Hey, I just noticed you purchased one of our products. Any specific reasons for choosing that one?

Client expands on why he/she made that choice.

Company rep: So happy to hear all about your positive experience. We’re doing our best to keep clients happy. Any thoughts on how we could do even better?

Client offers feedback

Company rep: It would be awesome if you could offer that exact feedback in writing. This helps other clients and customers like yourself make informed choices. Here’s a card containing all the details that you need if you decide to leave a review.

Why asking for reviews should become a habit

Reviews matter more than sales copy. The key to increase Google reviews is in how you ask and what you offer. Don’t take customer feedback for granted: it costs customers time and effort.

Make them feel valued by throwing in exclusive access to new product features, for example, or by engaging them with interactive requests. Use technology to your advantage (QR codes), but make sure to personalize it by adding a human touch (printed requests, cards, etc.).

The key lies in combining multiple tactics and stimulating their imagination. Use eye-catching visuals and personalized copy to incentivize action through innovative technology. This way, your brand will stand out on every channel, and Google reviews will come not as a bonus but as a part of the package.

Negative feedback might be the starting point of a positive business relationship if you constructively deal with them. But this can only happen if you learn how to respond to negative reviews the right way.

With 52% of customers stating that they trust products with some negative reviews more than those with zero negative comments, constructive criticism might be the key to increasing customer satisfaction in the long run.

Why you should always address negative feedback

Leaving negative feedback unanswered sends a clear message. It tells clients that you don’t value their opinion, whether legitimate or not. Even if a negative comment is unfounded, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t acknowledge it.

Let’s see why addressing negative feedback helps your business thrive and how you should respond professionally to criticism.

Contributes to maintaining a good company image

Legitimate or not, negative reviews can seriously affect your company’s image. Negative feedback doesn’t damage a company’s reputation. Not addressing it does. Constructive criticism allows you to build a trustworthy reputation because prospective clients see that you put effort into solving product-related issues and don’t ignore the problematic aspects.

Improves visibility on search engines

Believe it or not, negative reviews help increase SERP visibility and have a positive impact on SEO as well. Organic reviews will always make a better impression on your potential clients, as opposed to only five-star reviews or, even worse, no reviews at all.

Customers know that many brands pay for positive reviews and decide to exclude “too good to be true” products from their shopping cart. Most people are looking for authenticity in a product, including one or two negative reviews now and then.

How to respond to negative reviews constructively

Simply responding to negative feedback is not enough. In the following lines, we’ll show you how to handle negative comments professionally and maintain a positive brand image:

1. Send personalized responses

Always start with your client’s name. This way, you’ll immediately engage your audience and show interest on your behalf. Don’t send the same response and change only your recipient’s name. Answer each complaint individually, and address the issue in detail, so that the customer knows you are talking about their problem in particular.

Textmagic customer review answer that is personalized

2. Apologize and start actively looking for solutions

After you look into the complaint to see whether it’s legitimate, the first thing to do is apologize for the client’s inconvenience. Then, see whether their comment was entirely negative or if they also stated some positive aspects about their interaction with your brand. If so, try to find a solution that is based on what they enjoyed about your product.

Here’s an example:

“We are sorry to hear that your recent experience with our product was unsatisfactory and appreciate your feedback. Since you mentioned you enjoyed our latest product launch, we’d like to have you as our special guest at our next public event, which will take place on [Date], at [Location].

We’re trying our best to offer the best client experience and look forward to hearing more from you soon.”

3. Always end communication on a positive note

Adopting a positive attitude doesn’t necessarily mean offering financial compensation for their troubles. It means acknowledging the issue, proposing a solution, and thanking the client for signaling it. It also helps if you ask them to signal potential problems in the future, to let clients know you value their input.

This way, you’ll be able to improve your services and products using information given to you freely, with no need to conduct special surveys.

4. Don’t try to deviate from the subject or sugarcoat the situation

The last thing your clients want to hear is some excuse over why your product failed to meet their expectations. Instead, try to:

Denying responsibility will only make things worse. If you’re unsure about a problem, simply say you’re looking into the issue, but never ignore the situation altogether.

5. Ask how you can fix things

Even if you have already thought of a solution, it’s always best to ask your client’s opinion regarding compensation. You can do this by phone and follow up with a confirmation email. Try to offer multiple options to set realistic expectations and limit their demands. Choices could include:

6. Reply quickly, but not impulsively

Answer any customer complaint promptly, but do not be impulsive. Don’t answer just for the sake of it. Think it through, be thorough with your reply and offer a solution.

Clients want to feel heard, so answering too late might be frustrating and show that you don’t care about the issue. Sometimes a late answer is worse than no answer at all.

7. Go the extra mile

Even if you solve a client’s problem, things don’t have to stop there. Nothing is more comforting for your customers than knowing your interest doesn’t stop once the threat of a bad review is gone.

Keep in touch, send follow-up emails and ask for feedback on their next purchase. Don’t let bad reviews turn into the only reason why your clients get in touch. Keep the communication flow going throughout their customer journey and see how even disgruntled clients turn into potential brand ambassadors.

Example of Textmagic review going the extra mile

8. If necessary, offer compensation

Don’t start with offering to pay for their distress. If the problem is legitimate and it ended up costing your client, then it’s only natural you should cover the expenses. In most cases, compensation isn’t financial.

You can offer to replace a faulty product or make up for their trouble by throwing in additional services. Most of the time, anything that makes the client feel like you made the necessary effort is enough to compensate for the negative experience.

9. Thank them for their feedback and encourage further reviews

Always thank customers for their input, whether it’s positive or not. Negative reviews are often more valuable than positive ones because they help you identify issues you hadn’t even thought of. Encourage clients to give more details so that you can prevent the same thing from happening with other customers.

10. Answer more complex issues in a private manner

After you’ve written a short reply online, ask the customer whether you could discuss the issue via email or phone. This will:

Example of Textmagic review answering complex questions in private

What you shouldn’t do when handling negative reviews and feedback

Here are a few examples of how never to handle criticism:

1. Ignore the issue

There’s nothing worse than leaving a negative comment unaddressed. Even if you don’t have an immediate solution to the problem, always offer a reply in which you thank the person for their feedback and assure them you are doing the best you can to fix it.

If the issue is not legitimate, thank them for their input and state your point of view. Never say the client is wrong; simply offer an explanation with counterarguments and even illustrate the validity of your perspective using testimonials from other clients.

2. Get defensive

The most common reaction to negative feedback in business and personal life is defensiveness. Negative input is, above anything else, a gateway for improvement.

Many companies handle criticism poorly and stand to lose both financially and in terms of credibility and reputation. Be open and thankful for any type of feedback; product development often starts with and is fueled by negative reviews.

How to make the most of negative feedback

You can turn an initially negative experience into a positive one by following these simple yet effective rules:

Be inquisitive and find the source of the issue

Ask questions like:

These questions will help you act on feedback only after you’ve understood it. Try to gather feedback from more clients, apart from the ones who expressed negative opinions, and offer an incentive to show their input is valuable to you.

See it as a growth opportunity instead of a problem

Business-wise, the learning aspect of negative feedback is the only thing you should be interested in. Before taking it personally and blowing things out of proportion, try to look at things from your customer’s point of view and go through the following steps:

Never stop collecting feedback for your business

Negative feedback is inevitable and can be very valuable if you don’t take it as a personal attack against your business or yourself. Even the most succesful companies have negative reviews. All you need to be aware of while collecting reviews for your business, is that negative ones may also appear.

When you see the underlying value and growth potential in every negative input, you’ll have the opportunity to turn your critics into your biggest advocates, which will be your biggest win yet. We hope this guide will help you respond to negative reviews effectively in the future.

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