Building Customer Loyalty On The Web

How do you build customer loyalty on the web?

How do you get customers to come back to your site time and time again even when you make mistakes?

How do you get them to tell their friends about you?

By dedicating your business to customer satisfaction.

The most successful businesses are the ones that are focused on caring about the customer experience.

My own personal example of outstanding customer service on the web is Zappos.

Zappos shoes was not the first company to sell shoes on the web but one of the reasons they dominated the online shoes industry was because of their high standards of customer satisfaction.

Zappos made sure that everyone that came to their online store was satisfied.  They did that by offering  free shipping, free returns and fast delivery.

That was truly a customer focused move and it wasn’t long after that the other online shoe stores began to follow suit.

I know I was satisfied the first time I bought my shoes from Zappos and I still buy from Zappos today.  I get my shoes in record time, they take my returns no matter what and they always want to know what I think and they respond to all my comments and concerns.

Consequently, they are the one shoe store that I think of before all others.

That’s why today Zappos is one of the most popular and most highly sought after online shoes stores.  They’ve built a solid brand in customer satisfaction.

I hope it’s becoming obvious that a strong focus on customer satisfaction and creating a positive customer experience is what building customer loyalty on the web is all about.

See also these Tips for Better Customer Service – Internet Style


But how do you get started building customer loyalty?

– Keep the customer in the forefront of everything you do. Zone in on what you think would please a customer.  Think about a great customer experience you’ve had  yourself and what made it a great experience.   Consider how you could apply that same ideology to your business.

Ask your customers for feedback. An important part of providing a positive customer experience is knowing what your customers like or don’t like about their experience with you as a business.  Unless you know that you can’t improve your business or be innovative.

Use  to conduct customer surveys.  This is a free service that won’t take but a few minutes to put together a ten question survey that your visitors and customers can complete.

Ask customers about their checkout experience, what their shopping experience was like or if they had any problems using your site.

If possible offer an incentive to your customers for completing the survey.   If online surveys isn’t an option you can also ask for feedback by email or by phone.

Believe it or not, customers will be impressed by your efforts in trying to improve their customer experience.  Even if they don’t respond, they’ll respect the fact that’s it’s important to you and your business.

– Offer incentives. Give visitors and customers a reason to return to your business.  Conduct fun contests.  Offer buyer discounts and periodically conduct free give away’s.

– Exceed customer expectations. For example, if you guarantee a 4-6  day delivery on product shipments, try delivering the product in 3 days.  Customers are always impressed when you can exceed their expectations in some way.

– Have the ‘customer is always right’ attitude. We all know that customers are not always right, but it’s your job to make them feel they are right.

Always work with your customers if there’s a problem.  Let them know that they are important to you by working with them to resolve their problem to their satisfaction.   Putting your best foot forward as a merchant goes a long way in building customer loyalty.

Believe it or not, customers will be impressed by your efforts to improve your customer experience, even if they don’t respond, they’ll respect the fact that’s it’s important to your business.


Your Take Away

Building a great company means creating a brand, a product and providing excellent service that customers will appreciate and love.

It should always be high on your list when it comes to building customer loyalty, on the web or in any business.

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  1. Linda Stacy says:

    I’ve always been extremely loyal, and willing to pay a couple extra bucks when I get great customer service. And I can hold a grudge for many years when poor customer service turns me away. :) I think small home businesses can really thrive by providing personalized service and customer support. It’s what many of us miss when we’re surrounded by big box stores, and I think it’s small business’s competitive edge when we can’t compete on price.

    I’ve often wanted to conduct a survey of my advertising clients, but hesitated because I didn’t think I’d get much response. I’ll rethink it now, especially because you suggest that just asking provides some level of benefit.

    • Ms. Liz says:

      Hi Linda, surveys are a great tool. I’ve found also that if you can offer something in return, it helps, for example offer a free guide or something that your readers would get excited about. Also make your survey’s simple. Don’t ask any more than ten questions and use multiple choice as much as you can. One or two essay questions are OK but you have to keep it simple or they’re lose interest.

      Thanks Linda for your feedback :-)

  2. Great advice Liz!

    BTW, even though I’ve heard of Zappos, I really had no idea what type of reputation
    that had built online.

    And from what you’r sharing in your extremely well written post, they continuously offer outstanding customer service!

    And we both know how extremely important that particular aspect of any business is, but especially online!

    It definitely makes sense to model Zappos customer service approach to running an online business! Thanks!
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