Do you want a successful and thriving business? The best way to achieve this is to maintain a your customer loyalty. Bonus points if your customers champion your products and services without you even asking them to.
Customers who become brand advocates are worth their weight in gold, as their words unleash your revenue stream. To have such customer loyalty, you must provide exceptional customer service, meet their needs, and build trust by providing high quality products and services.
Of course, it is important to attract new customers but keeping them is even more important, and generally this is a harder task. The 80-20 rule, also known as the ‘Pareto Principle’ states that 20 percent of your customers produce 80 percent of your sales. So, you need to keep that 20 percent happy.
Here are 5 fail-proof ways to keep your customers coming back and to build that customer loyalty.
- Provide exceptional customer service
Although this seems like a no-brainer, in today’s busy world, many businesses forget this basic tenet of a successful business. Just look at the bungled mess United Airlines has made of its once-sterling reputation to see this principle in action. Passengers dragged off planes, dogs stuffed into overhead compartments—a PR nightmare!
It’s not rocket science. Provide exceptional customer service, and you have a good advantage over your competitors and build customer loyalty. All customers are looking for is a place where they feel comfortable going to or contacting, a company they have trust and confidence in to meet their needs, but this isn’t easy to achieve.
First of all, give them a variety of ways to contact you about any concerns from email, to phone or online contact forms. Secondly, personalise interactions you have with your customers; make them feel like they are valuable, even if they have only bought a small item. When customers feel like a company cares for them and provides what they want, they’ll keep coming back—and tell their friends too!
- Communicate well and often
Keep in touch with your customers on a frequent basis through channels such as email, text messaging, or even social media. Invite them to like your social media page, but don’t just use it to collect ‘likes’. Take the time and trouble to interact with your customers, and you’ll win their hearts and build customer loyalty.
When you have information that will help them do their work more effectively or help them live a better life, share it! It will not only make them happy you thought of them, but it will also position you as an authority in your field for having such valuable knowledge.
- Remember special occasions
Birthdays and anniversaries of when a customer first purchased a product or service are great opportunities to connect with them and build good relationships. As well as sending greetings and best wishes, send something they can benefit from; discounts on your services or products, promotional products, or even small gifts will all help to win your customers’ loyalty.
Consider giving a little gift or free sample with a purchase. Research shows that waiters who give out mints with the bill increase their tips by three percent. If this thoughtful gesture can increase tips, just think what small gestures might do for loyalty to your brand.
- Start a loyalty program
Beauty salons that use a simple loyalty program for their salon software solutions to both reward and upsell customers on a new product have seen their salon sales increase by 30 percent. You don’t have to be a beauty salon to take advantage of a loyalty program though. Nor do you have to have business management software, although this will help you to track your customers’ purchases more quickly.
If a customer buys, for example, five of the same product, you can reward him or her with a different product—one you think he or she might like. You’ll earn your customers’ loyalty for your generosity, and the customers may like the new product so much that they may become regular consumers of both products.
- Follow up every sale, every contact
Don’t forget about the customer after a sale has been made. Contact them after the purchase to follow up with them and make sure they are happy with their new product or service. Offer information about warranties, guarantees, or your repair process. If they’re unhappy, offer them information about your refund process.
When you plan to hold a sale on a related product or service, be sure to contact these customers. If you offer coupons, send them a coupon or two. Discounts go a long way toward earning your customers’ loyalty.
Follow up on enquiries as well. Even if a potential customer doesn’t buy the first time they encounter your company, don’t give up on them. Stay in touch, and they’ll get to know you better. The better they know you and trust you, the more likely they will be to buy from you in the future.
Think about how you can apply these tips to your business. If you are currently using some of these ideas, review them periodically to make sure they’re working for your business. If not, try some of the other ideas until you find the best combination for your needs.
Above all, make sure that your customer service isn’t just adequate. Make it exceptional—and you’ll find that customers will beat a path to your door.
For more tips on how to succeed through exceptional customer service and other strategies, become a regular reader of Talk Business, a journal devoted to helping entrepreneurs around the world.