Building & Maintaining Customer Loyalty

We all know how difficult it is to build your digital customer base, especially with increased international competition and aggressive marketing and sales campaigns. Equally important is maintaining business to ensure continued success with established customers. A successful company typically sees 80 percent of its business come from 20 percent of its customers. The fact that the cost of attracting new customers is significantly more than that of maintaining a relationship with existing ones, and you have a powerful incentive to keep that core group of customers satisfied. Following these simple steps will ensure that you retain custom through brand loyalty.

1. Generate Great Relationships

It seems obvious, but keeping your customers happy is vital to the success of any business. Providing great products or services is essential, but so is relationship building. This means, at base level, ensuring you and your staff are pleasant to deal with, reply promptly to requests, actively enquire as to how you can help and deliver on promises. Most customers are understanding when it comes to delays as long as they are kept in the loop and constant communication is now expected.

2. Keep In Touch

There are now so many ways to communicate directly with your customers that by not doing so you are neglecting a simple channel to customer loyalty. Whether it’s an email newsletter, engaging through social media or simply calling or emailing once a month, set up a system for reaching out to the customers you already have. Dedicate time to creating and maintaining a database of contact information, including phone, email, and snail mail addresses. If there’s a social media element to your business, invite people to your page or website and keep that online element fresh.

3. Reward Loyalty

Good customer service means going the extra mile to meet customer needs. Often businesses are too focussed on rewarding new customers, when the real trick is to reward your existing customers for their continued business. Loyalty schemes and points, discounts to existing customers, gift cards, advance notice of sales and promotional offers are just some examples of how you can provide regular benefits to loyal customers. Coordinate your incentive program with your marketing efforts and make sure the incentive is appropriate for your target audience. You can use the incentive program to boost business during slow seasons and to promote new products.

4. Deal With Issues Immediately

Pay attention to customer concerns and complaints. By letting you know when they’re dissatisfied, your customers are providing an opportunity to resolve their issue and to improve your service. Make sure that there’s a clear and accessible way for customers to communicate with you, whether it’s in person, by phone, or by email, and that you have someone assigned to customer service on an ongoing basis. Remember to maintain an upbeat and positive attitude toward your customers; the reputation of your business is at stake. Your company’s reputation is closely related to the reliability of your products and service. The more reliable these are, the more likely your company is to have a favorable reputation.

5. Build Employee Loyalty

Loyalty starts at the top and works its way throughout the company. If you’re competent, you’ll earn your employees’ respect. If you have integrity in all of your dealings, your employees will be proud to work for and with you. If you’re consistent in your decisions and actions and display a willingness to protect your employees, you’ll earn their trust. All of these qualities will build your employees’ loyalty to you and the business. And if you’re loyal to your employees, they’ll feel good about their jobs and pass that loyalty along to your customers.

6. Get Your Customer’s Opinions

There is no better way to asses your product or service than to ask your customers. They are already engaging with your brand, have chosen you over competitors and will have ready feedback on what they think is working or not. Provide feedback forms on your site, conduct customer surveys, ask questions on your social media platforms. Whatever their opinions, ensure they are accepted, thanked and addressed. Very quickly you’ll establish what is working and what needs to be worked on. Including your employees in this process enables them to quickly identify the problems and assist in resolving the issues.

7. Be Available

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find a way to communicate with a supplier. By not providing access to a company employee, you’re creating a barrier between your company and your customer. Email and online forms are certainly useful at times, but more often than not a customer wants the reassurance of being able to talk to a human. Technology is not always the answer!

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