Nine (9) ways to build customer loyalty.
Selling a product or service to new customers is the way companies build their business. An even better road to success is to have your customers buy from you again…and again. Building customer loyalty ensures that your business will thrive long-term. So, how do you keep customers coming back?
We offer 9 practical tips for building customer loyalty.
1). Plant the seeds right away.
Customer loyalty starts in the pre-sales process. Make sure you follow up. You have to put the seeds in the ground right away, so the roots can begin to form. “Effective follow-up also continues immediately after the sale, when you call the customer to say ‘thank you’ and find out if he or she is pleased with your product or service,” according to an Entrepreneur article.
2). Be a good communicator.
Communication is the key to any good relationship, whether in business or your personal life. You must keep in regular contact with your customers in order to stay top-of-mind, whether it’s through a newsletter, phone calls, social media, or some other forum. “Dedicate time to creating and maintaining a database of contact information; include phone, email, and snail mail addresses. If there’s a social media element to your business keep that online element fresh.
Remember that every communication doesn’t have to be about “selling” something. In fact, it is more powerful to provide useful information that customers can use to improve their business, products, or services.
3). Be a customer service rock star.
People who build successful business are obsessive about providing great customer service. Always be professional and go out of your way to create a positive customer experience, from the first greeting through the final sale and beyond. Look at customer complaints as a way to improve your game. According to the media site All Business, “By letting you know when they’re NOT satisfied; your customers give you an opportunity to resolve their issue and to improve your service.”
4). Create customer incentives.
Give your customers a reason to come back. A customer rewards program is a very popular way to create incentives. By signing up, they can earn points, with each purchase getting them closer to another reward. Rewards can include: discounts, rebates, free additional services when they make a purchase, gift cards, and more. Simplicity is very important in the creation of any rewards program.
5). Make sure customers know how much you do for them.
Chances are you do a lot more for your customers than they realize or notice. It’s important that you point out exactly what you bring to the table in the relationship. Explain what you do for your customers, whether it’s handling a shipment, making improvements in their IT service, or creating a new product that will make their jobs easier or more efficient.
6). A personal touch goes a long way.
Emails, texts, and other forms of instant communications are convenient, but they can also be impersonal and distant. Pick up the phone and have an actual conversation every so often. Check in to see if they have any needs that you can handle. If you keep getting sent to voicemail, leave a message asking when you can schedule a time to talk.
Handwritten notes are very effective, too. Just a brief paragraph that proves you haven’t forgotten about your customers goes a long way. If you run into a customer in passing or at an event, it’s also a good idea to send a note afterward. Not only will the customer remember that you reached out, it’s also a good way to keep your name and company top-of-mind.
7). Send birthday and holiday greetings.
Part of a good customer relationship is showing that you care. Be sure to acknowledge special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, “Use your creativity to come up with interesting gift ideas that tie into your business, the customer’s business or a recent purchase.”
8). Become a trusted resource.
A good customer relationship is not just about the sale. One way to keep customers coming back for repeat sales is to be helpful in all facets of their business. If you read an article, see a new book, or hear about an organization that a customer might be interested in, drop a note and let them know.
9). Treat employees right, too.
Your employees are the key to building customer loyalty. If they don’t do a good job, you lose the sale – and perhaps the customer for life. You want to build a team of loyal employees who strive to provide the best customer service. The way you conduct yourself, and how you treat employees, will ultimately affect how they do their jobs. “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,” according to the media site All Business.
Building customer loyalty takes time and effort, but the results can mean more success for your business. Follow these 9 tips so you can inspire customers to come back again and again.
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