We don’t have to explain why building customer loyalty is so crucial to success in any business. When you have loyal customers, you don’t need a lot of promos and discounts to attract repeat business – your customers will buy your goods and services, regardless. And they can even be your own marketers to attract new customers, as they will also recommend your goods and services to their circle of friends.
The more important question we need to answer here is: how do you build customer loyalty?
There’s no single method to do it. Your strategy must contain several distinct elements which include:
- Excellent customer service. In 2011, a survey discovered that 71% of customers cited a poor customer service experience as their reason for not complementing a business. On the other hand, superb customer service can even compensate for defective products and services.
This means two things: (1) your customer service people should be polite and friendly, and (2) they need to possess the necessary knowledge to help your customers. You also need to make it easy for your customers to contact your support hotline.
- Effective means of broadcasting your goods and services. Make a profile of your typical customer and then tailor your advertising accordingly. Use the Internet as well, and send out emails and newsletters. Emails and other forms of communication should be personalised, so set up a database with current info about your customers.
- Honesty and transparency. Customers who have been disappointed or who feel they’ve been tricked are those customers who will never come back. So in your advertising and promotions, make sure you deliver. Honor your warranties and guarantees. And don’t try to sneak in additional fees and charges.
- Cater to changing needs of customers. Customers don’t want the same things over and over again. Sometimes they want something new, and as a business owner it is part of your job to know what they want. You can even ask for suggestions from your customers.
So for example, if you are selling handbags, then perhaps you can sell the latest trends and designs, and at the same time offer accessories that go hand in hand with bags, such as scarves.
- Attractive and convenient payment options. One particular home caterer and wedding planner offers monthly installments to their clients instead of insisting on one-time payments. The smaller monthly payments makes it easier for their customers.
- Build loyalty through loyalty. Find the movers and shakers among your customers, and win their loyalty. For example, one shop catering to horse riders offers lots of items that riders don’t usually buy, but are needed by riding instructors and stable owners. So when the instructors and stable owners became loyal to the shop, their riders followed suit.
Be knowledgeable and honest, and go out of your way to help your customers. In other words, be a good friend to your customers, and they’ll be loyal to you. In business, you need all the friends you can get.