Updated: October 24, 2011
If you want your business to last many years, then it is important to build a steady customer base – a clientele that keeps coming back despite the availability of other product choices in the market.
What this really means is that getting new customers is as important as keeping your old ones happy.
So how do you build customer loyalty?
Below are some tips that could help.
Great Customer Service
I’m not a food connoisseur and I wouldn’t know the difference between medium rare and medium well-done steaks. But what I do know is which restaurants have the friendliest servers and the most helpful managers.
And it goes without saying that providing great customer service will always bring people back to your business. So always try to go the extra mile to meet their needs and pay attention to their concerns so you can better improve your service.
Remember that each customer has unique circumstances and individual needs. If solving their problems will require flexibility on the company’s policies, then do your best to make an exception. It will surely be appreciated and will build customer loyalty in an instant.
I like how my dentist calls me every so often to remind me that I’m due for cleaning. In fact, I like it so much I’ve been a loyal client for more than five years already.
Create a database of your customer’s contact information and communicate with them often. It doesn’t always have to be a sales call, even a small gesture as a birthday or holiday greeting can go a long way in building loyalty.
Moreover, human communication has a more positive effect than automated email responses and recorded messages on customer hotlines. People respond better when they’re talking to a real person and loyalty builds for every good experience they have with your business.
Happy, Knowledgeable Employees
A friend of mine collects comic books and he would always tell me how he would spend hours inside his favorite store talking to the staff about it. It’s interesting because I believe that’s not just customer service – the salespeople in that store are actually comic book fans themselves.
When your customers see that your employees are happy with the work they’re doing – loyalty slowly builds. Take care of your staff. Your loyalty to them will foster mutual respect and they would certainly pass that loyalty on to your customers.
Also, always make sure that your frontline staff are well-trained and competent in dealing with customers. When they’re faced with a hard question or even a difficult client – teach them how they should properly respond and handle the situation.
If budget was not an issue, what mobile phone would you like to own and why? You’ll probably answer one of the latest models out there and give me the list of features you find interesting and useful in it.
Product knowledge is not only for your employees and sales staff, it is also for your consumers. More than simple advertising, it is important that your marketing strategies inform and educate your customers about your products. This will help your brand come on “top of mind” when purchasing decisions arise.
I usually buy my groceries from SM, medicines from Mercury Drug and school supplies from National Bookstore. Why? Because I have their loyalty membership cards.
An incentive program for loyal customers not only helps your business attract repeat sales, but it also builds your database that you can use for market research and direct product promotions.
One reason why I love convenience stores is because no matter what time it is, even if it’s 3 o’clock in the morning, I know I could always go there and buy something to eat.
Your business should be as reliable as convenience stores. It doesn’t mean that you have to be open 24/7 – it means that your business should be accessible and dependable. Make it a habit to communicate and address client concerns in a timely manner and always honor your promises and warranties to your customers.
How about you? What are the reasons why you become loyal to a business?
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Photo credit: artmonstergirl
I love your tips Fitz. Will do that for my ever so young business. ^_^
Thanks for your great advice. I especially like what you said about how product knowledge is not only for your employees and sales staff, it is also for your consumers.
Having only started my business recently, I find that a lot of time is spent on educating my customers about the complex nature of what I do.
I will be going through your previous articles to learn as much as I can.