One of the oldest sayings in the business world is that it is much easier to retain a loyal customer than to obtain a new one. This has led many a businessperson to observing the customer pool from a narrow perspective, where the only thing that counts is getting more new customers. However, although there is nothing wrong with the first claim, someone forgot to add that it’s much more important to have customers coming back to you than to win over new ones that will move on to your competition the very next time.
Now that you’ve understood how imperative customer loyalty is, here are some basic pointers aimed at helping you retain your customers.
Show them who you really are
If you want to keep the customers over the long term, you can’t make your relationship strictly transactional: they give you the money, you give them the product. Allow them to get to know the company’s character, as it is your brand’s personality and the first things your customers think about when they think about your business.
Get to know them
This is a reciprocal relationship. No one is saying that you need to go to family lunches with your customers, but you should do some market research about their needs and preferences, and find out what exactly they want from your business, and what they think about your product.
Stand for something
Standing for something is just another proof of your company’s character, and it can significantly contribute to retaining customers. In fact, a survey done by the Corporate Executive Board found that of those consumers who said they had a strong relationship with some brand, more than 60 percent cited shared values as the primary reason.
Deliver on your promises
A promise delivered will not only make the customers come back to you, but it will also generate good word of mouth, which is still the most efficient form of marketing, especially in small local communities. If you come into a situation when you simply cannot deliver your promise, at least try to get the most of it and give your customers a sincere apology joined with a gift, discount or free product/shipment.
Communicate with them
Good communication with the customers is the basis of your business’s success. This includes answering the telephone, e-mails and messages, as well as scheduling appointments, communicating on social media, and having face-to-face conversations.
It’s imperative to constantly work on improving your employees’ communication skills. You can also consult experts from Office HQ who can give you advice on how to improve your communication skills and retain loyal customers.
Dealing with all of these communication channels can soon become overwhelming and unproductive unless you make it a point to utilize the modern-day tools that Nextiva VoIP phone system can provide you with. Essentially, this particular communication system effectively implements all sorts of smart features that allow your employees to promptly and swiftly meet your customer demands, from live chats and video calls to regular phone calls; all without the hassle of cables and phone numbers.
That said, you can transform your customer communication in both your and customer’s favor with just one tool for a rather reasonable price. It’s a win-win situation.
Stay in touch
Your customers have a life of their own, and it’s very easy for them to forget about your business and thus miss out some great offers. Make sure you prevent that from happening by sending e-mails with important information about your company, contests, loyalty programs, new products, upcoming events, etc. Also, you can use e-mails to celebrate their special achievements (e.g. send them a birthday card or a gift for being subscribed to your newsletter for a year).
Your loyal customers deserve so much more than to be just passive observers and stand aside while you make changes in your product line or the way you’re doing business. Encourage them to participate in making decisions by asking them for their opinion. This way, they will feel they matter and keep returning to the company that actually cares about what they think.
Solve their problems
There are three different ways you can solve your customers’ problems. First, if a product isn’t working properly, you can immediately replace it or fix it. Second, your product itself is designed to solve a problem. And, finally, your expert advice can help them in the area of your business. These tips can be given in person or, even better, on your company’s blog.
Loyalty is an appreciated quality and it should, by all means, be rewarded. However, you need to make sure the loyalty program provides genuine and unique rewards. You will not give the same reward to the first-time shopper and someone who’s been there for your business for years.
Finally, never shy away from the opportunity to thank your customers for their loyalty. Train your employees to extend sincere gratitude for every business transaction, and you will create a foundation for your business to thrive.