Businesses crave customer loyalty as it brings consumers back to use their products or services again and again. Customer retention is a big deal across all industries with groups as divergent as J.D. Power & Associates, the U.S. Commerce Department and the Business Network International seeking to analyze it. Understanding the psychology of loyal customers can mean greater profits too, as less funds will be spent on advertising while more money can be diverted to the bottom line. Here are a few suggestions to incite this essential trait in your business clients.
Do your customers like what you have to offer? You can know this by asking for their feedback. Feedback comes in a number of ways — through online surveys, by making phone calls and through face to face interaction.
[showmyads]However, getting feedback is meaningless unless you are able to correctly interpret the results. This means understanding how your customers perceive your products and services, and taking the steps necessary to ensure their satisfaction. This also means handling specific problems identified by a customer such as a product that may not be working as expected or a service that falls short. Respond directly to this customer and take the steps necessary to amend your shortcomings going forward.
If you want customer loyalty, the words “thank you” should be on your lips. Customers know when staff is eager to see them go. They also know when staff is eager for their business. Imbue an “attitude of gratitude” for your team and make sure your customers know it.
You can engender customer loyalty and motivation by rewarding those that patronize your business. For instance, Panera Bread offers a loyalty card that tracks purchases and awards customers based on usage. But, they go beyond that too by offering customers a free bagel or a danish on a periodic basis regardless of purchase history. Customers understand that Panera Bread is thinking about them, something you want to show yourself by giving thanks or rewards in a variety of special ways.
Sophisticated computer algorithms and data harvesting have made it possible for businesses to track customer interaction accurately. This can be particularly effective for any business where customer interaction is too hard to quantify on a personal basis.
Know precisely when customers set foot in your store and what they buy. Follow up these visits with mailings to the home or email messages with special offers and discounts. Build a symbiotic relationship with your customers, going beyond a mere service or product provider to an ally.
The Personal Touch
While data mining can and should be used to assemble information about your customers including their visits, purchases and other behaviors, such information assemblage is no substitute for reaching out directly to your customers. Even the biggest business can maintain a personal touch, by assigning concierges to their customers. For instance, if you sell luxury automobiles, you will want an individual to maintain contact with this customer. This person can send out maintenance reminder notices and alert customers to recalls and new products. While you may never be on a first name basis with your customers, you can become an instantly recognizable name and a positive force for good in engendering customer loyalty.
Take care that you do not assault your customers with impersonal messages or rely on automated messages to stay in touch. You can use social networks to encourage customer retention and monitor customer feedback too. Set up social media alerts and respond to problems quickly and effectively.
Building Customer Loyalty
By fostering a strong relationship with your customers, you can concentrate on maintaining business instead of spending valuable dollars on winning new customers. Never take for granted that your customers will return nor ignore problems as small as they may seem. Customer loyalty means retaining what you have by eliciting feedback, giving thanks, tracking customer behavior and through maintaining a personal touch.