Loyalty is not easy to get. A customer is testing you out the first time and hoping for a good experience at the end. The second and third times are about comfort. As a customer continues, trust is built. With trust comes loyalty. Here is how companies are Going the extra mile to gain customer loyalty.
Gaining customer loyalty starts with the company. Every right and wrong decision comes from the company.
- Perform an evaluation to get the current state of the business through the eyes of customers and employees. It’s obvious why the customers matter; employees matter because they are the faces customers see first. What they do will have an effect on future growth.
- Role play as the customer to see what he or she sees in your current product/service.
- Remain up to date on market and customer trends and incorporate those ideas into your business.
- Be the first one to extend offers, assistance and concerns to them if something is wrong or as a reminder.
- Be available and be flexible with contact information and customer needs. Allow customers to contact you online and offline 24/7 – or a period very close to that.
- Customer needs change over time and you must change with them to stay relevant and remain in their good graces.
Dedicated, positive employees is what every company wants. Unfortunately, they don’t get that in every employee. They make it hard for customers to come back in the future. First impressions are everything and that first impression comes from employees. Make sure employees understand the value customers bring. Offer refresher courses on customer service, products and services, company policy, behavior and social skills to new and current employees. Tell them to inform the customer of what they need to know not what they want to hear. Mention little things (thank you, I’m sorry, admitting blame, a polite tone and a smile) that go a long way with customer loyalty.
The customers will come in droves if the business and employees are handled. In order to continue the relationship, it’s important to make current customers feel appreciated.
- Reward valued customers. Coupons, member discounts, gift cards and freebees are just a few of those things.
- Listen to them. From customer service and surveys to websites and social media, customers have an opinion. Being offended or ignoring opinions drive customers away. Listening or reading the message is only half of it. You must follow through with correcting the mistake so it doesn’t repeat itself in the future. This has lots of value on current and future customers. Their opinions can also help to create a new product/service.
- Customers talking to a real person instead of an automated service help too. A representative communicating on social media and on the phone in their own words makes customers feel special.
A good business knows that customer loyalty is never taken lightly. It takes hard work, patience and awareness but the benefits outweigh any doubts.