· Misc

Wanted – Loyal Customer base

To have a successful business – you need customers. One of the keys to maintaining a thriving business is a steady customer base. A successful company typically sees 80 percent of its business come from 20 percent of its customers. Add to this the fact that the cost of attracting new customers is significantly more than that of maintaining a relationship with existing ones, and you have a powerful incentive to keep that core group of customers happy. If your business’s goal is to stay around and make money, then any efforts toward building customer loyalty will certainly pay off. Following are 5 tips to increase and maintain greater customer loyalty.

1. Strive to build communication with customers

Whether it is an email newsletter, a monthly flyer, a reminder card for a dental cleaning or even a special event greeting card, set up a system for reaching out to the customers that you already have. Dedicate time and effort to creating a database of contact information and even personal information on each contact – birthday, anniversary. Use social media to keep your business fresh, invite customers to like your page or website. All messages do not have to be advertising – some can be useful information or even information about the community. Any and all communication will prove to be helpful in the long run.
Make sure that you clearly communicate to customers how they can get a real person to help them. In today’s age of technology, the frustration of not being able to reach a real human being is a universal experience. All of us have experienced poking numbers on our phones as we try to reach someone only to get lost in the answering system. The harder it is for a customer to reach a real person when they have an issue, the less likely you will see that customer again.

2. Provide great customer service

Legendary customer service means always striving to go the extra mile to meet the customer’s needs. People will remember when they are treated well, and consistently positive experiences will result in repeat business. Pay attention to customer concerns and complaints. Statistics show that only 4 people out of 100 will actually complain to someone that can help them, so look at complaints as opportunities to make your business better. How many people have walked out your door and not told you what was wrong, and why they are never coming back.

Remember that each customer is an individual with unique circumstances and needs. Do everything within reason to solve customer problems or complaints. Ensure your policies have some room for grey space. Not everything should be black and white when dealing with people. Don’t judge a situation before you have had a chance to see things from the guests’ perspective – practice empathy.

Make sure there is a clear, reliable and easily accessible way for the customers to communicate with you.  This could be in person, on the phone, by email and even through social media. It is important to respond positively and quickly to all comments. Remember this is your business’s reputation on the line.

Be aware of Social Media reviews.  Have a dedicated person in your company answer all of these reviews as quickly as possible. Ensure that you are not using form letters, rather treating each review as uniquely as the person that wrote it. Acknowledge good reviews and thank the customer that wrote it.

3. Build employee loyalty

Loyalty starts at the top and builds its way down throughout a company. If you are competent you will earn your employees respect. If you are consistent in all of your decisions and actions and display a willingness to protect your employees you will earn their trust. If you have integrity in all dealings, your employees will be proud to work for you.   If you are loyal to your employees, they’ll feel good about their jobs and pass that loyalty on to your customers. 

Customers, especially returning customers notice employee turnover and it can count against you when they are deciding where to spend their money.
 
4. Take the time to train your employees thoroughly

Your employees are the face of your company, and training can empower them to help your company prosper. Training should be a positive experience, and something that happens continually, not just once when they are hired.  Make sure that your staff understands everything they can about your products and services, they should be the experts on what they are selling.

5. Don’t give your word lightly – be reliable.

Your company’s reputation is closely related to the reliability of your products and service. The more reliable these are, the more likely you will have a favorable reputation. Stay true to your word. If you say a purchase will arrive on Wednesday by 3pm, make it happen. Be reliable, communicate clearly, honor your promises and warranties, and be considerate of your customers time and concerns. If something goes wrong, let customers know immediately and compensate them for the inconvenience.

Alethea Porter

Signature Canada is a leader in training employees to deliver legendary customer service while increasing sales. Since 1986, Signature’s unique training methodology has provided a measurable ROI for our customers, compelling them to return year after year. We offer Canadian companies, personalized, sustainable and measurable business and training solutions which contribute to optimize income by developing sales and service skills dedicated to create memorable experiences.