The key to building customer loyalty

By Adam Blanch

Customer loyalty is the holy grail of business. A repeat customer saves business significant money on customer acquisition and service costs as well as being a powerful brand ambassador. Building customer loyalty simply comes down to service and rewards.

Service

  • Build trust through caring: Customers care about their needs, and so should your staff. Making sure that your staff are genuinely there to 'serve', rather than 'sell', is the first step to making the customer feel safe and valued.
  • Deliver on your promises: Be fast, reliable, honest and fair. Customers will even pay a few extra dollars if they feel they are getting quality, value and good care.
  • Communicate: If there is a problem, let the customer know what it is and how soon you can solve it. If they have to chase you, they might as well chase down someone better than you.
  • Support: If you want customer loyalty, the transaction doesn't end with the sale. Support your products and services and then go the extra mile. A simple follow-up call from the salesperson will create an impression not soon forgotten.

Rewards

Today's customers are drowning in loyalty cards, discounts, deals, newsletters and special offers. Frankly, most people don't need another toaster, and having to dig around for a card every time you buy a coffee isn’t worth the freebie. Customer loyalty should be rewarded, but it shouldn't require any extra effort from the customer.

If it's a coffee, just drop a free one on them every now and then with a thank you for their repeat business. If it's retail then offer them a 10 per cent discount and ask for their name with each sale. For big-ticket items, give them an automatic discount on their next purchase. If online, surprise them on their repeat purchase with free shipping or added value of some type.

People will remember an unexpected bonus long after they've forgotten a discounted price. What you do to win their business will be quickly forgotten, but what you do when you no longer have to can create extraordinary loyalty. Always go the extra mile and they will too.

Remember a repeat customer saves you dollars, so why not have a think about ways you can spend a little of your savings to show them that you really care?

 

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