5 Tips for Building and Maintaining Customer LoyaltyAssociation of Business Training
June 19, 2013 — 1,426 views
Being able to build and maintain customer loyalty in a brand or product is one of the cornerstones of having a successful business. Studies have shown that happy customers are likely to tell around 3 to 5 of their acquaintances of a good experience, while unhappy customers will share their displeasure with up to 10 people. Customers who have had previously good experiences are likely to come back even if they had a single displeasing episode after. But customers who feel let down on the first interaction are unlikely to do so. Building customer loyalty allows a business a kind of buffer built on trust – allowing the business owner to consider that individual a long-term customer.
Building a Returning Customer Base
A large returning customer base is an essential part of a growing business. It is these customers that will keep your business healthy during troubled financial times. Given the expense of advertising, it is also more economical to have a large returning customer base. Returning or loyal customers are also probably the best advertisement for your organization – with them spreading word of your business and their recommendations to colleagues, family, friends, and acquaintances.
Customer service lies at the center of the entire ideology. Customers feel more valued if they are treated with respect and dignity. Your business will not do as well even if it has an outstanding product, but unhelpful staff. Ensure that your staff is helpful and courteous at all times, even during the most stressful times – as this will be the building block of customer loyalty. Customer service also encompasses after sales service. Most of the big conglomerates lose more than half of their potential returning customer base because of poor after sales service.
Train Employees to Serve Better
Employee training is an often forgotten aspect of running a business. Employees need to be trained on products, procedures, policies, and customer handling within the business. A customer asking a question about a product should never catch them off guard. They are the face before the customer, and not being able to explain any questions that the customer might have at the time can cause customers to lose faith in your business model. Consistency is the name of the game with returning customers – whether it is in the areas of production, customer interaction, personal touch, or cost price.
Generate Product Awareness
A lot of returning customers will generally know exactly what they want when they enter your store. It is the reason they have chosen to come back. New customers will usually be more experimental with their choice of purchase, but if they were to return, they are likely to go for the very same item. Make it a point to generate product awareness about your item list. Make a note of what each customer usually enjoys and steer him in the direction of one of your other creations that fall into that category. From time to time, hand them a free sample of your product to let them experience for themselves exactly what they are missing.
Effective communication is extremely important in nurturing and growing a consumer base. Ensure that you maintain the personal touch with customers and engage them in conversations outside of business from time to time. Building a personal bond with them will not only allow you to gain their trust, but you could also get to know a lot about the competition you face and their drawbacks as well as strengths through the customers.