Attracting new clientele to generate a broader customer base is an indisputable focus for a business, whether well-established or newly founded. Equally essential is client retention: Earning and keeping customer loyalty. Many businesses can initially generate a considerable volume of new customers, but if these customers are not part of a positive experience, they are liable to take their business – and opinions – elsewhere. Thus customer loyalty is a fundamental and necessary investment well worth the effort. Are you investing in customer loyalty?
Delivering the Goods
As a customer, we always expect services to be delivered on time and expect our needs to be satisfied. Furthermore, as customers, we are consistently pleased when products are delivered that exceed expectations and surpass our needs. To under promise and over deliver is a dynamic, rewarding practice that reflects active interest in your customers' welfare and provides a positive impression that generates customer loyalty. Make sure that your promises match customer expectations, and work to exceed those expectations to encourage a customer's repeat loyalty. Relying on brand image alone and generic solutions without analysis of how you are performing in the customers' eyes can lead to damaging results.
While it may seem marketable, the goal in generating customer loyalty is not solely to overpromise on your ability to deliver. Honesty with all customers is a good policy to keep; it's a good, educative practice to let a customer know when and why a service wouldn't be in their best interest, even if it means a reduction in commission. Applying honesty as a consultative selling technique speaks volumes to your client, informing them you're not only working for best, customized solution possible, but for their trust and loyalty as well.
Sincerity and Appreciating Your Customers
Great customer service is very much akin to showing customer appreciation. Your customers want to know that they not only are visible to you, but that they matter in your spectrum. Customers, as humans, need to feel appreciated. We need to know our choices are valid, and that time and money have been well spent. Your services or products may have been impeccable, but showing appreciation, and being genuine about it, can create and cement customer loyalty.
- Thank your customers for their business; a simple, attentive thank you can go a long way.
- Personalize your service. Be honest about your capabilities, but don't let those capabilities limit you. Become aware of and recognize an opportunity, even if it involves a little creative elbow grease.
- Reward their loyalty. When applicable and appropriate, reward customer loyalty with incentive to not only return to your business, but possibly refer additional prospects in your direction. Sometimes this includes reciprocating your loyalty to a long standing client, or sending communication when you're not necessarily making money from it.
Good Customer Service as the Key
An obvious, though sometimes neglected, facet of gaining and retaining customer loyalty lies within the customer service relationship. Substandard customer service fuels a negative experience and the likelihood your client will search out other offerings. Go beyond just meeting your customer's needs and concerns by anticipating and predicating what customers will require next. As a general guide, the less effort your customer makes and more effort you apply, the happier they are, creating a cyclical effect for gaining their customer loyalty. In the unfortunate instance of complaint, mistake, or difficult situation, go above and beyond to rectify the occurrence. Use a bit of transparency when communicating what went wrong and dedicate yourself to going as far as possible to amend the situation with a satisfactory resolution: Under promise and over deliver! Will your customer forget when things went wrong? No, but they'll certainly be more inclined to share how well you remedied the situation and give you customer loyalty in return.