How to Build Customer Loyalty
It may seem obvious, but customer care in business cannot be understated. Read our guide and ensure you get repeat custom
Whether it’s a product or a service, the cornerstone of any successful business is building a strong customer base – but even more important is keeping the ones you already have. They spend more and more often and act as an effective marketing tool to promote your business to others by word of mouth.
Read on to learn how to establish who your most valuable customers are, how to provide good customer care and how to turn valuable customers into loyal ones…
Where should I start when building a customer care strategy?
If you want to maintain your customer base you must focus on giving your most valued customers the best value of customer care at the heart of your business. Create a database of customer buying habits to help you tailor your customer service to their wants and needs, and delineate more resources to more profitable customers and vice versa.
You should also ensure all your employees provide the same standard of customer care across your business by meeting certain standards of assistance and courtesy – and give them direct access to customer information so they can alter their service accordingly.
Customers should also have a clear and positive idea of your business values and the service you provide.
How can I improve my communication with customers?
Ensuring you maintain regular communication with your customers is vital to encourage them to continue buying and providing you with the necessary information to continue providing quality care.
There are number of simple ways to do this:
- Create a newsletter or e-newsletter
- Contact them requesting feedback
- Contact them with regular news and offers by email and letter
- Send them information tailored to their interests
- Group your customers into categories such as potential customers, purchasing customers and premium customers
- Send seasonal or occasional greetings
How can I make my customers’ lives easier?
Making it quick and easy for your customers to get in contact with you will reward you with a good reputation and generate more business.
To do this you should find out what common inconveniences customers have when dealing with your business and work to combat these such as the motor industry ensuring there are high numbers of spare tires available. Making sure you provide the highest possible quality of service in key areas such as the timing of deliveries will ensure customers are satisfied.
But don’t just meet expectations – go above and beyond by delivering earlier than your established delivery time or adding personal touches to your service.
It should be obvious to your customers how to get in contact with you. Ensure a Freephone contact number or email address is easy to find and build a website that’s easy to navigate.
How can I better personalise my customer care?
Your business and employees should have a human face so they feel valued. An impersonal service may make them go elsewhere.
To ensure this doesn’t happen you should:
- Personalise communication by using customers’ names and details
- Ensure your employees have personalised email addresses or name tags
- Assign every customer a named account manager
- Make sure customers can always deal with a human
How can I entertain my customers?
If you have a number of returning high-value customers it can be useful to extend your relationship beyond one that is purely transactional. Entertaining them can create a more intimate and personal relationship, generating more business and stronger loyalty.
You could indulge their interests by playing a sport such as golf with them or host low-key lunches or drinks to find out useful information in an informal setting. Larger dinner events with entertainment are useful for showcasing your achievements and networking opportunities.
How can I reward my customers?
By rewarding customers for their patronage and loyalty you can ensure this loyalty is maintained over a longer period. The easiest way to do this is with loyalty schemes, which more than pay for themselves if successful.
Three effective ways to reward your customers are:
- Provide a cumulative discount which gives money back to customers when they hit certain spending targets
- Provide a discount on next purchases with coupons
- Offer to donate a percentage of their spend to charity
How can I train my employees to provide quality customer care?
You shouldn’t just expect your customers to provide good quality care as a matter of course, you should actively train them in a company-wide standard provision of care.
Any employee who interacts directly with customers should be trained to listen rather than instructing or controlling the customer. Likewise they should be trained to communicate in an eloquent and professional manner over the phone and in person.
One of the most important aspects of customer care is dealing with complaints. Employees should be trained to listen carefully and patiently to customer complaints; apologising for any grievances caused, and to embark upon a mutually agreed course of action. This will limit damage to your business caused by mistakes and even boost your reputation.
How can I use technology to provide better customer care?
Technology is one of your greatest assets when providing quality customer care provided you know how to optimise it.
You should create a watertight database of customer information to organise and aid your contact with customers. Ensure it is kept up to date with information from your website and can easily be accessed by everyone who needs it.
Contact management software can help to train you employees to both store and make use of information, while requiring registration from your customers can generate information that can be used to better monitor and understand your customers.
Finally, analysis software can tell you what sections of your website are most popular, helping you to prioritise sections and improve unpopular ones.
How can I best deal with customer feedback?
Don’t be afraid of customer feedback – if used properly it can help improve your quality of service.
- Ask to hear concerns so you can rectify grievances before they become complaints
- Request suggestions for improvement to mark yourself out from competition
- Create a hotline to help customers reach you with ease
- Create an email response forum for your website
- Use customer satisfaction surveys and offer incentives to respondents
- Assign a skilled employee to contact lapsed customers
- Keep a record of feedback and carry out periodic reviews to help you target common occurences