Simple Steps to Enhance Customer Loyalty (Part 2)

Simple Steps to Enhance Customer Loyalty Part Two
They say you can’t please everyone all of the time, but you can please someone some of the time … but in the case of sales and customer service, pleasing people is your job. So why is it so time-consuming, frustrating and difficult to find customers who stick?

Customer loyalty is a difficult topic in itself – given that customers and their experiences are so varied. It adds up to a potential headache for small business owners. But there are ways to make it more understandable and even, dare I say it … better.

Serve first, sell second

Customers are smarter and better informed than ever. They expect business with you to be hassle free and gratifying for them. If you don’t deliver, they’ll find another source.

Don’t forget to listen to the customers rather than talking at them. According to Leadership Mentor Michael Hyatt, we should always remember “Marketing is really just about sharing your passion.” When it comes down to it, the less you worry about the big “sell,” the more your customer will feel a connection. Conversation can begin – more you share your passion the more your customer wants to be involved, wants to buy in, and wants to be a part of it.

Seek out customer complaints

This may seem counterproductive but is truly a great way to build trust and head off any potential catastrophes. After all, bad news travels fast! Generally, only 10 percent of complaints ever get articulated by clients. And over time, complaints turn to resentments and become highly negative. Ask what you/we can do better and customers will appreciate it. communicate regularly with customers, weaving successes into case studies and other content that showcases exactly how their respective companies provides value and solves problems. Focusing on the problems customers are having emphasizes a your expertise in the field.

Stay responsive

Responsiveness is closely tied to the perception of good service and technology has grown expectations of immediate response. Quick response has become more critical. We are in a digital era and are expected to be available quickly – whether the customer has good news or a complaint. Make sure that you have a process in place to hear out the customer, make amends if needed (or accept praise!) and continue the open conversation. It is amazing what a difference just being available can make!

In fact, years of experience tells CEO Tom Cates that “Strong customer relationships drive sales, sustainability, and growth.” And isn’t every relationship full of ups and downs – but also is built upon trust. Get your clients and customers to trust in YOU and trust in your product. They will come back for more.

Simple Steps to Enhance Customer Loyalty (Part 1)

Simple Steps to Enhance Customer Loyalty Part One
There is nothing more emotionally driven in our consumer-laced era than customer loyalty. It is a phenomena based on connectivity, friendship, and trust. And, according to the folks at BeyondPhilosophy.com, it is the result of consistently positive emotional experiences, physical attribute-based satisfaction and perceived value of an experience, which includes the product or services.

What all of this means is that your customers are looking at you (and, in effect, your business) as a friend. You have to prove that you and the customer have a connection, that there is some interaction that builds their trust to you and loyalty to your brand.

So how do we do this? There are some important things to remember about those oh-so-fickle customers:

Know your loyalty stages

Customers become loyal to a brand one step at a time. Understand their stage and move them to the next level. Prospect, first time customer, repeat customer, client, and advocate. Each step is an important part of the process and is a great opportunity to connect with them, learn their business, and anticipate their next need.

Steve Jobs explained it best when he said: “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”

(Remember: 42 percent of Americans will stop shopping with a brand after just two bad experiences – so you can’t mess up, or if you do, be ready to spin the bad experience into a good one! You can keep them on track, but you have to be diligent and aware.)

Practice the 80/20 rule

It is said that roughly 80 percent of revenue is generated by 20 percent of your customers. Monitor those customers to make sure they’re happy.

The fact is, customer engagement is what leads to customer retention. Customers who are engaged are five times more likely to remain loyal to you. Invest in your relationship with the 20 percent of revenue-generating customers and you will have loyalty for sure!

After all, wouldn’t you trust your friends? That is what your truly engaged customers react to – a friendly vibe that makes them want to be a part of your brand. And that is definitely worth your time!