It costs considerably less to hold onto an existing customer than to acquire a brand new one. But just how do you do it? By taking steps to encourage more customer loyalty. Here are six ways to get started.
1) Default To “Yes” Instead Of “No”
In the today’s world of customer service, we’ve all experienced how disappointing it can be to talk to a representative who seems powerless to help you (“Computer says no!”) Strive to avoid passing that feeling onto your own customers. Make it a point to do everything in your power to tell your customers “yes” instead of “no” when they have a problem or a question for your organization. A business that’s ready to say yes is one that’s going to enjoy great customer loyalty.
2) Always Be Helpful
In an increasingly automated world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of considering customers in terms of transactions instead of people. Never lose sight of the fact that every person you do business with is an individual who is looking for help. If you deliver that help, you’ll go beyond being just another company and start to form an emotional bond with your customer. That emotional link is the foundation of customer loyalty.
3) Promises Have Power
“Always under promise and over deliver” has been good customer service advice for generations. Because there are fewer and fewer businesses holding true to this principle today, you get even more mileage out of holding your own organization to it. Keep a realistic image of your capabilities and don’t create a false set of expectations for your customers. When you’re able to over-deliver on your promises rather than fail to live up to them, you’ll cultivate long-term customers who will come back to you again and again.
4) Don’t Be Afraid To Get Personal
Ultimately, it’s very difficult to cultivate customer loyalty if your customers don’t find you likable. The creation of a real, mutually-beneficial relationship is what gets customers to commit to a brand. Whenever possible, get to know your customers on a personal level. Try to foster ongoing relationships between specific clients and specific members of your customer service team. When pursued, a policy like this will result in a strong rapport with your customers. Additionally, personal relationships with your customers will yield valuable intelligence about how to improve your services and when to offer follow-up opportunities.
5) Communication Is Critical
Establish scheduled ongoing programs for reaching out to inform your existing customers. These programs can take many forms: examples include monthly mailers, email newsletters, service reminder cards, or holiday greeting cards. Put the resources in place for maintaining an extensive customer contact database; make it a goal to collect phone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses for all your customers. If you’re operating a social media presence, make sure you remind customers to stop by and check out your content.
6) Make Sure Everyone Prioritizes Customer Loyalty
Fostering customer loyalty should be the top priority for every member of your team. When you really invest in customer retention and building customer loyalty, you’ll have a strong base of reliable, repeat business that will continue far into the future.
About the Author
Ian Miller is Editor of Customer Service Manager Magazine – the leading resource and community for customer service professionals.