These days, every customer counts. So why do companies lose them? Between moving away or passing away or switching to a competitor, the excuses are many for why customers jump ship. But the number one reason is the feeling of indifference toward a product or service.
To counter this ambivalence, it’s key to make sure your customers feel and perceive that they’re wanted and want to stay where they’re appreciated. But to make customers love you, you’ll have to work even harder. Here are seven ways to win the devotion that makes for loyal customers:
1. Never assume
You may think you know what customers want. But what if you’re wrong? The main reason many new businesses fail is because they are trying to create demand where there isn’t any, or they’re built around untested or unproven ideas.
Don’t make the same mistake. Test and start small, and build your product, service or value proposition around the wants and needs of your target customer. Not only will you get a better understanding of customer needs, you’ll be able to identify innovative ways to exceed their expectations.
2. Always deliver
To win customers back, you need to deliver on time, every time. If a problem arises, inform your customer right away. Explain how you’re going to deal with it. Then follow up to ensure positive results. You might even create a system to ensure each task gets completed correctly and is always delivered on time.
3. Personalise loyalty programmes
To ensure you have a winning loyalty programme, plan, design and execute it in a systemised way. Show the value of it. An example of a big company that does this on a personalised level is Caesars Entertainment. Caesars knows just how much its top customers are likely to spend at any of its properties, and what types of activities individual customers prefer when they stay. This knowledge allows it to issue customised offers that may be more appealing to Caesars’ best patrons.
4. Train your staff
Use periodic training sessions to help give your team the skills necessary to boost your company’s reputation, trust, empathy, flexibility and verbal communication proficiency. Each customer contact with your team is an opportunity to build your reputation -— or destroy it.
5. Say “Thank You”
This simple strategy can really make an impact and says a lot about your company and the value you place on customers.
6. Stay connected
Every customer should receive an off-line ‘touch’ at least once per quarter and, with an email or e-newsletter, even more often. Over time, you can develop a relationship with your customers, especially if your ‘touches’ are designed to add value to their experience with you, rather than just as a mechanism for pushing products or services.
7. Play favourites
New customers are critical to growth, but you must ensure that current or long-standing customers get VIP treatment as well. Offer exclusive loyalty programmes, deals or specials geared specifically to your best and most loyal customers.