Are you busy brainstorming ways to increase your customer loyalty and satisfaction? Maybe your business runs promotions to get new customers or clients, only to face complaints from those who have been doing business with you from the very beginning – and now are missing out.
It can be so easy when we are so preoccupied with reaching new people and gaining new customers, that we forget to reward our regulars – and forget that they can send us new business too. Here are 5 steps to building a base of very loyal clients.
1. Ask Your Customers Why They Love You
Unfortunately you will usually receive most feedback in the form of complaints rather than gushing compliments.
This is because when a customer does business with you, they are expecting to receive the service they paid for. When you deliver on this and more, you have simply done the job as promised.
It is when you have failed on this basic requirement that you will meet your most vocal customers – and receive customer complaints.
Of course it is essential to know what you are doing wrong and take steps to change this: but it is also essential you know what you are doing right.
Knowing why customers love you and return will mean you can focus more effort into improving those services and “wow-ing” them even more.
You can find this out by conducting a phone survey, an email survey, or printing a feedback form for the counter at work.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure there is an incentive for your customers to fill it in – a discount or reward of some kind – so that you get a high response rate.
2. Hire Great Staff
You cannot put a price on effective, personable and reliable employees. Often they are the face and building blocks of your business: they deal with your customers daily and will directly effect that customer’s decision as to whether they choose return.
Naturally you will have taken efforts to recruit employees who you feel will be effective, rather than those who might seem unreliable or dishonest. Sometimes you want to give someone a chance, and if it does not turn out well, you’ve got debt recovery services that can help if they owe you money, and you simply start again with new staff.
Unfortunately, while you may have many chances to get great staff, it is not the same with your customers. You want to treat every customer visit as if it were their first or could be their last: and that means hiring great staff who you can trust to do this.
3. VIP Customers? Do something for them!
If you are shaking your head and thinking you don’t have any “VIP” customers as such: then it is time to identify and find them – and if you can’t, then you need to create them!
Your VIP customers are those who are walking ambassadors for your business. They have been loyal to you, they shop with you and use your services often, and you really value their business.
These customers need to be made aware how much they are appreciated, so that they feel their loyalty is well-founded, and so that they continue to spread the good word about you.
Holding a VIP evening, having a VIP rewards program, surprising them with a small gift on the holidays – all are ideas you could use.
4. Surprise and Delight
Sometimes the best customer loyalty programs are none at all. Or at least, you want it to appear that way. This is most easily done when you run a smaller business.
Having identified your VIPs, or making your staff aware of what qualifies a customer for the reward: you can then surprise and delight your customers when they qualify for an extra something with their purchase or service.
The element of surprise will keep them coming back and make them feel appreciated for their business.
5. A Rewards Program that Actually Rewards
If the surprise and delight option isn’t feasible, then there isn’t anything wrong with your trusty rewards card.
However, make sure your rewards program stands out from the others – maybe it offers a bigger pay off and over a smaller amount of time.
Ask yourself: why would a customer choose this loyalty program over that of your closest competitors? Once you have that answer, you can then go about implementing your rewards and maintaining those loyal customers. Good luck!
About the Guest Post Author: Tom Mallet is an Australian freelance writer and journalist. He writes extensively in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US. He’s published more than 500 articles about various topic.