Top tips on building customer loyalty
Here are some of the best tips we’ve found for building loyalty:
- Be clear what you stand for – It’s hard to create loyal customers if they aren’t paying attention to you. The quickest way to get customers to ignore you is to not stand for anything. The Corporate Executive Board surveyed 7,000 consumers in the U.S.A . They found that 64% said shared values were the main reason they had a strong relationship with a brand. If you want loyal customers, you need them to care about you … so what do YOU stand for?
- Be positive. Research has proved that negative social proof such as “35% of workers don’t save into a pension!” will put customers off rather than encourage them. Using positive social proof such as “2 out of 3 people save into a pension!” is the best way to get people to listen. People like to do what other people do!
- Reciprocate. This is the social construct that makes the world go round … or in your case, keeps your customers coming back. The idea is simple: what you give dictates what you get. For example, if you want referrals from other business owners, give them some! For customers it can be simple things such as thanking them or giving them free information or advice.
- Surprise customers – but only in a good way! Go above and beyond what they would expect. My daughter Anna makes jewellery and sells it online. One of her first customers e-mailed to say that the earrings she had bought had broken in the post. Anna e-mailed to apologise and sent a replacement pair by recorded delivery. She also included a second pair as a further apology. That customer is now Anna’s best customer. She also tweeted her 60,000 followers about how great the service was. As a result Anna now sells to people in over 19 countries. WOW moments like that have a huge impact and needn’t cost you much.
- Make it personal. A study from the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that waiters could increase their tips by 23% by returning to tables with a second set of mints. So do mints have magic powers? No! The researchers think the customers felt it was a more personalised service. It was the personal touch that made them enjoy their experience more.
- Speed is secondary to quality. When customer service keeps people coming back, quality matters more than speed. Take the results of a Gallup Group survey. It showed customers were 9x more likely to engage with a brand if they rated service as polite and helpful. If they rated service as speedy, they were only 6x more likely to engage.
- Be true to yourself and your customers. There must always be total consistency between what you say and do and what your customers experience. Check the design, build quality, reliability and serviceability of your product or service. Make sure each is of the standard your customers want, need and expect. Service integrity is also demonstrated by the way you handle the small things, as well as the large. Customers will use you if you are open and honest with them and care for them. Take a genuine interest in them, don’t let them down and practice what you preach. They will avoid you if you don’t.
- Make a good first impression. Have you heard the old maxim – first impressions last? Well it’s true. The simplest customer loyalty strategy is to have a good first contact with customers. This applies whether you’re selling online, face-to-face or door-to-door.
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