Is there such a thing as customer loyalty anymore? In this crazy and fast-paced time we’re living in, if your competitor is offering the same product at a lower price, chances are your customers will ditch you. But are there ways to keep your customers coming back, other than just dropping prices? Here are a few ways you can help to maintain customers for the long term.
Thank Your Customers!
It seems like such a small gesture, but simply acknowledging your customers or clients can go a long way in terms of relationship building. If you thank them for their business, input or feedback, you’re creating a bond that will keep them coming back. It also makes you seem more personable and human.
Create Rewards and Incentives
Retailers like restaurants, salons and clothing stores do this all the time. Offer customers ways to be rewarded by being loyal. It can be as simple as a punch card every time you get an ice-cream cone, with the reward of a free treat after the tenth purchase. Almost every retail clothing store has a rewards program where you are part of a club that receives special sales and discounts. Besides creating monetary value for the customer, it also makes them feel special and valued.
Just because your customers are satisfied with your current product or service, doesn’t mean their loyalty is guaranteed. Focus on continually improving your offerings, whether it’s updating and improving your website or expanding your services
People notice when you listen. Take your customers’ criticisms, requests and suggestions seriously. When someone posts a question or comment on your Facebook page, answer quickly and help solve the problem. Not only will this help create loyalty in that specific customer, it will also show others that you are dedicated to great service.
Customer Service is King
I once bought a bag from a small business, a woman who designed and created her own line of bags and sold them until she was able to outsource production. I used the bag heavily for six months, until one of the straps started to detach from the body of the bag. I contacted customer service and received an immediate response from a real person. Within two days, I had a brand new bag on my doorstep, free of charge. What’s more amazing is that they had listened to so many of their customers that they had improved the design of the bag so that the strap was better reinforced. The fact that they went above and beyond to make me happy has made me a customer for life, and I will happily recommend this company to anyone I meet. That’s the kind of customer service you want for your business. It may have cost them to replace the bag free of charge, but the loyalty it creates is worth so much more.