It is easy to think that once you have made a successful sale to a brand new customer or client that the hard work is done. However, it can be just as difficult and requires just as much work and attention to keep customers returning to your business as it was to get them on board in the first place!
Whatever kind of business you are running, and the size of that business, you will want to make sure that customers have a reason to stay with you. A study showed that repeat customers spend more than new customers and that the process of attracting new customers can be up to 10 times more expensive than keeping existing customers loyal!
There are many ways to keep clients and customers happy and loyal to your business. In this article, we will explore some of the ways that you can do this!
Know Your Customers Well
One of the most important things to do is to make sure that you know each and every one of your customers well. We don’t mean on a personal level (although in many cases, familiarity is beneficial, depending on which industry your business is a part of). We mean that you should know everything about your customer that relates to the products and services you have provided them with in the past and could potentially offer them in the future! A customer who has been forgotten will not feel valued and is less likely to return.
Thankfully, you do not have to have an incredible memory to keep track of each customer and your history of business with them. Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, software, enables you to keep a database of customer information, and can even be connected to automated emailing tools to keep in contact with them!
Communication is Key
A CRM database should be used frequently as a way to monitor communications with customers and remind yourself and/or your employees to check in on them every once in a while. According to betterbuys.com, one way of doing this is to send out an automated regular newsletter or blog posts to all of your customers, or you could even be more personal with a direct email or phone call if appropriate! Simply checking in on a customer to ensure that they are happy with the services that you are providing them can play a huge role in developing and maintaining customer loyalty.
Provide Top-Quality Customer Service
It is no use communicating with customers frequently if you ignore any feedback that they give you. If a customer has an issue with any aspect of the products and/or services that you are offering them, or with any other aspect of your business relationship, you should always take care to do your best to solve these issues in a helpful and friendly manner. In addition to this, the chances are that if one customer tells you of a problem, there will be plenty of other customers who have experienced the same problem and have not told you about it!
Customers tell other people about the quality of the service they receive from a company. If a customer is unhappy with your business, you could lose potential future clients, and on the other hand, if a customer is happy and satisfied, they might end up doing the work of attracting new customers to your business for you!
Offer Rewards for Loyalty
Offering customers an incentive for repeated loyalty and business is a great way to ensure that this loyalty and custom continues well into the future. Setting up a reward system is a popular method of achieving this. Reward systems can be comprised of customer loyalty cards, future discounts on new products or the renewal of existing contracted services, free additional products and/or services, the ability to enter competitions, or any combination of these and more!
Offer a Variety of Payment Plans
While offering a variety of payment plans may not be efficient or viable for certain businesses, it can be a good choice for others, especially B2B (business-to-business) companies. It is often better to receive a late payment or receive payment in multiple installments than to lose a client or customer entirely that may be short on funds or having cash flow issues at certain time periods.
Flexibility with payment plans is often very highly appreciated by customers and clients and can be one of the most effective ways of maintaining brand loyalty!
Maintain a Friendly Yet Professional Manner
Your business may pass every other test on this list with flying colors, but all of that work can be easily undone in a matter of seconds if one of your employees is rude or unhelpful to a client. It is vital that every member of your sales team is chosen carefully for friendliness and social skills, as well as trained on effective sales and customer interaction techniques.
Greeting customers and/or clients with a welcome and a friendly manner is proven to be effective at maintaining business relationships. Remember, a smile and handshake go a long way in face-to-face meetings with clients. All of the technology in the world cannot replace the importance of trust between humans!
It is important to note, however, that different industries will require different approaches to customer interaction. For example, a funeral director will require much more formality and etiquette than a bartender! Being professional is of paramount importance, even if the specifics of what is considered professional may vary depending on the industry and other factors.
Offer Great Products/Services
Of course, it is no good for providing great customer service if the products or services that your company is offering are not up to scratch! The ways of developing quality products or services will differ based on company and industry, but it is vital to make sure that what you are selling is worth buying in the first place!
We hope that these tips are helpful in ensuring that your customers and clients are loyal to your business for many years to come.