Modern business finds itself in a completely unique situation. It’s gone global and yet it seems like it’s existing in a small town, where everybody talks to everybody and where generating customer loyalty is the only way to stay in business long term. The same technology that enables a business to sell to a customer halfway around the world, also enables that customer to express pleasure or displeasure to hundreds and perhaps thousands of people, as easily as talking to a neighbor over the back fence.
And so, generating customer loyalty has become a vital element in building a successful, thriving business. Here are some tips that can help keep customers loyal and saying good things about your business.
The customer comes first
This may seem obvious but it’s all too easy to lose sight of this principle in the rush of day to day activities. Many employees are not in customer facing roles, these people are trying to do their jobs and the customer can be the least of their concerns. Unfortunately such people often outrank customer facing employees. This attitude can then spread and cause the whole company to start facing inward, away from the customer. Eventually, internal company policy becomes more important than customer service. This problem is usually caused by an over reliance on policy and bureaucracy. So, it’s important to realise policies don’t pay the bills and the customer outranks everyone and it’s critical to listen to the voice of the customer.
Don’t forget your customers. Keep a database of pertinent information, such as phone numbers and email addresses and use them to stay in touch with customers in a non-pestering way. Set up a blog on your website to provide information that customers will find useful and relevant and invite customer feedback. Communication can be something as simple as employees offering their first names when they meet a customer. This shows honesty and a willingness to trust on the part of the employee and encourages the customer to reciprocate.
Empower your employees
Educate your employees and make sure they have the power to deal with the majority of customer requests or problems. This has two positive effects. Employees feel confident that management won’t second guess them and so are more willing to help customers. Customers, on the other hand, see a friendly and efficient organisation that they can have confidence in.
Make sure that you do what you say you are going to do. Your company should always keep its promises. Even if a promise should not have been made, keep it anyway.
These tips may seem simple, but they are fundamental. And they can be difficult to implement. The larger and more complex an organisation is, the easier it is for things to get in the way of quality customer service. So, stay alert. These principles will help you keep and build customer loyalty.