By: Debbie Page, Business Coach for Women
Customer service isn’t just a good idea. It’s the force that drives business. Loyalty isn’t a fad. It’s a relationship that needs be cultivated.
Think about the purchasing decisions you make. Which brands or companies have earned your loyalty, and therefore more of your dollars? Your own habits should be enough to indicate there is something to be said for customer loyalty. You know from personal experience that being the cheapest or fastest option isn’t enough to earn your business and a great customer service experience is more than getting a thank you email.
Your customers and clients know it too.
So, here’s the question: What does your documented client retention and loyalty program include? If you’ve made big investments in marketing and advertising to get ‘em – how are you going to keep ‘em?
I’m going to hit pause for just a second and draw your attention to the word documented. I am a huge fan of having documented systems and processes. After more than 20 years in business, I know documented systems and processes help you maintain consistency and deliver results. If your customer service touchpoints and action items aren’t documented you don’t have a plan, you have ideas.
You need to turn those ideas into items you can execute on consistently if you want to grow your customer base and your bottom line.
Just take a look at a few of the numbers I shared recently when talking about the importance of Customer Loyalty.
- 20% of your customer base is made up by your loyal customers. Those customers will end up driving 80% of your business.
- It will cost you five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing customer.
- 68% of customer defection happens when a customer feels like they were treated poorly
- 95% of the people who have had a bad experience will never tell you.
Those numbers underscore the importance of customer loyalty. Give customers every opportunity to become loyal clients by including these five things in your client retention plan.
5 Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty.
- Provide regular updates. Stay in communication with customers through newsletters, e-zines or email updates. Share important information, exciting news or resources they might find valuable. Commit to regular updates and stay in touch.
- Under promise and over deliver. Manage expectations by clearly communicating what your customers or clients can expect from you every step of the way. Then surprise them by over-delivering on those promises. For example, if you say you’ll have a contract to them by Friday surprise them by sending it over Thursday.
- Show appreciation. Handwritten notes, small gifts, or phone call just to say thank you can go a long way in showing customers how much they are valued and appreciated.
- Acknowledge special occasions. Birthdays, work anniversaries and business milestones are all special occasions that can be acknowledge and celebrated in small ways throughout the year.
- Remember what’s important to them. Make notes in their client profile of personal interests. Are they a dog lover? Football fan? Quilter? Make a note and use it to surprise and delight them through the year.
Here’s one last thing to consider, you need to develop a process to create customer loyalty whether you have five customers or 5,000 customers. It doesn’t matter which stage of business you’re in, get started and let it grow and develop with you.
Growing your business is easier when you’re not trying to grow it alone.
Want more great insight from Debbie Page? Join her seminar “Marketing Tips and Advice” at Biz Fair at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Renton Technical College.