Five practical tips to earn (and keep) your customers’ loyalty

LoyaltyYou probably know that paying lots of attention to your existing customers is equally (if not more) important than getting new ones. But if you think about it, these two client bases actually feed off each other.

A 2014 Westpac study found that the top way (50%) Australians show support for small businesses is recommending them to others. It’s worth putting the effort into making sure your customers have the best experience possible, every time they buy from you, not only because it’ll keep them coming back to you but because they’re a fantastic – and inexpensive – form of advertising.

The cost of bad publicity in the internet age

When it comes to your business, all publicity is definitely not good publicity.

You probably know the age-old factoid: an unhappy customer tells ten people about a bad experience. With social media that same unhappy customer could be telling hundreds in an instant.

Make sure everything that’s said about your business is positive. This starts with building and keeping your customers’ loyalty. Here are five practical ways to do this:

1. Know your customers. Know their names, know their quirks, and remember what they’ve bought from you in the past. Personalising your service can be virtually cost-free. I’m impressed every single time the barista at my local café remembers my coffee order, or the details of a conversation we had the previous week. I take my friends there, because I feel so welcome and genuinely enjoy chatting with her, and they’re equally as impressed.

2. Use some carefully planned ‘spontaneity’. This is the stuff that really impresses customers and gets them talking about you, and it doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Give them a small gift with purchase – like faster delivery, or something that will help them use your product or service. Think carpet cleaner if you’ve just cleaned their carpets, or free samples of new products you’re trying out.

3. Never take customer loyalty for granted. Keep giving back to your customers and they’ll keep coming back to you, and sending others over too. Have excellent after sale customer service – email or call to check that they’re satisfied with the product, and fix things quickly if they’re not.

4. Respond to reviews. Everyone loves to be acknowledged. If someone leaves your business a positive online review, or posts on your Facebook wall, make sure you follow-up with a quick thank you. And if the review wasn’t so good…

5. Admit failure – and then go above and beyond to correct it. Apologise and offer compensation quickly, you’re showing you’re human and genuinely care about your customers.

It’s no coincidence that all of these tips are about engaging with your customers, and that doesn’t happen by chance. Put some processes in place so your people are empowered to take care of your customers, and in turn those customers will take care of you and your business.

Do you have any great tips for keeping your customers happy and loyal, or getting referrals? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Comments

  1. Beth Niebuhr says:

    Be careful of what you say because the internet never lets anything go away!

  2. Right on the money in every respect. Ignoring bad reviews is like having an open sore on your arm that won’t heal and not going to the doctor. People, most of them, are very forgiving. Say you’re sorry, fix it and move on. People will love you for it.

  3. Aikyna Finch says:

    I am huge on loyalty! This article is right on time. Thank you!

  4. Yakini says:

    I think customers are extremely important and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Business have fallen because they may have had great products but they had horrible customer service.

  5. These are all important often forgotten! My fave is responding to bad reviews and making things right with a customer. Ignoring them puts out a message that you don’t care! And don’t get defensive or make excuses! Though some will not be happy a majority will just respect and appreciate your efforts and remain a loyal customer.

    • Vicky Savellis-Grant says:

      True indeed. Not many people are comfortable responding to bad reviews but most customers appreciate the effort. Thanks Michael.

  6. You got my attention immediately with the bottle of the bubbly! The 5 ways should be “common sense” that isn’t so common. I especially liked the “spontaneity idea. Thanks

    • Vicky Savellis-Grant says:

      Thank you Patty. I agree and yet it’s a smart way to delight your customers and make them feel special.

  7. Fay says:

    I’m such a huge believer in customer service and keeping customers happy – and so many people seem to leave this massively important part out of their business model. I just don’t get it. When we help someone into a new property, we always send a ‘congratulations’ gift to them and its so appreciated. I’m sure it’s one of the things that helps us to have most of our business come from referrals!
    Thanks for your great post 🙂

  8. Linda Kelley says:

    I love the spontaneity tip. Most people enjoy the thoughtfulness that goes into a small gift or free service. It’s that going the extra mile that will earn you your customers respect and loyalty. The spontaneity has to be ‘planned’ by you but a fresh idea/service for your client. That’s an important distinction to understand..

    • Vicky Savellis-Grant says:

      I agree Linda going the extra mile will impress your customers and earn respect and loyalty. Thank you for sharing.

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