International Customer Service Week is celebrated annually in the first full week of October. To recognise the importance of excellent customer service, we are featuring a customer service themed article each day this week.
Your customers are the most important piece of your business. No customer means no business. The more loyal the customers feel to your brand, the more likely they are to buy from you, return to you and recommend you.
Of course, increasing customer loyalty means increasing the lifetime value of the customer for most businesses, your customer become your advocate, they will not want to go anywhere else and stay with you, this is true loyalty.
The ultimate goal is to nurture relationships in such a way that it will give you an edge over your competition and stand the test of time. Once you have those strong foundations you will not only just make it, but will have a thriving business with a thriving profit.
It costs seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one
You must take a serious look at defining your brand, and I am not talking about your logo, I am talking about everything that your business does, says, shares, to really creating raving fans with high retention and engage them in a loyalty programme.
Businesses must show the perceive value of their product or services, and prove that no-one else out there can give the same, this is when you make a mark on the competition. Customers are less likely to turn to the competition if the benefits of the brand are clearly quantified.
Establishing a loyalty programme that rewards customers who continue to make purchases is a great way to show your customers you care, ‘oh not only do I love what those guys do, but I also get something special for buying from them!’. A loyalty programme is quite inexpensive to implement and can really increase the customer lifetime value.
Here are some tips to help your organization begin its own customer loyalty programme:
- Create a points system – but make it simple
- Offer tiered rewards
- Charge an upfront fee
- Partner with another company
- Offer distinctive rewards
- Come up with a unique name
See yourself as a farmer, not a hunter
Another important aspect of a customer retention strategy is to follow up with your customers. The goal with following up with our customers is to make sure they don’t forget about you. If the next time your customer hears from you is just to receive the package, and then never again, chances are they will very easily forget about your store and not come back and purchase again.
With today’s technology it is so simple to stay in touch, with newsletters, birthday cards (and e-cards), social media. Stay connected with them and remain visible at all time.
The first steps in committing to a long-term relationship is nurturing the relationships, see yourself as a farmer, not a hunter!