Customer loyalty is the golden ticket to long term company success. Loyal customers provide repeat business and recommend products and services to friends and family. It is common knowledge that acquiring a new customer costs at least five times more than retaining an existing customer. What can your company do to “prove itself” and earn the respect and loyalty of customers?
Treat Your Current Customers Like Gold
In terms of marketing and referrals, loyal customers equal dollar signs. It’s not enough to meet their needs by providing adequate service; to gain the loyalty of current customers and a reputation among prospective customers, the service offered by all the client-facing departments of your organization has to be exceptional. Even companies with very good reputations for customer service don’t rest on their laurels; they continue to provide training and coaching for their client-facing representatives.
Watch Your Commitments
In the process of securing a sale, make sure not to promise anything your organization can’t deliver. The long term effects are devastating and will come back to haunt even the most experienced sales professional. Nothing undermines loyalty faster than a loss of credibility.
Make It Easy For New Customers to Love You
There’s a saying among ad agencies: “The day you sign a new client is the day you begin losing them.” The sad truth is that many times we put our best resources into the acquisition of new clients, sometimes at the expense of what we need to do to retain them. Since loyal customers are our best form advertising, and because it’s at least five-to-ten times more costly to acquire a new customer than to retain one, think about all you can do to welcome new customers. Consider video tutorials, toll free numbers, surveys to see if they are using your product or service as easily and as often as anticipated, call backs to ensure they had an easy sales process and that any unexpected issues were resolved to their satisfaction.
Make It Easy For Customers to Complain
Robert Stephens, founder of The Geek Squad, believes that it’s important to make it easy for customers to complain. Complaints are an essential part of customer feedback; if there’s something wrong, we want people to tell us. The easier you make it for customers to complain, the more likely they will be to give you a chance to save them as customers. It’s been shown that customers who have had their problems resolved quickly and professionally are more loyal than customers who have never had a problem.
Listen and Act
It’s one thing to give people an opportunity to offer their comments; it’s another to take action on it. This is one of the principles that Microsoft leveraged in their recent Windows 7 campaign with the statement “Windows 7 was my idea.” Customers feel validated when the companies with whom they do business take their suggestions seriously enough to incorporate them into their products. You want more customer loyalty? Listen to them, and act on what they tell you whenever possible!
These are some ways to earn more of the currency that is customer loyalty. How is your company keeping customers loyal?
Click here to read Loyalty: The Currency of Customer Satisfaction — Part 1.