Keeping customers happy is one thing… getting them to return and stay loyal is a totally different strategy. It is one that must be deliberate and constantly assessed.
Ensuring that we have a nurturing process within our customer service program will see your customers return. Loyalty cannot be taken for granted these days. It has to be earnt, and it has to be deliberate. Sure, people shop around for better prices all the time, but when there is an emotional attachment to a business, price is not the number 1 reason as to why a customer stays with that business….. How they are made to feel is!
Recently I was asked to assist a business who have a national reach and footprint but had started to lose their customers to a new wave of “pop up” businesses. Their unfortunate view had been that seeing as they had been around for many years, their customers would just stay loyal. That was about their entire strategy.
We worked together and was able to implement some strategies that once implemented, started to turn their customers attention and loyalty back towards their business.
Below are a few of the strategies we implemented that may be good for your business.
1. Create a VIP program for your customers.
Loyal customers love being acknowledge. Sometimes “status” is high on the customers list of feelings. Rewarding loyal customers with VIP offers due to their loyalty will go a long way in retaining their business. My wife does this very well in her Day Spa (The Temple Skincare and Spa – yup, shameless plug). Her clients love being a part of her VIP program as it is something that they know they need to work towards. That then instills retention by default.
2. Don’t over promise
Over-promising and under-delivering is the quickest way to lose loyalty. There are too many instances these days where we are promised everything like.. “Best coffee in the suburb”, “Best mobile phone coverage in the country”, “All we care about is your needs” blah, blah blah. Stay true to what you know you can deliver consistently day in and day out. If that is not meeting or exceeding the needs of your customers, then you now know what needs attention.
3. Create surprises in the customer experience.
Finding milestones in your customers relationship and randomly rewarding them for it without them expecting it is a great way to increase customer retention as they won’t be expecting it.
This means that proper tracking of customers buying behaviour needs to be put into place. Imagine a customer has purchased 5 dresses from your store, by sending them a free t shirt as a thank you, with a handwritten note stating how much you appreciate their loyalty will definitely get their attention.
It’s sad to say but getting appreciated and thanked for loyalty is few and far between these days.
4. Create a community feel around your business.
Your customers not only connect with your business and brand, they also connect with other people who are connected to your business. Establishing a social media group or page where your loyal customers can rave about your business is a great way for them to spread their love of what you do and how you make them feel.
People want things to follow. Is your business worth following?
5. Share your wins
Your customers want to know they are part of a business that is moving forward and is succeeding. Sharing your wins with your loyal customers is a great way for them to feel a sense of ownership and pride in your outcomes.
I have seen this first hand with my wife’s Day and Medi Spa. Rene has won numerous awards both locally and recently over the last 2 years, the “Best Day Spa in Australia”. By Rene including her loyal customers in the businesses wins, it has increased the bookings as her client’s love being a part of a winning and successful business.
There is a tendency to not want to shout out the wins in case it is seen as ego. There is a fine line but celebrate your wins with the customers who have played a role due to their loyalty.
These are just a few strategies and I am sure you would have some more of your own. The secret really does come down to being DELIBERATE with our loyal customers / clients.
As I always say… If you aren’t looking after your customers… someone else will!
Justin Herald is the Managing Director of Customer Culture, a sales and customer service training company having a big impact. He is the Author of 8 International Best Selling books and speaks at over 100 Conferences each year.