“We couldn’t do it without you!”
How many times have you heard this statement as a consumer? I know I hear it all the time. While it may be true, it often does not come off as sincere. I certainly don’t get the warm fuzzies when I hear it from a business where I’ve made a purchase. More often than not, it just sounds like empty words.
You are going to have to prove to me that you mean what you say if you expect me to 1. believe you and 2. have any loyalty to your brand.
What I need from you are actions that clearly demonstrate your appreciation. Actions that say, “Whitney, we are truly proud to call you a customer. When you buy from us, we light up inside. Just knowing that only our company meet your unique needs — well, it gives us reason to get up and come to work every day!”
I admit this is not an easy proposition, but I promise it can be done.
Attributing your success to those who buy your product, purchase your services, subscribe to your plan is not new or newsworthy — it’s the cornerstone of commerce. If you don’t bring in revenue, you won’t survive very long. But the sales cycle is ongoing. It’s not one and done. You have to cultivate new business all the time. Your success is directly dependent on the number and quality of your customers.
Another tenet of commerce is, once you have good customers, keep them! Bend over backwards to retain your current customers’ business. There are many theories on how best to do this, but I believe strongly in developing loyalty. It’s not as hard as you think.
If you want your customers’ love again and again, you first have to show THEM the love. Show them how flattered and honored you are that they picked you over your competition.
Here are my 5 tips on how to make your customer love you back:
- Respond in a timely manner – every time. You would be surprised how many businesses just don’t bother to respond at all. A timely reply shows me that you value me AND what I have to say. Even if you can’t answer my question or make changes immediately, let me know that you are glad I reached out and acknowledge my feedback or request. This is a simple and easy way to show your customers they matter.
- Provide me with value beyond what I’ve paid for. The opportunities are endless — free training on your product, insider information on upcoming product improvements, a seat at the table to discuss the next evolution of your products, the latest consumer news or trends, coupons or other incentives on your next purchase. The list goes on and on.
- Always tell the truth, even when it’s not pretty. No matter what the holdup might be on your end, let me know the status of my issue. It’s easier to forgive tardiness, mistakes, omissions, etc. if I know you are working on it. We’re all human and doing the best we can most days. If I know you have not forgotten about me and you’re doing your best, I can forgive most any transgression.
- Buy my love. Most businesses collect lots of data on their customers. If you’re not doing that, you should be. When you get to know your customers, you can easily acknowledge special holidays, business or personal milestones, birthdays or anniversaries. Send me a card or small gift and tell me thank you. It’s as simple as that.
- Throw me a party. Client appreciation events — if done well — go a long way toward building loyalty. An annual celebration of your customers in a relaxed, fun environment shows them you truly care about keeping their business.
Building customer loyalty is worth the effort, but you can’t do it with just words. Think about how
you can show your clients that you appreciate them — really appreciate them — beyond the
money they spend. Take it from me, sincerity goes a long way.
Client Services Director
Incipio Workforce Solutions