Strategize And Plan For Loyalty
If you currently retain 70 percent of your customers
and you start a program to improve that to 80 percent,
you'll add an additional 10 percent to your growth rate.
Particularly because of the high cost of landing new customers
versus the high profitability of a loyal customer base,
you might want to reflect upon your current business strategy.
These four factors will greatly affect your ability to
build a loyal customer base:
- Products that are highly differentiated from those
of the competition.
- Higher-end products where price is not the primary
- Products with a high service component.
- Multiple products for the same customer.
Market To Your Own Customers
When you buy a new car, many dealers will within minutes
try to sell you an extended warranty, an alarm system,
or rustproofing. It's often an easy sale and costs the
dealer almost nothing to make. Are there additional products
or services you can sell your customers?
Use Complaints To Build Business
When customers aren't happy with your business they
usually won't complain to you - instead, they'll probably
complain to just about everyone else they know - and take
their business to your competition next time. That's why
an increasing number of businesses are making follow-up
calls or mailing satisfaction questionnaires after the
sale is made. They find that if they promptly follow up
and resolve a customer's complaint, the customer might
be more likely to do business than the average customer
who didn't have a complaint.
In many business situations, the customer will have many
more interactions after the sale with technical, service,
or customer support people than they did with the sales
people. So if you're serious about retaining customers
or getting referrals, these interactions are the ones
that are really going to matter. They should be handled
with the same attention and focus that sales calls get
because in a way they are sales calls for repeat business.
Reach Out To Your Customers
Frequent contact with current customers is a good way
to build their loyalty. The more the customer sees someone
from your firm, the more likely you'll get the next order.
Send Christmas cards, see them at trade shows, stop by
to make sure everything's OK.
Send a newsletter to your customers. Send them copies
of any media clippings about your firm. Invite them to
free seminars. The more they know about you, the more
they see you as someone out to help them, the more they
know about your accomplishments - the more loyal a customer
they will be.
Loyal Customers and Loyal Workforces
Building customer loyalty will be much easier if you
have a loyal workforce. It is especially important for
you to retain those employees who interact with customers
such as sales people, technical support, and customer-service
people. The increasing trend today is to send customer-service
and technical-support calls into queue for the next available
person. This builds no personal loyalty and probably less
loyalty for the firm. Before you go this route, be sure
this is what your customers prefer. Otherwise, assign
a specific support person to every significant customer.
By Source Streetwise Business Tips