You’ve heard that it takes more money, and effort, to gain new customers than to retain current ones, right? According to an article on Entrepreneur.com, research shows that loyal customers are worth up to 10 times the value of their first purchase. The article notes that a business with loyal customers can have a more manageable marketing budget and spend more time and money on improving its services and products.
Here are four ways to build customer loyalty, according to Entrepreneur.com:
1. Be accessible. Allowing your customers to get in touch — whether through email, social media, the phone, etc. — is important for maintaining a good relationship with your clients and building a better customer experience.
2. Answer questions or complaints quickly, especially on social media. Many people comment on their experience with a company on Facebook and Twitter these days. Be sure to follow up with those comments promptly, as others who see them on your social media channels will judge you on how you respond as well.
3. Keep track of your interactions with clients. If someone speaks with your receptionist, or a foreman, and then you as the owner, make sure everyone is on the same page and has addressed all of the client’s concerns. There’s no bigger turn off than getting passed around and getting a different answer from every person.
4. Get to know your customers. What problems do they need help with? Making buying decisions can be easier for a client if they feel you really understand their needs. Knowing your clientele can also help you provide better information than your competition, and it can help identify underserved markets that you can capitalize on.
All four of these tips take time and effort, but that investment is not a waste. “A study conducted by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that 80 percent of consumers in the U.S. are willing to pay more in order to get an improved customer experience,” according to Entrepreneur.com. So offering added incentives and support for existing customers is proven to garner a return.
Another factor in boosting customer loyalty? Your employees. Entrepreneur.com says the attitude your employees exhibit about their jobs impacts the impression your clients get of not just the employee, but of your overall company. Incentives or career advancement can play into the positive outlook your employees have about the company, and then that positivity will be reflected to your clients.
Building a loyal community of customers means investing in the experience customers have when working with every employee in your organization, from the person who answers the phones to the workers on-site. It also means going out of your way to address their questions and concerns. But by dedicating time and energy (and resources) to these existing customers, you will extend the value of that client to your business and encourage more sales — more loyalty — from each and every one.
So take the time, and keep ’em coming back for more.