In business, it doesn’t matter if you are in a niche industry or you have thousands of competitors..
Maintaining an active relationship with your customers is crucial to business growth. It is easily seen every day that companies pour effort, time and money into acquiring new customers, when they are missing out on one of the biggest opportunities they have at hand – their existing customers.
Without a doubt, the majority of customers in almost any shopping experience, would pay more for a better customer experience. This statistic may or may not come as a surprise to many businesses, particularly as we are pivoting now during the Covid-19 pandemic shopping era, to digital channels to automate and expedite, as well as maintain the health and safety of society. We use comparison shopping engines to find the best deals, and sites like eBay and Amazon to negotiate on price points where possible. Yet at our core, all we really want is a positive customer experience, and a personal touch.
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
– Walt Disney
Irrespective of the size of your business/company or the industry vertical, customers will undoubtedly continue to be the king of the marketplace.Your potential and actual customers offer an accurate measurement of success, speak of your company’s efforts and stand as a testimony to the loyalty nurtured within your brand. YES – we need to market ourselves and our businesses to gain new business and clients, but we cannot forget the power of nurturing the loyal customer base we already have.
1. Be Attentive
By nurturing loyalty among current customers, companies can develop relationships with people. The satisfied customers in turn, will voluntarily inform their relatives, friends and peers to use the same products/services. The voice of recommendations, testimonials and referrals is a key point of gaining successful new business. Individuals are putting their name on the line when recommending your products/services. By being attentive to your customers, you will ensure that they feel important, relevant and valued. And when people feel valued by the attentiveness from your company, the cyclical relationship of referrals and new business can continue. Remember: the grass is greener where you water it.
2. Be Intentional
Mindset is so important. Make it an intentional part of your company, that there is regular contact with your past and existing customers. Check ins, support reach outs, follow ups, social media – whatever works for you. Keep ongoing and continuous communication and conversations. The key here is that you have to intentionally and purposefully search for opportunities to engage. So yes, marketing is an essential part of your business, but so is also your plan for on-going communications with your current customers.
3. Be Open to Announce New Opportunities
Another part about feeling valued, is the opportunity for your customers to have the “sneak peek” or a head’s up on new products, services or opportunities that you have coming up. Customer loyalty is built upon the premise of communication, so creating and building the loyalty needs to incorporate announcements to your current customer base. This not only creates a stronger sense of belonging and loyalty within your customers, but it also is a great way to start some buzz around your products, services and brand. A first look is a fun and engaging way to win over the hearts of customers by highlighting the series of product and service offerings, enlisting items on sale or promotions, and providing gift coupons or discounts on purchases to make the offer seem more appealing and rewarding.
4. Be Ready to Communicate
No question – your greatest asset as a business owner is your customers. With this in mind, why not utilize them to improve your organization and products/services, while developing stronger relationships with them? Asking for feedback is one of the best ways to do this…and people want to be heard and know that they’re actually being listened to and valued for sharing their opinions. Asking your current customers for reviews, testimonials, feedback, experiences, suggestions and participating in a project debrief upon completion work, opens the doors for future interactions with them and often, an emotional tie. Give your customers an easy way to communicate those thoughts – either through email, a survey, a website form, social media or some other collection platform to help push them past any hesitation to communicate with you and your company.
5. Be Ready to Reward
Rewards and recognition are always welcomed by your customers. Whether it is loyalty discounts that your offer, coupons, promo codes or simply sending thank you notes/cards – being recognized as valued and important members of your client base is important. Every single business is challenged by competitors and carving out an appreciation system will help build your loyal customer base. Only when customer satisfaction becomes the topmost priority of business, does customer loyalty towards the brand be ensured. This could go a long way in making your brand remembered by the customers and thus win loyalty. Never discredit the importance of applying a small discount to repeat business clients; the acknowledgement of having a client come back again for your services or products is integral.
Think back to your most profound moments when YOU have been serviced by a business. What was done to make you feel valued, important and heard? How did that make you feel, and did you want to share your experience with others? Remember to keep your customers as your “bullseye” in business. Delivering a great customer experience is not complicated; it just needs to matter enough to you that you keep your customers happy, loyal and the apple of your eye!