Developing Customer Loyalty
When starting a business the biggest challenge is winning business, converting vague enquiries into paying customers, or enticing browsers of your shop to make a purchase. It is not to be underestimated what a victory this is. We have been in an economic downturn, coupled with high costs of living, meaning disposable income has been rationed more wisely. As consumers we are harking back to two decades ago and purchasing second hand or make do and mend. So to still be able to persuade an individual or business to part with their hard earned cash is quite a feat.
So once you have them, you need to keep them. Look after them, solve their problems, make them feel valued, exceed their expectations. Why? Because it costs more to win one new customer than to keep an existing one.
So what are the secrets of developing customer loyalty?
Be responsive – what do they want, encourage feedback, why have they chosen you?
Keep up to date with market trends – don’t become complacent, there are other businesses vying for your customers, keep fresh, be vigilant what are your competitors doing?
Be different – what is unique about your business or you, what makes you stand out? Can you package your products differently? Find what makes you special and then shout about it
Make them feel valued – set up a fan page or group on Facebook, those that join get special discounts and perhaps also offer special rates for those who sign up to newsletters or follow you on Twitter. Loyalty cards or freebies after so many purchases are also popular. Work the crowd; ask current prospects for quality referrals and those that convert result in a discount for the referrer at next purchase
Be human – The personal touch is always better, particularly for local independents. It is the best way to compete with faceless corporations and you are also able to be more responsive and flexible.
Show appreciation for their loyalty – thank them with a free gift or through special promotions and campaigns
Don’t become complacent, keep your customers happy and loyal then your business will grow organically.
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