Satisfying your customers is not enough to keep them—you need to make them loyal so they’ll keep coming back to you instead of another supplier who does enough to satisfy them. Here’s how to turn your satisfied customers into loyal advocates:
1. Find out what your customers want and provide it. Don’t guess; ask them through surveys, focus groups, and at other contact opportunities.
2. Innovate. In addition to doing what your customers say they want, come up with new ideas that will give them what they might not realize they want. Of course, be sure to get feedback and make adjustments as necessary.
3. Dazzle them with service they’ll want to tell their friends about. Be so remarkable they can’t help talking about you.
4. Create a sense of belonging. Form “customer clubs” that offer special benefits and status.
5. Be responsive. Don’t make your customers wait for service—not on the phone, not online, not in line in the store. Take care of their needs immediately.
6. Make customers feel welcome. Greet people enthusiastically when they walk through the door. When they call, make it clear that you’re delighted to hear from them.
7. Set yourself apart. Differentiate your company through the quality of your products and services.
8. Always tell the truth. Never, ever attempt to deceive your customers in any way—they’ll find out, and when they do, they’ll leave and never come back. And they’ll let other people know they don’t trust you.
9. Keep your facility sparkling. How well you care for your store, office, or plant is a sign of how well you care about your customers. Remember that your website and other online locations are part of your facility—make sure they are organized, user-friendly, and accurate.
10. Reinforce and reward your customers’ buying decisions. Look for ways to let them know how wise they are for being one of your loyal customers. Develop “frequent buyer” programs, offer volume discounts, or provide other incentives that show how much you appreciate each order.
11. If it’s wrong, make it right. When you make a mistake, apologize and correct it right away—whether it’s your fault or not.
12. Communicate with your customers. Newsletters, social media, advertisements, in-store signs, and direct mail are just a few ways you can let your customers know they are valued.
13. Be patient. Building loyalty takes time, and you’ve got to be in it for the long-term.