10 Steps to Customer Loyalty

Ten easy-to-follow steps you can use to create customer loyalty and maintain customer satisfaction.

Build an unbeatable bundle of products and services
If you want to keep your customers, make sure they can get what they want without leaving your premises. Take a cue fromAmazon.The business may have started selling books, but visitors now stay in its online store for a wide range of products, such as greeting cards, music, videos, tools, toys, software and office products.
Give your customers an incentive to come back
Be it a gift, freebie, discount, special financing, or a chance to win a competition, customers come back for incentives. It’s no coincidence that major oil companies, airlines, retailers and credit card companies offer loyalty schemes where customers earn bonus points and can redeem these points for rewards.
Create goodwill and generate loyalty by sponsoring sports groups, social clubs or special interest groups.
Stand behind your product
Stand behind your product and reap the rewards of trust. If your customers don’t trust you, they won’t come back. If possible offer a better guarantee than your competitors.
Support good works
Support good works and your customers will support you. Doing well by doing good is a powerful loyalty builder. For example, a children’s clothing manufacturer encourages customers to return their purchases when their kids have stopped wearing them. The customer receives a 20% discount on their next order, the manufacturer keeps the customer buying, and the needy receive 1,000 articles of returned clothing per month. Everybody wins.
Look after your best customers
Know your gold customers and treat them best of all. If you’re like most businesses, 20% of your customers contribute 80% of sales, so make use of this fact and put your efforts into this top 20%. For example, a paint and panel firm receives 70% of their business from insurance company referrals. Therefore, instead of spending lots of money on advertising the company occasionally treats the insurance claims managers and their partners to race car meetings, horse races and movie previews. Caution: don’t overstep the mark by making gifts too expensive or too frequent – they could be interpreted as bribes.
Make it easy to buy from you
Make it easier to buy from you than your competitor.Seventh Wave Wetsuitsmake customised and off-the-rack wetsuits. All the customer needs to do is email their measurements and colour requirements, and their new wetsuit is couriered to them within a week.
Go and get ’em
A Christmas tree grower knows that it’s tough to earn the loyalty of customers who only come in once a year, so it sends a thank you note with a twist. Buy your Christmas tree from them and a thank you note arrives shortly before the following Christmas . . . along with a voucher for free delivery of that year’s tree.
Find out what your customers want
Find out what your customers want and give it to them.An award winning, fine dining restaurant found its customers wanted a less formal style of dining. So the restaurant changed the décor, staff uniforms and menu. It continued to receive rave reviews while a number of its competitors went out of business.
Become a customer service champion
What do most successful businesses have in common? They achieve success by putting customers first. Consumers prefer businesses that make them feel special. It’s therefore no surprise that successful companies are led by people who are customer service champs; they recognise and reward employees who can build effective relationships with customers.

Reproduced with permission from the Business Information Zone.

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