We spend precious resources on wooing new customers. We research who they are, what they like, need, fear, loathe...and then we hunt them down with all the tools in our marketing shed.
New customers are good. New customers are revenue. A new opportunity to impress, to gain new insight and make new contacts.
But focus meeds to be placed on loyal customers. They are the foundation to your business. They are a guage for how well you are doing. Their should be an intimacy there for two-way communication in order to gain their critical feedback.
So how do you encourage loyalty without breaking the bank? Here are some suggestions:
1. Put a face on business. People prefer to do business with people. Not computer screens. Not from the indecipherable voice of a stranger on the phone. Put on your happy face. Make eye contact. Show them they are important.
2. Empower them. You are the expert. You should act as their trusted advisor. Make them better, happier, more confident by over insight to their challenges and tips. A few extra words that won't show up on their bill.
3. Responsiveness. Especially in the world of social media, responsiveness shows customers they are important and you have your stuff together! Be prompt with your responses, whether it be to a simple inquiry or a customer complaint. Also, follow-up. With a thank you email or a 'how is it working for you' phone call. Again, not much time and expense for you - a world of difference for your customer.
4. Honesty? Honestly. Honesty may seem like a no brainer, but respect is to be gained by coming clean. Whether that be by refering them to a competitor who can do the job better (gulp) or if you made a mistake. No cover-ups.
5. Real deals and rewards. Establish a reward system where customers can accumulate rewards or benefits over time. This keeps them coming back and happy to reach a goal. No Groupon or Living Social here. This should be unique to your business and show that you are special and offer quality.
Loyalty. Take it personally.