Having loyal customers is key to success for any business.
Think about the companies you love. Why do you keep giving them your business? Maybe their product is top-notch, but odds are that product excellence is complemented by an extraordinary customer experience. Companies like Amazon and Trader Joe’s consistently top customer service rankings because they give consumers what they want and need, and they make consumers feel good.
There are a number of ways you can go about improving the way your customers feel about your business, but they all begin with understanding the customer experience and building a strategy for it. Providing good customer service is one crucial part of building an effective customer experience — but understanding who your customers are, and how they’re interacting with your company or organization every step of the way through their engagement with you, is the goal.
So start there. Analyze your customer base, survey them to understand how you’re performing to their expectations, and consider adding these elements to your customer experience to foster and grow customer loyalty:
1. Ask their opinion
We touched on this by suggesting you survey your customers to understand your customer experience. But take it one further by talking one-on-one to as many customers as you can. Showing personal interest in their opinion about your service and your products will make them feel important and valued, and like they’re making a difference.
Communication today vs. 20 years ago looks so different, doesn’t it? With e-mail, cell phones, texting and online chat, there are so many ways customers want to be able to communicate with you — and they want to do it right now. It’s important to set boundaries for when and how you will communicate with your customers (no need to respond at midnight if you don’t have to), but communicating those boundaries with customers up front and following them is crucial. Most importantly, don’t ignore customer communication or put it off for a time when you’re less busy. Dedicate time each day to this task. Your customers will go the extra mile for you if you do.
In what ways can you make your customers feel good by giving them something unexpected? Cookies in the lobby. A handwritten thank you note for their business. A donation to a cause they support. A $5 gift card to the local coffee shop. Think about what that special touch can be and make it happen — without any expectation of your customer doing anything more than what they’ve already done for you.
This one’s easy, folks. Smile when interacting with your customers at every opportunity (even when they may be dissatisfied). As Dolly Parton said in Steel Magnolias, “it increases your face value!” Your customers will remember your attitude and willingness to stay positive. It will convert to return business down the road.
5. Do unto others
It’s the golden rule. Treat your customers — and your staff — the way you’d like to be treated. Both audiences are constantly watching your behavior and will be walking testimonials for you (or walking warning signs). If you treat both groups with kindness, respect and a positive attitude, they will always be loyal, and you will always be successful and happy.
Be your customers’ sunshine every day with by wearing this shirt from WorkPlacePro. They won’t be able to help but smile.