Sunday October 19, 2014
Here we are again! This week we are covering the extension of steps #2, #6, #7 and #9 of the 10 Steps to Increase Customer Loyalty. If you have not received the first set of steps please sign-up for our VIP mailing list to be instantly added and have access to the tip sheet and the extension articles (www.crconversations.com) . Some of the most important aspects of creating and increasing customer loyalty are found in acts of direct appreciation and showing your customers that you listen and they matter.
Send out a survey: I want you to start asking questions. Start poking around when your customers are interacting with you and ask them what would make their business run smoother, their time more efficient and effective and what are their biggest obstacles. When asking these questions stay in the general sense so you can get an overall feel for what your customers are going through. You will quickly find some commonality and with that information you can formulate some deeper more suggestive questions as to how you could apply a solution.
Some of the best advice I ever read was “don’t wait for your customers to create new products/services for you, learn what they need and be proactive in creating the solution”. I encourage you to follow this advice. Once you get a feel for some of the pain points your customers are having, then you are able to put together strategic questions in a survey format and get a clear response as to what types of solutions you should be providing for your customers.As an example, you find that a common pain point for your customers is that they struggle with time management. You then take the information and in your survey propose a question such as “On a scale of 1 to 5 how likely would you be to outsource (x) task to remove it from your day-to-day operations”? You are then easily able to scale the legitimacy of providing those services to your client and already knowing there is interest in that solution.
Reward your customers: We all have seen the hundreds of thousands of advertisements for “new customers only” to get you in the door and I am sure we have all participated in them at one point or another. Without receiving any sort of follow up from that business after your first visit, how likely were you to return without an incentive? If you are anything like me the likelihood of ever returning is quite low. How we change that as business owners is by creating a loyalty and special promotions specifically for current customers in addition to your “first time buyer” offers.
68% of customers that leave, leave because they don’t feel appreciated. You can change that statistic dramatically in several ways. For this specific article we are focusing on current customer promotions. By offering incentives for current customers to return and advertising the promotions to them as exclusive, member-only, current customer only, or as customer appreciation incentives you create an instant feeling of appreciation. By offering customer only promotions you are letting your customer know they matter and that their patronage is important.
Be a resource: Your customers have a multitude of needs when it comes to their business and their personal life. One of the best ways you can assist your customers is by being the go-to person when they are need of a referral for a service. The easiest place to start in this process is to identify your power partners. Think about the other services that your customers are likely to use during, after or in conjunction with the service you provide. For example, a florist could identify caterers and wedding planners are power partners as they share a target market of brides/grooms as clients.
Once you identify your power partners and build relationship with them so you know, like and trust them then you are able to offer to your client that you are a resource for them for their other needs. Additionally, we encourage you to expand your resource network as far as possible, you never know what your customer may be needing or asking for so the more connections you make the more value you are able to provide for your customer.
Be supportive: No matter if your business is service based, works with consumers or businesses or if it is a brick and mortar you absolutely can find ways to strategically support and promote your customers. In our last series we covered “following your customers” (if you missed that article see the bottom of this one for information to sign-up and receive them all) in that series we discussed how you can get to know your customers on a human level. When following them you will see what types of organizations they support, what events they participate in and what they do for a living.
One of the easiest ways to support your customers is if they also own a business or work for a company that you could feature in your communication. You could feature a customer of the month, or feature their business. You could also feature an organization or a charity that your customers are interested in and hold an event to support that charity or organization. You can implement a segment in your newsletter or even in your office or brick and mortar that promotes your customer(s) in some way. There are unlimited ways to show your customers you care about what they care about. This type of commitment to building a relationship will create an instant feeling of appreciation and loyalty.
We know that all of this information and new processes can seem overwhelming however, if you are able to implement just one of them you are on your way to create more connected, longer-lasting and more loyal relationships with your customers.
Stay tuned for the next set of extended insight on the next group of steps. To add yourself to our VIP list please visit our sign-up page, or email us directly at [email protected] . Please submit your comments so we can help you with your questions, celebrate your successes and dance around the desk for your accomplishments!