Keeping Loyal Customers Loyal
In a lagging economy, keeping your loyal customers loyal can become increasingly more challenging, but there is probably no other time when good customer loyalty is more vital to your business. Your loyal customers are your high-value clients, bringing in as much as 80% of your overall sales, according to Pareto’s principle (the 80-20 Rule). Do you know who your most loyal customers are? What are you doing to keep these high-value clients happy and loyal customers?
These steps will help you gain a better understanding of who your best customers are and what you can do to keep them loyal.
1. Ask Them What They Think. Survey all of your customers, former customers and potential customers with just two simple questions: would you recommend us to others? Why or why not? The answers to these two questions tell you how what general percentage of your customers is loyal as well as their reasons behind why they are or not.
2. Stay In Touch. Whether it’s included in a loyalty program or you purchase on separately, find an email marketing tool and use it wisely. Be sure to target messages to the right customers at the right time. Provide your customers specific information they would find helpful and special offers that are customized just for them. Let them know about contests, upcoming events, new products, etc. But don’t send out too much too often. Find a balance between encouraging their patronage without taking advantage of their trust.
3. Go the Extra Mile. In addition to your advertisements, announcements and non-solicit emails, sign up for a greeting card system or set up recurring email campaigns. Send birthday greetings with a gift or special offer just for them. This personal touch helps your customers understand that you value them as individuals and invites more loyalty and trust.
4. Encourage Participants, Not Spectators. Keep your loyal customers involved and ask for their opinions on any pending changes or new directions in your business arise. You never want to make a business decision that will alienate your loyal customers. Their word-of-mouth marketing will achieve more success than almost any other marketing efforts you employ.
5. Say It To Their Face. Never shy away from an opportunity to thank your customers for their business. Train your employees to extend sincere thanks for even the smallest business transaction. Greet your customers by name (when you can) and encourage all your employees to do the same. Host customer appreciation events. Support local charities. Be involved in their (your) community and you will be surprised how much you get ahead by simply giving back!