Building Customer Loyalty

Studies have proven that attracting a new customer costs much more than keeping an existing one. Yet time and time again, sales professionals fail to take the necessary steps to attract repeat business from previous customers. Shep Hyken, a professional speaker and author specializing in the areas of customer service and customer relations, offers these suggestions for building customer loyalty:

1. Say thanks. These days, it’s not enough to simply deliver the goods. Customers need to feel appreciated – and that means saying thank you. Whether expressed in a face-to-face meeting, over the phone or via a written thank you note, a customer will always remember your display of gratitude.

2. Don’t rely on your clients to tell you if there are problems. Numerous studies have shown that unhappy customers don’t always complain. TARP (Technical Assistance Research Program) was commissioned by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs to survey customer satisfaction. They found that an average business hears from only 4% of unhappy customers. Actively solicit feedback from clients on how you’re doing and what changes they’d like to see.

3. Guarantee your products and/or services. Personally stand behind everything you do. A customer doesn’t do business with a company. They do business with the people who represent the company. If there is a problem, don’t just push it off to someone else. Instead, work with your client to find a resolution.

4. Recognize that there may be others in the buying process that you may not deal with on a day-to-day basis – an assistant, a secretary or even a committee – that should be made to feel appreciated. Make them feel part of the team and don’t forget to show your appreciation for their assistance.

5. Create demanding customers. In other words, if your customers were to go to your competition, they would not just expect, but demand the same level of service that they get from you. Anything less from the competition reinforces that your customers made the right choice to do business with you. So don’t be afraid to spoil your customers.