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3 Tips on Increasing Customer Loyalty

August 31st, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments
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Some days, the business world feels like a “dog-eat-dog” world.  Many of us learn the hard way, through hurtful experiences, how people can’t be trusted.  On those occasions, loyalty appears to be a rare commodity. Napoleon Hill says, “A lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure.”

Does this mean that everyone is disloyal?  Is loyalty as out of date as your grandmother’s wedding dress?  I believe, for some people, loyalty is not an important trait to have.  They see no value in being loyal to their friends, spouse or country, much less a team or company. To them, loyalty is passe and obsolete.  But, I think, the majority of people value being able to trust and believe in someone or something.

If that is the case, as a business person, how do we foster loyalty from your customers or team mates?  Today, I am going to give a three tips to increasing customer loyalty.

1.  Give your customers what they want. They want to feel good about who they are doing business with.  They must feel that they have received the greatest satisfaction when they deal with a salesperson or company.  They see this when we go out of our way to make sure they are happy with our service or product.  Have you ever been in a restaurant where you may have found a hair in your food or something equally disgusting?  How did the restaurant handle your concern?  I am not a surly, hard to please, customer.  When I have a complaint, and it is met with indifference, I won’t got back to that restaurant.  When the restaurant name is brought up for a return visit, I tell people why I won’t go back.  On the other side of the coin, when I have been treated with respect and given something complimentary to make up for my dissatisfaction, I will come back to them.  Doesn’t this leave the restaurant or business open for scammers.  Yes and no, if you could keep 10 customers satisfied by the way you handled their complaints wouldn’t be worth 1 scam for a free dinner?

2. Believe in and show your ethical principles. When customers see you have principles such as honesty and trustworthiness, it makes an impression.  They know, if you have those characteristics, they are in safe hands. Here’s an example.  My husband and I go to the Ozarks often.  We always stop at a little shop on the way there.  It is run by an Old Order, Mennonite family.  They sell a few antiques along with candy, produce, spices, etc.  On one of our first visits we stopped in to check them out.  My husband fell in love with an old cooler, called the “Pleasure Chest”.  We happily paid for our things and a way we went.  The next time we stopped by, the proprietor recognized us and told us he had overcharged us 90 cents.  He even had a note hanging up beside the adding machine.  We were shocked and very pleasantly surprised.  We didn’t know we had been overcharged.  We were convinced that this is a trustworthy, honest and ethical business owner.  We make a point to always stop in.  We always find something to buy when we do.

3.  Let your customers know you appreciate them. Be the master of the “thank you notes”.  It only takes a few minutes to hand write a note and drop it in the mail.  Thank them for their business, for a referral, etc.  When I was in sales, I always included a referral card with my thank you note.  I was always appreciative when the card came back, filled out with their referrals. I would then send a thank you note to the person who made the referral every time I closed one of their referrals.  Because I did this, very rarely, did I have to prospect in the cold market.  It is always a nice surprise to receive a personal thank you note in the mail.  It is a huge giver of “warm fuzzies”.  Pick up the phone and leave a message or a quick “thank you” if you reach them.  We always took our car to one place to have our car worked on.  Not only were they reasonable and did good work, but they always called a few days later and said thank you for the business.  We referred many people to them over the years.

Not everyone will go the “extra mile” to make their customers feel appreciated.  The businesses that do will reap the benefits of increased customer’s loyalty and many repeat visits and referrals.

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