We all know that without customers, you don’t have a business.
Customers are not just the lifeblood of your business – they are the reason why you have a business in the first place.
Sometimes, when we get too busy with running the business, realizing our entrepreneurial dreams and conquering the world, we forget about those who are making our business possible in the first place.
Over the years, as a business matures, keeping your customers happy in the long term – in other words, building customer loyalty becomes a key factor that will keep your business running.
How do we build customer loyalty, ignite lasting customer relationships and ensure that the customer will come back again and again?
Let’s look at a few criteria.
Listening to the customer –
Hearing differs from listening – some companies and entrepreneurs don’t really listen to the customer but only hear him/her in passing. They miss the signals, the signs that tell them either the customer is happy or not. Listening to the customer is not just verbally – but being able to read other signs too. Are they satisfied in the long term? Do they want any value added services? How are they responding towards your brand or level of service? Ask questions – listen and look around. Once you are able to spot customer satisfaction levels simply by tuning into their frequency, you will be surprised at the information you receive and how you can use it to ensure your service levels are optimal.
Be consistent –
Are you delivering a consistent experience to the customer – or does it differ from one time to another? Customers like a consistent approach when it comes to service delivery and brand expectations. Make sure that you maintain consistent levels – talk to your staff – listen to them and try to eliminate the obstacles that hinder a consistent level of service. Being consistent is a great favour you can do for your business for growth and expansion.
Form relationships –
Customers want to be valued and appreciated – take the time to form relationships with them. Connect with them, ask them for their opinions and try to be interested in their topics of relevance. Always try to understand their viewpoints and their concerns. Keep a mailing list with their birthdays and anniversaries and shoot off a message of congrats. Show genuine concern at forming relationships and not just to get on their good side for profits ; people understand and respond to genuine concern.
Anticipate their needs –
Good customer care is all about anticipating their needs.
Don’t wait till they tell you – you should be able to anticipate that their needs will grow or include additional services. That’s the part about listening to your customer and activating the feedback received. When you hear your customers loud and clear you can indeed anticipate their needs and be able to respond to those needs successfully. When you know your customers well, you also know about their changing needs and wants.
Follow old fashioned customer care principles – they were right all along –
That’s true -old fashioned customer care principles work.
In the good old days, grocers and shop keepers knew their customers well and were able to provide the level of service needed. The customers never switched – loyalty was prized back in the day by customers and business owners alike. Fickle customers who seek out change were not heard of back then ; both parties met each other’s needs beautifully and it worked well for all.
Try building in some of that old fashioned customer care principles. Be concerned – try to be understanding with older customers who don’t always get AI gleanings. Be patient with those who must tell their stories ; try to relate to those going through tough times. Be gentle with those who need to spell out their needs slowly.
No business works better when it is focused solely on meeting customer needs.
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