Building Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is what drives profitability. Gaining new customers costs more (a lot more!) than retaining old ones. As we head further into 2012, keep these pointers in mind as you deal with your existing customer base.
HAVE YOUR PULSE ON THE CUSTOMER’S NEEDS
You need to be tuned in to your customers’ buying cycles and moods. You need to know what they need, when, and how much. Don’t worry- all it takes is a little effort and attention to detail. If you are selling haircare products, and your customer bought a fixed quantity a month ago, maybe it is time you asked him if he would like to have his stock replenished. Or, send across a sample of a new product just as their old stock may be depleting. When you meet the customer’s needs even before those needs are expressed, they know you value them as individuals. It pays to be a step ahead of your customer in anticipating their needs.
BE DILIGENT WITH DATA
How exactly do you get to ‘know’ your customer and anticipate their needs? By recording what they have bought and how they bought it. (As well as other valuable information regarding their likes, dislikes, interests etc. ) How often does your customer visit your store or website? What do they purchase and how much? How do they pay for it? Do they engage with you on social media and alternate platforms? When you have all this information on hand, it helps in segmentation and direct marketing efforts. What’s more, you will be able to provide streamlined, personalized services to your customers.
BE SOCIABLE AND ACCESSIBLE
In today’s marketplace, if your customers cannot find you, then you probably should not go into business. Your customers should be able to contact you with questions, comments or complaints, as well as interact and engage with your brand. Social media was a huge trendsetter in 2011, and it is not slowing down going forward. Establish your presence online and on social media, and give your customers information about products, services and special sales. Share tips, and how-to’s, and link them to your website.
Remember, customer loyalty is not about extensive freebies or schmoozing – it is about knowing what your customers want and putting their needs and interests first.