So you’ve spent a small fortune in marketing your business – be that through advertising, developing a fabulous website, long hours building your social media following or literally standing on your feet all day at a show or exhibition.

And, guess what? It’s paid off! And now you’ve started selling a few of those incredible widgets you’ve been trying to convince everyone are the best thing they’ve ever seen!

But now they’ve made a purchase…how are you going to keep those precious customers coming back?

Is there any such thing as customer loyalty these days? With competition so intense among sellers and choice so wide for consumers – how can you stay in touch with your customers and convince them to come back to you to buy  more? Well, the good news is – there are ways and they don’t  need to cost you lots – often they are more about the way you communicate and treat your customers than what you are actually selling. After all, they’ve bought once so why wouldn’t they come back?

Make your customers feel special

Yes, this is the touchy-feely stuff that we all enjoy when we walk into a store and are greeted by hearing our name or are offered a coffee while we browse, or even a VIP discount or a special gift as a reward for our return visit. It’s all about customer service and don’t underestimate the difference this makes to your customers – it can literally set you apart from your competitors. Many businesses offer a loyalty scheme – it doesn’t have to be complex – just a card that you can stamp when they visit, is often enough.  When they have purchased so many products, or collected a set number of points, they could be rewarded with a product or service that you offer at no cost.

Involve Your Customers in Your Business

Everyone likes to feel that their views and opinions are being heard, and in fact, customer feedback is one of the most valuable tools you can use to help develop your business into one that your customers really want to do business with. A simple online survey or in-store questionnaire can give them the option to tell you what they love (and what they don’t) about your business. Often, it’s the negative stuff that is the most important for business owners to fix and get right, and the actions that will have, ironically, the most positive impact for your customers and you.

You could set up a suggestion box at a prominent position in your store  – perhaps offering a small monthly gift for the best suggestion.

Consider setting up an online forum where your customers can “meet” and share thoughts on products and ideas. These work particularly well if your customers all share an interest say, woodworking, DIY, sport or a hobby. Showing that you’re doing all you can  to keep them happy can go a long way in building trust and, in turn, loyalty.

Customer Experience is key

It’s really important that every interaction a customer has with your business is a good one. Whether it be giving advice, having sufficient stock available in to fulfil the order, meeting deadlines or being consistent in delivering a top quality product or service –all these things are really critical when it comes to building customer loyalty. Knowing your product or service inside out will also help to set you up as an expert in your field. If you can show that you really understand the workings of the widget – that’s going to go a long way towards impressing the customer and sending them back to you when they want more. The way you deal with problems and complaints is also a real game-changer in building customer loyalty. If you can turn around a complaint customer with a positive experience and a great outcome for them, often that customer will become one of your greatest advocates and a life-long loyal customer.

 

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