Customer Loyalty is necessity for business survival. Without repeat customers, an organization will forever be busy acquiring new customers and losing out on old ones.
It is a known fact that acquiring a new customer is far far more costlier than retaining old ones. Whether you are in grocery business with millions of customers or in a highly technical business with only one customer, Customer Loyalty will make sure that you have consistent revenues for your organization. Even in the times of recession.
Let me point out some positive, critical consequences due to a loyal customer
- Loyal customers are assured revenue sources
- Loyal customer help to bring in friends and family when they return to the store/shop/company and thus generate revenues for free
- Loyal customers spend even during recession
- Loyal customers would not walk away if you do make small mistakes sometime.
The above are only a few reasons , why customer loyalty should be on the mind of company’s bosses and entrepreneurs.
Unfortunately these days, there is more focus on getting customers rather than retaining the old ones. The old customers usually get a raw deal. As a consequence, they feel cheated and become disillusioned. They, then move to competitor who offers them much better services at may be same or lesser price. I am sure this has happened to all of us. Many time we felt wronged and our trust was broken by a company that we loved so much.
People like to be connected . They like to known, cajoled, appreciated , thanked etc. It is important that this connection be made much in advance rather than later. Many times, the loyalty programs are offered very late, only after the customer has spent a lot of money. At this time, organizations perform extensive analysis on customer spending and the then decides on the customer’s loyalty. Meanwhile, the customer finds more value in the similar program offered by a competitor and moves on.
With increasing competition, retention strategy has assumed prime importance. Customers armed with knowledge obtained from internet are a dangerous bunch. They can make or break a product’s reputation within days. A bad review online is sufficient to hurt the sales of a product.
Hence, it is amply clear that an organization needs a strong customer retention strategy to keep generating money.
As a next step, let us chalk out some Do’s and Dont’s guidelines when comes to retaining customers for long and keep them satisfied.
- Try to deliver on -time, every time
- Accept mistakes, apologize and compensate
- Take customer feedback seriously
- Take customer feedback early
- Observe buying habits and patterns
- Resolve complaint quickly
- Provide surprise gifts on some milestone completion
- Entice them with good deals on important days in their lives such as birthday or anniversary
- Put a customer loyalty program early
- Put a ‘refer a friend’ program
- Treat them equally whatever be the amount of purchase. You can always discreetly offer more service to repeat customer
- Be fair and honest in your dealings
- bore the customer with your internal processes
- make them stand in long lines
- keep them on hold for long
- make complicated service policies and guarantees
- provide poor service or support for your products
- treat them disdainfully
- throw the policy rule book at their face
- give smart-alecky answer when they are serious
At the conclusion let me make one thing clear. It is not possible to ignore customers of today and there are so many ways they can destroy credibility of your organization . I am not suggesting that you should bow to each and every unreasonable demand of customer but to treat them well and keep them informed.
An open and honest communication with your customer will go a long way in establishing your credibility.