How to keep clients loyal and happy
Once you have successfully acquired great clients, it’s essential to put in further work to keep them happy and loyal to your brand. In today’s challenging business environment, it’s harder than ever to secure client loyalty. There are plenty of competitor brands actively pitching for customers, so it’s important to get creative with your client entertainment ideas.
We’ve brought together the following 15 suggestions to help your business succeed in keeping customers on-board and engaged.
1. Deliver your customer service in-house
Customer service is a strategic function in today’s consumer-focused businesses, so don’t underestimate its importance. Train and reward your customer service employees well, and invest in the systems, processes and infrastructure that will continue to push this vital business function forward.
2. Keep learning about your clients
As a business owner, you know that big data” is a popular way to extract and analyse customer information. However, it’s crucial to understand the benefits of one on one conversations with clients. Conversations with loyal customers can help you gain vital insights. Every client you take the time to meet is also an investment in their relationship and view of your brand.
3. Under-promise, over-deliver
Always strive to go above and beyond when it comes to delighting your customers. Don’t promise the world, but seek to offer so much more and your reputation will improve significantly.
4. Give to charity
Customers are increasingly focused upon corporate social responsibility and may value a program wherein you donate to their chosen charities on their behalf. Rather than spending money on corporate entertaining or promotions, consider whether or not these offer value to your customers and your brand.
5. Launch a loyalty programme
Investing in loyalty programmes are tried, tested and successful for a reason; they work. Whether it’s the tenth coffee free, or points to redeem products, these schemes encourage customers to remain loyal to your brand.
6. Remember key dates
Mine your data to send your customers a birthday greeting or an ‘anniversary’ thank you for your business relationship. Little touches such as this can result in great loyalty and satisfaction.
7. Patronise your clients’ businesses
Buy from your clients if they have their own businesses. This type of mutual support is powerful and shows your commitment to supporting other companies. Help them to be successful, and they will return the favour.
8. Send a thank-you note
Peter Drucker, the management guru, famously sent 12 handwritten thank you cards daily. Do the same and make them handwritten too. This thoughtful gesture is sure to stick in the mind of the recipient.
9. Return calls
Too many people never return calls. Make sure that you do, and you will suddenly put yourself and your brand in that favourable top 5%.
10. Pay attention to appearances
Appearances and presentation matter in business, from your email templates through to the type of clothing that your associates wear when visiting a client or hosting an event. Show respect for your customers by presenting yourself to the highest standards.
11. Consider establishing a customer panel
Many brands now have advisory or brand panels where customers can provide feedback on products, services and experiences, and share ideas for improvements. Customer panels help to engage customers and to make them feel valued and involved in your brand.
12. Reward existing customers
Don’t reserve your best offers for new customers. Offer them to existing customers as well. This displays genuine customer value and appreciation.
13. Treat your employees well
Your employees are your key asset when it comes to offering exceptional service and experience. Treat them well and reward them well. Train them, listen to them and give them a reason to love your employer brand.
14. Have the right attitude
Great brands are positive, upbeat, do what they say and invest in a clear set of values. When you know what you stand for, it is far easier to focus on delivering those attributes and goals to customers.
15. Have an ‘apology kit’ in place
Sometimes things go wrong, and perhaps a passing apology simply won’t cut it. Have a kit in place for your staff to roll out appropriate measures to please a customer after an error. This could be a gift, a handwritten note, flowers or a visit. Be creative and thoughtful and put yourself in your customers’ shoes to understand what is most likely to resonate with them.
Remember always to be creative and innovative, and try looking at what your competitors are doing for inspiration and fresh ideas. Get regular feedback on the activities you choose to roll out to see what is working and what is falling short. Continue to set yourself challenging targets for customer engagement and experience, so that you continuously push yourself and your brand further.