Customer Experience News & Trends

Best ways to keep your customers loyal

Customers will dump you for a better deal – but only if you aren’t making an effort to keep them loyal. 

If you provide a consistently great customer experience and proactively do what’s best for customers, they’ll be far less likely to even consider your competitors.

Often, businesses focus on prospects. They give attention, nurturing, and lots of touches to bring prospects through the sales process. Sometimes, when they come to the end of the sales process and make the sale, business owners breathe a sigh of relief and then stop paying attention,” says Deb Brown, author of the book Lifelong Loyal Clients: How Smart Professionals Turn Relationships Into Revenues. “Knowing this, smart business owners focus on retaining customers.”

That makes retaining customers more than a one-department, one-point job. Customer service, sales, technicians, delivery people – anyone who has direct or remote contact with customers – can influence customer loyalty.

To improve experiences at every touch point and boost customer loyalty, Brown suggests these four strategies:

Onboard customers purposefully

When new customers come on board, they’re often a bit apprehensive about the decision they just made to do business with you. That’s the time to reinforce their decision and investment with constant communication and eagerness to help.

Create a plan to communicate with new customers daily (via email, phone, onsite help, etc.) for a time period that’s appropriate for your product, service and industry. Use calendars and alerts to make sure the communication that’s supposed to reach customers does.

Nurture the relationship

It’s often easier and more natural to stay in touch with customers early in the relationship. Then as new customers come on board, the other relationship starts to go stale. Customers who still need your product or service, but don’t get the same level of attention as when they signed on, will feel taken for granted.

Prevent that by making it someone’s job to continue to nurture relationships (some organizations have created Customer Success roles for this). This person or people creates a timeline, plus the exact method and messages for staying in touch with customers, ahead of their needs and on top of appropriate information and products.

“Initially, most businesses focus on what they do and how they do it,” says Brown. “It is easy to become wrapped up in internal processes and the way things have always been done. If you want to know how to retain customers, you need to step outside your own processes and consider what it is like from the customer’s perspective.”

Identify the next step

Even satisfied, loyal customers’ needs change. To retain loyalty, you want to stay ahead of their changing needs – possibly help them recognize needs and a solution before they even recognize they have a new or evolving issue.

Monitor accounts to recognize when buying frequency or amount changes. Dips and delays in orders suggest they’re getting help from someone else. Increases or erratic orders might mean there’s a changing need you can do a better job at fulfilling.

Tout what you do

Sometimes customers don’t even realize that you do more for them than the average. It doesn’t hurt to itemize your value-added benefits from time to time (at renewal points, when projects or contracts are about to close, etc.) Include extra services, longer hours and anything that’s bundled – but not so obvious – in their investment.

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