No matter how successful your ad campaign, Groupon deal, or special event was in driving new clients to your company, it doesn’t translate into real growth or profits without loyal clients. As much as we’d like to believe that our company is the best out there – and therefore, no one would think to check out the competition – the truth is that most of the time, clients are spoiled with endless choices. This means that attracting them is only the first step and you must be ready and willing to convince them to stay for the long haul.
When it comes to client loyalty, you must be willing to consider your performance in the following areas (and implement changes accordingly!):
Resolving problems quickly and painlessly. Nothing is perfect – any product or service is bound to have a flaw or hiccup that will need addressing. Clients are surprisingly forgiving when it comes to imperfection IF an issue is attended to and fixed quickly. According to a study by the Customer Contact Council, 94% of customers who had a problem fixed will purchase again from the company. This means that the client service representatives have to be on board with friendly, helpful messaging and attitudes.
Make sure you know what is going on! Sit down with clients and ask them their thoughts on products, services, and how they feel they are treated by the company. See how you stack up against the competition and how much value they place on your product or service rather than making assumptions based on your valuation. Form a client advisory panel to test how good your product and client service really is. Knowing your customer and your content is absolutely essential in keeping loyal clients around.
Be honest, reliable, and approachable. One of the most frustrating parts of seeking clarification from a representative is when you come out of it even more confused. Don’t ever use insider jargon. Instead, make it as easy as possible for clients to do business with you and understand what they are signing up for. And always, always follow through on your commitments to them.
Reward your clients. The Internet has made it very easy for people to find alternatives to your company. Of course, you should never give them a reason to stray – but loyal clients love being given extra incentive to stay.
Keep in touch. Phone calls and thank you notes are great, but one of the best (and easiest!) ways to stay top-of-mind is by sending loyal clients a monthly newsletter. Your customized articles and interesting, helpful information will stay on their coffee tables for reference and sharing with others, and they will appreciate the attention and effort.
Last but not least – never, ever take their loyalty for granted!