Being a successful entrepreneur means having successful relationships with clients. The secret is building up your rapport, being viewed as knowledgeable, capable, responsible and credible. Therefore, building customer loyalty is important to keep and improve on those relationships, especially when customers are the ones who drive your business. You want them to put their trust in you and you should want to give them a reason to trust you.
There are several ways to work on customer loyalty that should be considered as an entrepreneur.
Something useful to understand is top-of-mind awareness. When you run a business, you make a promise to your brand - to work the best that you can to represent your work to others. Top-of-mind awareness is how often a person thinks of your business. If you hold a relationship with your customers, your brand is more likely to be at the top of their mind.
In order for your customers to reach top-of-mind awareness for you and your work, it’s important to have frequent contact with them. They have to be exposed to your brand to know what it is and become familiar with it. Customers will begin to trust you more as you interact more and you will become the first one they think of when they are in need of a service. There are marketing tactics you can follow in order to be established more frequently - take to social media, offer feedback, create events for the public to get involved in, etc.
You will build up on customer loyalty by establishing yourself frequently and well. Interact with your customers via email, phone calls, in-person meetings, birthday or holiday cards, etc. That will give them a feeling of importance for the work that you are doing, and show that you care about what the customers have to say about your work. Even after you have finished working with them, reach out just to see how they are doing. You’re not just building professional relationships, you’re building personal ones as well. If you keep in contact, it shows that you are paying attention to their lives and care about what is happening to them. That gives you more credibility as a decent human being, and one who cares.
Follow through with your promises to customers. Show that you say what you mean and you will get it done. You are reliable and customers can trust you. Doing even simple things like this will leave a large impact on your customers. They will understand that you are serious and mean business.
Showing an effort is also a great way to leave an impact with customers. Sometimes just meeting in person is enough to get a customer’s attention. In an age of digital content and digital work, it seems that in-person meetings are becoming less and less frequent. Make an effort to meet someone face to face and get a feel of who they are as a person. This kind of effort will stick with the customer.
Another way to build customer loyalty, according to Caryn Starr-Gates of Starr-Gates Business Communications is to give your customers more than they expect! Be willing to go above and beyond to impress your customers and show that you will go the extra mile to be sure they are satisfied.
Being honest with customers is also a great way to build loyalty. Be up front about the services you offer and whether or not you would be able to help them. It’s better to tell someone you can’t perform a service than to lie about it and underperform, leaving the customer disappointed. Find ways to collaborate with customers and work together to figure out how to do the best that you can for them.
So why are loyal customers so important? For a couple of reasons. As this blog on Etuma explains, loyal customers stay longer, buy more and more often, they cost less to serve, they insulate your company from price competition, act as brand managers and provide honest, high-quality feedback.
Loyal customers can improve your brand simply with word-of-mouth to friends and families. They can promote your business with others just because they have had a great experience with you, which is why your interaction matters. If you are good to your customer, they will be good to you in turn.
About Royce Gomez
Royce Gomez, founder of RoyceTalks, is recognized as a leading authority for coaching and training entrepreneurs and executives. She has been published in the HuffingtonPost, Unlimited Woman, Charity Magazine, and is co-author of The Stories and Daily Habits of Highly Successful Women and international best seller Discover Your Destiny, Live Your Dreams, Love Your Life. She has appeared on Front Porch Radio, Networking Diva Hour, Startup Grind, and has her own podcast, Thrive: A Woman's Journey to Victory. Royce has spoken to audiences ranging from 20-1000+. Her coaching has been a catalyst for companies to experience double digit growth in a short amount of time. She has effectively coached successful business owners who were in transition, both in business and their personal life. Royce effectively helps business owners develop strategies, their personal brand, and marketing initiatives to take their business to the next level of success.