Look, getting people to buy your product the first time, that’s easy. Well maybe not easy, but relatively, it’s a walk in the park compared to retaining a customer over a sustained period. Getting a customer for life though, that one is a right pain in the…you-know-where. It is worth it though, because that’s the key isn’t it? Customer loyalty. If you build a base of people that will buy from you, and you alone for the rest of their life, there’s a very good chance they’ll say good things about you to friends and family too, expanding your customer base and giving you consistent business. It’s the holy grail of the intensely competitive world of business today, and everybody wants to be there. How do you do it though? You’re about to find out.
Making your customers‘a customer for life’
- Good product. Whatever you’re selling has got to be great. Product, service, whatever. You need to get that right, because that’s why they’re coming to you in the first place right? Without a solid product on offer, you can never win customer loyalty.
- Big picture approach. Your duty to the customer doesn’t end once the transaction is complete, it’s a lifelong commitment. If you want them to be there for the rest of their lives, you have to believe that they will be. Which means, whenever they have a problem with your product, and they come to you, you have to help them to the best of your ability, and at the least inconvenience to them, cost wise and otherwise.
- The personal connect. A customer, every customer, needs to feel like they’re special, and not just a statistic in your sales ledger. This means communication, and a personal touch to go with it. If they’ve filled out an online form for you, you have their e-mail id and their birth date. A simple gesture like a handwritten happy birthday with a 10% discount coupon, while not much from your end, can make a whole world of difference to the customer. It isn’t the monetary value that’s important here, it’s the message – you care.
- Consistency. You can’t just do it the one time though. You need to take care of your customer throughout their lives. Only when you prove to them that you can do all of the above on a regular basis will they trust you enough to give you their business from here to eternity. It’s a big step right, swearing off all others and deciding to take your product for the rest of their life. It’s almost like marriage, and marriage requires a sustained commitment.
- Reward. If a customer proves his loyalty to you, you have to recognize it, and reward him for it. If I’m buying the same thing from the same seller every time, I want to be a given a little pat on the back. Again it doesn’t mean you give them your product for free whenever they come along, it’s not the magnitude of the gesture, but the gesture itself that counts.