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Developing Customer Loyalty

Developing Customer Loyalty

Developing and maintaining customer loyalty is the most important thing you will do in your company whether you are a start up or an already well established business. In today’s web based environment too many companies fall victim to the “fools gold” of only getting new customers. Because of the Internet, anyone can set up shop quickly and start driving customers their direction in relatively quick turn-around. Too often, businesses think that if they can drive enough new business their way, then all will be fine. Because it is so easy to set up a store front the ability to maintain and develop customer loyalty is more important than it ever has been. New business is great and can mean big money but new business is fickle. It tends to come and go in waves and you have little to no control over how big those waves are or the interval in between the waves. However, if your focus becomes maintaining a positive relationship with your clientele then your business will become steady and stable. The result will be steady waves that you can count on for size and interval.

There is much more to customer loyalty than simply treating your customers well. This is part of it of course, but you have to maintain a relationship with your client so that you can stay on top of their needs. Plus, when they need something they think of you first. Remember, the reason you have a new customer in the first place is because their needs were not met by someone else.

There are four factors essential to developing customer loyalty. First…you must understand what satisfies a customer and what their expectations of you are. Second…your customers need to trust you that you can fix problems when they come up. In business there are always problems so make sure your customers know you can make things right. Third…you need to understand loyalty behaviors. You need to know what to do and when to do it. Fourth…learn how to talk and interact effectively with your customers whether in person or on the phone.

Developing and maintaining customer loyalty must be at the forefront of your thought process in order to make it in today’s tough economy. It can’t simply be one or two people in your company or even one department. It needs to be a grass roots effort within your whole organization. It is important to develop a system so that regardless of who comes and goes within your company your customers are taken care of and feel like their needs are being met. It must become a foundational building block that is a focus at every level and with every person within your organization.

In the end, while fixing the problem a customer has is important, the first goal is to fix the customer, THEN fix their problem. Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship which improves client retention. Building a strong customer base can only be done by putting your clients’ needs first.

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